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Toonhound presents...




 Toonhound & Cookie Law


  Short British Films &  TV Specials
    "The Pirates! So You Want to be a Pirate!" (Sony Pictures Animation Inc.)

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The Pirates!
  So You Want
to be a Pirate!

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producers: Aardman Animations for
                    Sony Pictures Animation Inc.

  animation: stop-motion animation
     run time: 18mins

   "Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands
    together... for the Pirate Captain!"


    The Pirate Captain and his mottled, makeshift crew of would-be plunderers from
    "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!" return in their very own chat show!

    In the course of this scabrous production, the Pirate Captain answers some of
    our more pressing piratical questions, the Pirate With a Scarf goes treasure-hunting,
    Charles Darwin feels a bit windy, the Pirate With Gout cooks up a squidilicious
    meal, and the Pirate King gets rather shouty...

    "So You Want to be a Pirate!" is presented within a fab televised environment
    that's a crafty blend of ship's deck, theatre and studio. It's all filmed "live", and it's
    great barnacled fun. The tone, the inanity of the interviews, the Pirate Captain's
    asides and the VTs ape the chat show format perfectly, there's an in-house band
    segueing everything together, and we even get one of those "earnest" segments,
    in which we're shown the debilitating effects of lubbermatosis. Aardman stage
    everything superbly, and Gideon Defoe, who wrote the original Pirates! books
    and the screenplay for the Aardman feature, gives his lovable characters a
    barrel-load of absurdity to contend with, so this silly show continues where
    "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!" left off. There's Monty Python
    in there, and plenty of Pratchett, blended with Gideon's own hysterical historical
    eccentricity. Frankly, if you like the Pirates! movie, and you get what they're
    about, then you'll love this spoof.

    That said, those coming cold to the characters may find themselves just a
    little codswalloped and confused by it all. "So You Want to be a Pirate!"
    assumes you are already familiar with the crew and the general oddity of
    the whole Pirates! scenario and its mashing up of anachronistic history
    and nonsense. In the UK, that imbalance has been heightened by the
    fact that this short film has been released independently of the main feature,
    on DVD, where the rest of the world has received it as a DVD extra. But then,
    we're in Aardman land, and "The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists!"
    had a pretty good theatrical run over here.

    "Is this you? - My Mum had a beard like yours!"

    The Pirates! are animated Marmite, aren't they? - Or indeed, they're rather like
    Danny Boyle's Olympics ceremony in that they either click with you, or they don't.
    This viewer loved them 'lympics and he loves these limpet-encrusted loons.

    There's something spectacularly daft and self-deprecating British about the
    Pirate Captain and company, and they've slotted in ber-rilliantly alongside
    Wallace and Gromit and the gang, down in Bristol...     


    "Hello to Jason Isaacs"

Pause the film at around the 14.46 mark, and you'll spy some rather jolly
    hidden detail. There upon a crate, on a shelf, in the background of the galley
    set, just as the colossal squid breaks free, someone's stamped the phrase
    "Hello to Jason Isaacs". And that's a line with a little history behind it.

    Jason Isaacs is a stage and screen actor, perhaps best known for his role as
    Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. He also happens to have gone to the
    same school as the well-known British film critic Mark Kermode. And for a joke,
    a few years back, Mark and his radio presenter pal Simon Mayo decided to
    say "hello" to Jason, whilst on air together. The whole thing snowballed, and
    since then a raft of famous film stars, film makers, musicians, commentators
    and presenters have shoehorned greetings of their own into various interviews,
    live reports and broadcasts, including a giant of the American chat show scene,
    in the form of Jay Leno.

    Now, on top of this, we must also add the fact that Mark Kermode features in
    an annual segment on the BBC's "Culture Show" in which he hands out his own
    alternative film awards in the shape of the Kermode Awards. And Aardman have
    triumphed here, with Mark previously heaping praise upon "Curse of the
    Were-Rabbit". He is a notable fan. Thus we get a teeny-tiny bit of hidden
    detail here, with a whole lot of history behind it!

   More detail to shout about...

