Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: Shaun the Sheep

A fun film for all ages, but particularly for those who love sheep!
On Saturday YTSL and I went to see the preview of Shaun the Sheep, the latest production by Aardman Animation, best known for Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and The Pirates!

Shaun the Sheep is apparently already a well-known TV character in the UK, and now has his own feature film clocking in at 85 minutes. The animation created by Aardman goes back to the basics of stop animation, where the characters are painstakingly manipulated one frame at a time.

I remember trying to do this during a summer course in animation where we made flipbooks, but also one project we did as a whole class was create a stop animation short moving figures against a colourful background to music. That was fun, but imagine doing this for hours day in, day out... that takes dedication!
Some passersby take pictures on smartphones in the film...

But the latest movie is very cute, where Shaun is a young sheep who is tired of the same old routine everyday on the farm and then is inspired by an ad he sees on the bus to take a break and ends up in the big city. The consequences are funny -- you can't even take your eyes off the screen for one second because there might be something amusing you may have missed.

There are even references to today's modern life, with people taking pictures with their smartphones and using social media...

Also interesting is that the characters don't actually speak a language... everyone mumbles or makes sounds, while the body language makes what they are "saying" very clear.

This not only makes it easier not having to translate the film, but also makes it pretty much universal.

The sheep hanging out with The Farmer -- Is it Nick Park?!
Shaun and his other sheep friends are adorable, though he is the undisputed star of the show.

I hope others will appreciate this style of animation that is different from computer-generated ones. It's like the difference between drawing and taking a photograph: both can be artistic, but drawings can have more depth to them because they were created with a hand, whereas a photograph is done by a machine.

It just makes you appreciate the craft so much more because a lot of work has gone into each second...

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