Co-directed by Chicken Run helmsman Peter Lord, Pirates! will follow Aardman's plasticine tradition - erm, hand-crafted stop-motion animation tradition. It is adapted from the best-selling series of children's book by Gideon Defoe, which takes a swashbuckling ride with a group of pirates who sail to London and meet with Charles Darwin and a talking chimp named Mister Bobo, and who must battle it out with a mysterious enemy looking to get rid of them. While it all sounds like immense fun, it will involve substantial amounts of every animator's nightmare: water.
Arthur Christmas, in contrast, will go down the same fully CGI route as Flushed Away. That's a brave move after poor returns on that (really rather good) rodent-related feature, which led to a break-up of Aardman with DreamWorks Animation in favour of a deal with Sony, and a two year hiatus from making features until now. Hopefully that will soon be a distant memory, as Arthur Christmas unravels the way in which Santa is able to get presents delivered all round the world in one single night. That film will be co-directed by Sarah Smith and Barry Cook from a script scribbled by Borat's Peter Baynham.