    Aardman love to shoehorn lots of hidden detail into their films, and Toonhound
    likes nothing more than to track it all down (see here, and here). So now we've
    started, we'd better continue and list some more of the sly stuff you can find in
    this mad mini movie. Get your pause button ready...

    02.10 - Let's take a closer look at the maps on the wall. That one, bottom
                 right, is a piratical version of the London Underground tube map.
                 "Blood Island Punderground" features a galleon sailing along the
                 Thames. "Blood Island" is a key location in the Pirates! movie,
                 so-called because it looks like.. some blood!

                 You should also check out the map directly behind our beloved
                  Pirate Captain. "Putter Island " is apparently an island containing
                  a nine-hole golf course. It is, of course, a pun on "Shutter island"
                  Dennis Lehane's period thriller that was adapted into a film by
                  Martin Scorsese in 2010...

    04.58 - Charles Darwin has detailed the three stages of the Beaufort Scale
                 on that chalkboard for us:

              I - Light breeze - Blows the froth from a toasty cappuccino

              II - Strong wind - Ruffles a mermaid's lovely hair

              III - Gale force - Blow's the shell off a turtle's back

   06.37 - Yes, that's Frankenstein's monster - or something close to it - toppling
                 onto his creator. But think back and you may recall, that same monster
                 and scientist could both be seen queuing on the steps of the Royal
                 Society in "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!"

    09.08 - The Pirates! are quintessentially British. And so is James Bond.
                  So it's no surprise to spy a subtle Bond reference here. Lodged in
                  that great teetering pile of incendiaries are a couple of crates identified
                  as FELIX LIGHTERS. Felix Leiter is a fictional CIA operative in
                  Ian Fleming's spy world. He appears in a number of Bond's
                  film adventures. More importantly, he loses an arm and a leg
                  in the original novel of "Live And Let Die". How very piratical, eh?!

   11.20 - The Barnacle's Face is the pirates favourite tavern, and it hasn't
                 changed since the end of the original film, but the detail's good enough
                 to point out again, so you'll note The Salty Salad Bar offers "All you
                 can eat for a doubloon - except Big Eric, he's barred!" And the barrels
                 on offer behind said bar include one labelled as "Pop", and another
                 labelled "Skull". Skull = Skol = a renowned brand of beer...

   11.50 - Whilst he's being interviewed by the Pirate Captain, the Pirate King
                announces that, really, he just enjoys shouting. And the Pirate
                King is a very shouty person indeed. But then, so is the actor
                who voices the character. Brian Blessed is a legendary chap, here in
                the UK, overflowing with vigour and good humour, and famous for
                his big booming voice. You may recall him turning the ham up to
                ten rather memorably when he played Prince Vultan in Mike Hodge's
                "Flash Gordon" (1980)...

   15.01 - What's that bubbling up in the soup? - Oh, pew! - The Albino Pirate's
let the side down again!...


    Premiere info

    This short film premiered on a UK DVD, exclusive to Tesco stores,
    on 13th August 2012...



     So You Want to be a Pirate! on blu-ray/DVD

     Alas, this scurvy short is only available at Tesco stores. But the full-length
     film is available now, in three different formats:

     3D blu-ray -
 The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
Region B / Sony / September 2012

          blu-ray -
 The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
Region B / Sony / September 2012

                DVD -
 The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
Region 2 / Sony / September 2012


      Sony Pictures Digital Productions
      and Sony Pictures Animation present

      an Aardman production


executive producers:
line producer:
art director:
fx supervisor:
director of photography:

additional story material:
associate producer:
storyboard artists:

production assistant:
assistant animator:
lip sync animator:
head of modelmaking:
puppet design:

production manager:
armature supervisor:
production assistant:
foam supervisor:
senior modelmaker:
paint supervisor:
animation riggers:

head of art department:
set dressers:

& workshop manager:
senior prop maker:
graphic design supervisor:
lighting camera:
motion control operators:
camera assistants:

floor manager:
production co-ordinator:
digital compositors:

senior systems support:
VFX production
systems support
post production
rerecording mixer:
supervising sound editor:
aound effects editors:
assistant editors:

digital intermediate
digital intermediate
digital recordist:
rerecording studio:
digital intermediate by:
music recorded at:
orchestra contracted by:
production accountant:
production accountants:

for aardman animations:

for sony pictures

special thanks to:


