I saw this tonight at a preview screening at the Empire Leicester Square tonight. The director came on stage first to introduce the film, and rambled on about not wanting to sound like he is making some kind of Oscar speech, thanking Sony for the finance, and he has an almost tearful pride at the astonishing animation they have achieved and so on. Only one star of the film (actually it was just a lengthy cameo) came on next who completely energised the audience to no end...Brian Blessed. First time I have seen him live and boy is he an abundance of energy just as we know him to be on tv. But what really had me cheering is his references to Flash Gordon, as if acknowledging his iconic status of the film with much pride and so he should be. Finally, in his incredible booming voice, he orders for film to begin as if it was the opening of the 2012 Olympics. Unfortunately, I dont think will be a film he'll be equally proud of as he is of Flash Gordon. It is funny in parts but there is a relentless pace close to that you see in the trailer that doesn't give you much time to breathe and relax with the characters. Also, I may be in a minority here but I find the constant bombardment of modern reference jokes, very tiresome. I used to enjoy that in older films and I might still do if it wasn't cranked to overload here. So I just feel numbed by it. I think much of the audience i was with were enthusiastic and laughing all the way (might be because of the remnant energy levels of Brian Blessed's introduction) so I actually feel quite jealous of them because I really do want to share that fun they are getting out of it. The voice casting is excellent though, Hugh Grant plays the vastly under achieving Pirate Captain out to prove how great a pirate he is with abysmal results. Martin Freeman lends his signature observational acting talents (yes he can even do that through voice acting, surprisingly) as Grant's number two. But the best character by far was Imelda Staunton's Queen Victoria who gets to do more wild hilarious stuff than I have ever seen a Queen do in any movie. What is a standout, is the claymation. The sea is obviously CGI'd but almost everything else I believe is the traditional Aardman clay animation and it is impressive. However, it would be more impressive without the 3D glasses because I actually took them off for a little while and was enjoying the sudden sweep of vibrant colours and brightness. If you enjoy 3D however, you will enjoy it as there is both depth and out of screen antics throughout but at the sacrifice of having a washed out colour pallete. I'm giving this 6.5/10 personally as I want more subtlety, finesse and a bit more soul in the characters. This is an Aardman film but its just no where near as charming, clever and funny as the great Wallace and Gromit shorts/movie and even Chicken Run. But if you like it fast paced, and love loads of modern reference jokes (as oppose to the sprinkling of it in the W&G films) then I think you will enjoy this much more than I did. Its definitely one to watch for despite my somewhat harsh rating but I can actually see why most of you will enjoy this a great deal more. I will even go watch it again having got an Cineworld unlimited pass and perhaps enjoy it more without the initial high expectations I had for it. This will be released on 28th March.