This very funny film is well worth your money.

Pirates are so hot right now, courtesy of Johnny Depp swashbuckling his way across our screens as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean I, II, III... oh wait, I've lost count.

But this piratical tale, based on Gideon Defoe's Pirates! series of books, is a great new addition to a genre epitomised by eye patches and parrots.

The tale told is that of The Pirate Captain (Grant). We join the imaginatively titled anti-hero as he sets out in an attempt to claim the Pirate of the Year Award. However, in his way are his rivals, Cutlass Liz (Hayek) and Black Bellamy (Piven) - both of whom are fearsome, treacherous and villainous.

The Pirate Captain is none of the above and instead is relying mostly on his luxuriant beard as his unique selling point. In fact, The Pirate Captain lacks a collection of gold, an evil nature, or even a decent-sized reward on offer for his capture. Instead, he is a vain, but genuinely likeable, seafarer.

He is assisted in his not-so-successful attempts to be a dastardly pirate by a rag-tag crew consisting of his trusty number two, The Pirate with a Scarf (Freeman), The Pirate with Gout (Gleeson), The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (Jenson) and The Albino Pirate (Tovey).

The Pirate Captain's chance to out-pirate his rivals for the crown comes after a chance meeting with English naturalist Charles Darwin (Tennant), who is sailing near Blood Island searching for rare species – as only Darwin could.

The eminent scientist discovers that The Pirate Captain's heavy-boned parrot is in fact a dodo, a species believed to be long since extinct.

Darwin then convinces The Pirate Captain to travel to Victorian London to present the dodo at the London Science Fair. The reward, according to Darwin, will be untold treasures, which will propel The Pirate Captain to the very top of the pirate food chain.

The catch is that London is a no-man's land for pirates – where they will be arrested, and possibly beheaded, upon discovery. When Queen Victoria (Staunton) attends the London Science Fair, things go from bad to worse for the pirate crew.

This film really is a joy right from the off. The 3D stop-motion animation is beautifully crafted, and that comes as no surprise considering Aardman Studios – of Wallace & Gromit fame – are those responsible.

The soundtrack is also excellent, with a rousing rock-influenced score providing the perfect - and very British feeling - accompaniment.

The appearance of historical figures such as Darwin, Queen Victoria and The Elephant Man, John Merrick, add to the film no end. These little historical reference points are subtle and provide a delicate adult humour - highlighted when the Pirate of the Year Awards becomes a parody of the Oscars.

Throughout, the film has funny and quirky moments and the plot is refreshingly honest, concise and original.

A film for kids and adults alike to simply sit back and enjoy.

Tadhg Peavoy