The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! ★★★★

Aardman seem to be genuinely terrible at creating franchisable intellectual property beyond “Wallace & Gromit” who, while beloved, are still a relatively modest success. This movie is a case in point: the main character is named just “The Pirate Captain” and the property is just “The Pirates.” I know there’s source material that dictates all of this, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this movie has basically already been forgotten, despite it being thoroughly excellent and continually hilarious. For Hugh Grant, this was clearly a warmup for “Paddington 2”; he’s less like his old self and more like his new self here than anyone would expect.