That awesome 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits' trailer? It looks even better in 3D. Aardman's Peter Lord was at Comic-Con to introduce some new footage, including a peek on the Aardman stop-motion set where humans roam through like King Kong.
He even brought along two of the film's stars, although they didn't say much -- that's because they were stop-motion maquettes, like the Pirate Captain voiced by Hugh Grant. "If they weren't here today, they would be in the U.K. working. Bad puppets," Lord said. (I know they're working models, but there better be Pirate Captain toys come next Christmas!)

This is Grant's first animated film, by the way, and Lord (who co-directed the flick) boasts, "Hugh Grant was quite a catch." His "luxuriantly bearded" Captain is quite keen to win the Pirate of the Year award, even though his band is terrible at pirating. He would inevitably lose to Black Bellamy, who's voiced by Jeremy Piven. "Jeremy would come on and improv. Half of his part, he kind of made up on the spot," Lord said.

Also in the cast that boasts more Brit talent than a Harry Potter flick: Hobbit Martin Freeman, David Tennant as Charles Darwin and the "diabolical super villain, Queen Victoria" played by Imelda Staunton (aka Dolores Umbridge). "She's a force of nature. A very small woman, but so feisty," observed Lord. There's also Ashley Jensen ('Ugly Betty') as The Strangely Curvaceous pirate, who's clearly a woman under her big, bushy beard. Their parrot, Polly, happens to be a dodo, and no one seems to notice that, either.

After all the jolly laughs in the 'Pirates' footage, Aardman then previewed 'Arthur Christmas,' which has a similarly prestigious Brit cast but doesn't look anywhere near as fun.


Taking the premise that Santa Claus could never do what he does in just one night with the old sleigh and reindeer, Peter Baynham gives Father Christmas an army of elves, a high-tech command center and a state-of-the art spacecraft: "Imagine the alien ship from Independence Day but full of elves, with an invisibility shield and a Starbucks."

Santa also happens to be one in a long line of Santas: Santa the 18th is played by Jim Broadbent, and he's aided by his macho, military assistant, Steve (Hugh Laurie), who has a beard shaved into a Christmas tree shape. Rounding out the family: Curmudgeonly Grandsanta (Billy Nighy) and "Christmas nerd" Arthur Christmas, James McAvoy, who works in the letters department and probably ends up saving Christmas. (The film isn't called 'Grandsanta,' now is it?)

Unfortunately, the movie looks just like ABC's 2009 Christmas special 'Prep and Landing,' except this team of tactical Xmas elves are all voiced by Brits.

Are you guys excited for 'Arthur Christmas' and 'Pirates! Band of Misfits'?
CATEGORIES Movies, Comic-Con