Now that sure looks like a fun movie, doesn't it? Pirates! Aardman's brilliant digital claymation wackiness! and Pirates! What's not to like?
Well, a rather big chunk of the premise of the story, apparently - if you're American. For the film is based on a novel titled "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists". Not just any old scientists either - but the story actually revolves around Charles Darwin, whose Beagle is sunk by the titular pirates who then actually team up with him for some scientific mayhem. Sounds like fun, right? But you wouldn't know any of that from the above trailer for the film intended for the American market. Not only is there no mention of Darwin (although some of us may recognize him from one tiny glimpse in the above trailer; hint: he didn't have that famous beard while on that voyage of his youth), the trailer makes it sound like some comic knock-off of that awful Disney Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. With a Band of Misfits!
Why, Sony, why? Is this what your marketing department and its focus groups told you? That mentioning scientists or Darwin would be the marketing death knell for this movie in America? That no one would go to see a movie with scientists in the title? Is this what we have come to in this nation that was once the proud global leader of science? That one must remove not only any mention ofphilosophers, but even scientists from children's literature and cinema? I guess the marketers know something we don't quite appreciate fully - just how low science has sunk in the estimation of the American public! And that is rather sad and quite alarming...
At least the British aren't as squeamish about science or Darwin, going by this, rather more fun, musical trailer being shown in the UK - although this trailer too doesn't exactly play up the science bits:
Let's hope the actual movie itself hasn't been purged of references to science or Darwin when it hits the screens here in the US. Or I will have to look for ways to pirate that original UK edition myself!
Bonus: David Tennant, who voices Darwin in the film, was on BBC's Five Live with Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode this week to talk about the film. He said something about having to fight to keep the original title at least in the UK. You can listen to the interview online for the next few days, or download the podast.