Jay Grace
Gideon Defoe

based upon the book
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
by Gideon Defoe

Peter Lord, David Sproxton
Steve Pegram
Jacky Priddle
Matt Perry
Howard Jones
Dave Alex Riddett
Nikk Fielden
Mark Thomas
Will Becher, Jason Comley,
Richard Haynes, Todor Iliev,
Gareth Love, Christophe Peladan,
Pascual Perez, Loyd Price,
Suzy Parr, Claire Rolls,
Laurie Sitzia-Hammond, Andy Symanowski,
Darren Thomson, Dean Watson
Mark Burton
Richard Beek
Rob Richards, Jess Jackson,
Adam Cootes
Victoria Evans
Rita Crespo Sampaio
Chris Stock
Lizzie Spivey
Kate Anderson, Andrew Bloxham,
Anne King
Hilary Thorn
John Frier
Kelly Barker
Andrew Spradbery
James Young
Ruth Mitchell
Alan Barrett, Chris Gough,
Simon Peeke
Zoe Starzak
Andy Brown, Kitty Clay,
Richard Edmunds, Rosa Dodd

Cathryn Webber
Jane Kite
Gavin Lines
Richard Hosken
Laura Howie
Linda Hamblyn, Willy Marshall
Ellie Brown, James Fisher,
Churton Season
Richard Bowen
Stef Ingram
Robin Crowther-Smith, Heather Moore
Rod McFall
Grant Hewlett, Timur Khodzhaev,
John McLaren, Mike Shirra
Shane McEwan

Scott Metcalfe

Toby Chilcott

Tom Barnes
Adrian Rhodes
Will Norie
Kevin Penney, Gary McIntyre
Eiko Emersleben, Gemma Lewis
Riverside Studio
Paul Ackerman, Marcus Burnett

Max Horton

Begona Lopez
Paul Golding
Goldcrest Post-Production Ltd (London)
Technicolor Creative Services
Abbey Road Studios
Cool Music Ltd
Karen Walter

Yvonne Pfister, Matt Willis

Howard Arnault-Ham, Stuart Briggs, Sian Campbell,
Natalie Collier, Sean Clarke, Glenn Collins,
Colin Coulter, Richard Crocombe, Jeremy Donovan,
James Filbin, Pete Forde, Alistair Gue,
Mark Keightley, Adrienn Kun, Kerry Lock,
Paula Newport, Ibrahima Ndiaye,
Gareth Overton-Edwards, Luke Padfield,
Tony Prescott, Bob Shortman, David Waters,
Anne Webb

Ronni G Coulter, Matt Davis, Peter Jensen,
Rebecca Kuska, Tammy Lee, Don Levy,
Duke Logan, Pam Marsden, Olivier Mouroux,
Dorothy C Rayburn, Jessica E Smialek,
Melissa Sturm, Charmaine Thomas,
Jeff Varanini

Dani Abram, Ben Barrowman, Colin Bassett,
Joe Bourbon, Robin Brown, Mike Cooper,
Jordan Davies, Simon Farrell, Michael Green,
Caroline Hamann, Ben Hooper, Tara Knowles,
Julie Lockhart, Bob Oskar, Michael Salter,
Jemma Stidston, Jean-Philippe Vine

Hugh Grant (The Pirate Captain)
Martin Freeman (The Pirate with a Scarf)
David Tennant (Charles Darwin)
Brian Blessed (The Pirate King)
Russell Tovey (The Albino Pirate)
Brandan Gleeson (The Pirate with Gout)
Sophie Laughton (Matilda / Narrator)
Ben Whitehead (Announcer)
Randolph Matthews (The Pirate Who Likes
Sunsets & Kitttens)


     On the web

     The Pirates!
     Sony's theatrical site...

     The studio's web site...

     Gideon Defoe
     The author's home...

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© Sony Pictures Animation Inc / F2012