CGI-heavy animated films may be more familiar to today's audiences but stop-motion is very much alive and kicking, according to Aardman Animation’s Daz Burgess – one of the animators on up-coming feature The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
“As long as there are companies like Aardman, there will still be stop-motion films,” Burgess said, adding that respected directors such as Tim Burton (The Corpse Bride) and Henry Sellick (Coraline) continue to favour the medium.
Based on a series of novels by Gideon Defoe, The Pirates! Band of Misfits tells the story of the Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) and his attempts to win the Pirate of the Year Award as he deals with a maniacal Queen (Imelda Staunton) and a love-struck Charles Darwin (David Tennant).
It’s been seven years since Aardman Animation’s last stop-motion feature – Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, on which Burgess also worked – and much has changed.
Instead of the traditional plasticine figures, The Pirates! Band of Misfits relied on rubber puppets, a decision which Burgess claims not only enabled the animators to have more freedom on what was an action-heavy film but also minimised the clean up time required.
“It was almost like Aardman had leapt forward again with their standard of animation. There was a lot more weight and a lot more energy in the puppets that we weren’t able to produce with characters like Wallace and Gromit.”
Having worked with Aardman previously on the second Wallace and Gromit film and the first series of Creature Comforts, Burgess jumped at the opportunity to return to Bristol and work on the feature.
“For me, as an animator, it’s my Hollywood. It’s the equivalent of going to LA and working on a big budget feature film with amazing stars. They’re just such a great company and I feel spoilt every time I’m there.”
The Pirates! Band of Misfits will be released in 3D on April 5.