Who says marketing giveaways don’t work? I’d managed to be completely oblivious of Gideon Defoe’s Pirates books until a few weeks ago when a copy of the first book in the series, “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists” was given away with the Guardian on Saturday. This was to mark the making of the book into a new Aardman animated film. OMB and I have been reading the book. It is, to say the least, a little beyond him, but there’s enough in it for even a 5 year old to enjoy. He thought I was making up a passage where the Pirates go on a trip to London Zoo and declare it to be not as good as Berlin Zoo. Obviously it is completely coincidental that a book written 8 years ago refers to something that we are planning on doing in our Easter trip to London and compares it to what we did in the Autumn half-term, but he had to read the passage for himself before he believed it.
OMB is enjoying the book enough to have been looking forward to seeing the film. Although he’d probably have been keen to see the film anyway as he enjoyed doing a project on pirates at school and loves the Wallace & Gromit films. He was excited enough to dress up to go, with the pirate bandana and cutlass he made at school in his first term. And that is something for a boy who is normally (like his parents) resistant to fancy dress. The plot of the film is rather different to that of the book. This is no bad thing as the book’s plot is rather convoluted. Being based on an adventure with Charles Darwin and revolving around his theory that if you dress up a monkey it’ll be like a man, leading to the Bishop of Oxford wanting to prevent the Manpanzee from damaging his investment in PT Barnum’s circus of freaks and kidnapping Erasmus Darwin to stop Charles, meant that the book’s plot kept on bringing out my inner Richard Dawkins. The pious atheist in my head was going “but why can’t you just tell the story of evolution rather than making stuff up that is less amazing?”. Anyway, how can you go wrong with a film that has Brian Blessed playing the Pirate King as a Vegas fat Elvis? OMB’s verdict was that it was brilliant and who am I to disagree?