Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists

We Brits never really got surrealism- never quite understood why the continentals were getting so worked up about it and taking it so seriously- because we already had nonsense- which is much the same thing but less self-consciously transgressive. Yes, Dali and Bunuel are obviously jolly good at what they do but if you're talking about originality what about Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, W.S. Gilbert, J.M. Barrie? Our lot had been working the seam of dream and nightmare for a good half century before Breton and co came along and claimed to have opened it up.

Ardman is in the great tradition of British nonsense- and it was surely only a matter of time before pirates- one of the staples of British fantasy- turned up in the oeuvre. Pirates with their parrots and hooks and their habit of sailing out of nowhere to overturn the decencies were the original nonsenseers and surrealists. Blackbeard for instance with the lit fusees in his beard to make him sizzle- well, I ask you?

Nonsense isn't just nonsense. It's fusees in the beard. It's profound disrespect disguised as play. What is the religion of the 21st century? Science. And who is its prophet? Charles Darwin.  Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists wades into the holy of holies and kicks the godlings and their paraphenalia all over the shop. Jokes come thick and fast- at the rate of about one a frame- and plasticene has never looked so gorgeous. You're smiling so much you maybe don't notice how concensus-rattling it all is.

Am I taking this film too seriously? Of course I am. It's just a laugh, isn't it? Well of course it is. And that's how nonsense works. Nothing to see here, nothing to get irate about. Just a bunch of merry pranksters having fun.

But at the expense of reality itself. Just suppose the sea monsters they used to draw on antique maps weren't only for decoration...

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