Good news, Aardman fans: the British animators have set up two pictures with Sony, neither of which look to be Wallace and Gromit features, but both of which sound kind of delightful. The first is called Pirates!, and it has nothing to do with Sid Meier. Rather, it’s an adaptation of The Pirates! (In An Adventure With Scientists), a novel by Gideon Defoe. Looking up the book on Amazon (where you can buy it, via CHUD), it sounds like this isn’t a kiddie book but some nice, wacky British comedy, in the vein of Monty Python and Douglas Adams. In Pirates! a group of pirates meet up with Charles Darwin and the chimp he’s trained to behave like a perfect British gentlemen and have some adventures.

The second film is called Arthur Christmas, and all we know comes from The Hollywood Reporter’s description that the movie will tackle the question of how Santa delivers all his presents in one night. Arthur Christmas is going to be computer animation, while Pirates! will be traditional hand-done Aardman stop motion animation.

I’m not a huge animation guy, but Aardman creates worlds that are just fun to visit and that don’t operate on a lowest common denominator kiddie film level. That’s why I’m excited to see that Pirates! is based on just a plain old book, not one aimed at a specific grade level. There’s no reason that family friendly movies have to be completely juvenile.