Ahoy to the Really Cool Space Pirates Poster

Courtesy of Quincy Ponvert

Avast ye who have not watched this epic, space-faring tale yet, this section is for ye landlubbers, I mean, hearties! 

Hardy-har-har to all eyes who cast their gaze upon this article! Fresh out of pirate puns after that last sentence, I’d like to give you all an inside scoop of “Space Pirates” with one of the creators, Quincy Ponvert ’23. As for how I know all this, the short story is that I couldn’t keep my eagerness for this movie contained for long, leading to a multitude of emails and a short fireside chat. Quincy was responsible for composing the all-original musical score and writing the lyrics for the musical numbers. Hand-written lyrics from an incredible mind + pirates kicking booty in space = I was sure to get a front row seat on the night of the premiere last week.

Photograph by Isabelle Titcomb

Allow me to hook (see what I did here?) you all in by starting with how this project got ready to blast off into space. The best word that sums it all up is COVID. Ironically, society shutting down gave Ponvert and the team behind “Space Pirates” heaps of time to bring a string of comical conversations into the world. Near the start of my interview with Ponvert, I inquired about the impact of COVID on this production since bad memories of Zoom haunt me to this day. They initially acknowledged the problems associated with the logistics of working together virtually after all students were sent home in the spring of 2020: recording remotely over Zoom, getting used to virtual meetings, and the difficulty of getting people together in-person. Ponvert’s situation, however, made it less of an obstacle during the production process. They took a gap year after students were sent home and stayed on campus in the summer of 2021; fortunately, many of the actors were Swarthmore alumni living in the Philadelphia area. Ponvert invited them to campus to record their lines in the echoing chamber that is the Lang Concert Hall. The student actors and other contributors did the same from wherever they were in the world, and work outside of voice acting was still able to be done virtually. For instance, screenwriter Caden Rodems-Boyd, Ponvert’s childhood best friend, wrote many drafts of the script to be sent to the crew in addition to drawing many of the characters and backgrounds you’ll get attached to during the movie. 

In Ponvert’s direct words as to why you should watch this movie, “I just think it’s really funny. I think it’s the product of me joking around with my best friends; that was how the movie started. You know, I hope people enjoy it and find that they can relate to the movie at some point.”

Past the hook, I’d like to share some insights about the movie from Quincy themself during our chat. In my words paraphrased from Quincy’s words, two major themes of Space Pirates are parenthood and what it means to construct a family. The twins have a complicated relationship with their mom; they explore what it means to construct and appreciate family, not only by blood, but also by perhaps a group of people with whom you feel you are safe and are valued for you as you are. 

Here’s a big part of the reason why I think Ponvert is such a great soul. I had asked them about some of their favorite experiences or memories from working on “Space Pirates.” Although they had trouble picking out a clear showstopper moment (understandable dilemma by a humble visionary), Ponvert eventually concluded on one vital part of the process that made it most enjoyable for themself. 

“My favorite part of the process was generally just working with the actors. You know, composing the score and doing the sound design was fun, but the most fun part was definitely working with other people: teaching them the music and hearing them bring it to life through song.” What seemed to be most important to Quincy, from what I gather, was that every contributor to the movie had fun and bonded as both individuals and a close-knit family as everyone progressed together to slowly turn a series of Calypso visions into a YARRReality.

Ahoy maties! To make it this far is quite an accomplishment; if you dare, shake a leg to below the deck where the booty lies ripe for ye eyes to enjoy in all its beauty. (Spoiler Alert if ye have not had the chance to watch “Space Pirates” yet).

Thar “Space Pirates” Blows!

Down into Davy Jones’ Locker (pretend that this refers to how deeply wholesome this movie is) as we plunge right into the plot! The main characters are the twins, Victoria and Sebastian, who start their adventures with their mother’s untimely passing and her mantle of captain of her band of space pirates (and the ship) being passed down to Victoria. Victoria is an ambitious thrill-seeker who literally has enough dreams to write multiple picturesque song verses for two separate songs, and Sebastian is a comically sarcastic, aloof, “I’m just living my life, yea” dude who goes on a hero’s journey of discovering his potential and accepting the “duties of a Space Pirate Captain!” They clash frequently, especially in regards to who ought to take on the responsibility of captain throughout the movie; this conflict is crucial to Sebastian’s development through the movie. Other major characters include Bones, the first mate of the twins’ ship (the absolute best at oblivious, contradictory humor), Constable, the main villain of the movie (his personality and lofty opinion of himself really crack me up; he spends more time attempting to promote his high status and “hand of justice” act over actually convincing me that he’s a serious “I am the infallible law enforcer”), Bounty Hunter, a significant contributor to Victoria’s experiences (Dry humor, is a betrayer, is one of those lucky non-main characters to be able to redeem herself), and Captain Cassandra, who is vital to kicking/singing the chain of events in the plot into action (I love her, though she is only present for around 7 minutes). 

I wish now to continue entertaining ye hearties with some never-heard-before (or seen depending on how you sense it) behind the screen conversations with the brilliant co-creator of this Mona Lisa, Quincy Ponvert ’23.

About their favorite moment from the movie, they said “There’s a scene where the pirates sing pirate shanties and it’s probably my favorite scene of the movie. It’s just really really funny, and working with Omar Camps-Kamrin ’20, the voice actor for Bones, was probably one of the best things from the whole project. He was a delight to work with and such a trooper!” There’s fun to be had, people to argue and have fun on the ride with, and so many more opportunities to keep one’s funny bone strong and healthy.

Aye, lass and lasses, this movie’s a true keeper in your heart no matter what way you hook it. With incredibly detailed still illustrations, thrilling and terrific singers and voice actors, and the best song lyrics and one-liners this background pirate has ever heard of (I think he’s still somewhere split between laughing himself into the Milkyway and crying emotionally attached tears), “Space Pirates” is a binge-worthy addition to your catalog of all things YARRR and the high seas (high space superiority)! Shiver me timbers, thinking about the end of this piece reminds me of the end of the movie. (Non-dramatic tears ensue). Ye all know, and I’m not ashamed to admit it: it’s an absence that never leaves me. All-encompassing. 

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