Adjani Gama Dessavre
Different animation studios have different styles and stories behind their creations. Unquestionably, Aardman is a brilliant studio that leaves a mark on its work, mainly if we say stop-motion. With a story that goes back to the ’70s and a mash of genius ideas, it is one of the best animation studios in my opinion.
How I came to know this studio? Some years back in my own story when I still lived with my brother, we used to have the tradition of watching movies. There was an arduous and lengthy process for picking the perfect film for our mood; usually, Ghibli movies would win. However, this one day they were transmitting the Wallace & Gromit movie on TV; they transmitted it quite often in those times. It didn’t attract our attention at first, but I think it was my brother that said we should give it a chance for he had seen a piece of it and seemed fun.
Oh, was I wrong by not watching that film before! To the day, it is one of my favourite movies. I even know by heart some of the dialogues (in Spanish, though). Then I realized they were also the creators of “Chicken Run”. And, if not enough, some years later, I started watching “Shaun, the sheep” with my mom. I was amazed by their stop-motion techniques, and especially by their creativity, style and humour.
So how did it start for the studio? Well, it turns out that Peter Lord and David Sproxton founded the studio in 1972 while they were still at school. One of their first stop-motion characters was Morph, a funny little clay man. I recently discovered that he now has a youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/MorphOfficial) where you can watch its shorts and how they make them.
However, it was not until 1985 that Nick Park joined the team. And who is this guy? Nonetheless than the creator of Wallace & Gromit. Yes, you read well, he is the mind behind these marvelous characters. He started out with “Creature Comforts”, an Academy award-winning stop-motion short film. In this short, zoo animals are interviewed about their living conditions. Then he created “A Grand Day Out”, the first short film with Wallace & Gromit. This is a must-watch. It features our loved characters travelling to the moon for cheese because, obviously, the moon is made out of cheese.
After that, more short-films were produced by this wonderful studio. Yet, it wasn’t until 2000 that they jumped into the big screen with “Chicken run”, which I hope must of you have watched. This film was so loved by the critics that it is one of the reasons why the Best Animated Feature in the Academy Awards was created. Five years later, in 2005, “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” was premiered. It made around $192.6 million at the box-office, it won multiple prizes including an Academy Award. And if that was not enough, I can tell you it is a fantastic and fun movie, full of inventions and creativity.
Sadly, also in 2005, there was a fire in Aardman’s ware, which contained a lot of props, figures, drawings, and history of the studio. However, this was far from the end for Aardman. Even Wallace & Gromit resurrected with another short: “A Matter of Loaf and Death”, which by this point you will guess, I do recommend it. I mean, it was the inspiration for my title!
More material was produced, they even adventured with other media like a computer animation film (I prefer their stop-motion films, though) and more. I will not go into detail now about all of that. It would take a whole book if I wanted to tell you about all their work and history. Come on, they have even collaborated with Nintendo (for example, this “the Legend of Zelda” short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=073kDVoIGyQ). Because I’m missing a lot of things, I recommend you to do your own research on this studio, you’ll find phenomenal stories.
For instance, there is now some collaboration with Netflix: a future stop-motion musical film called “Robin Robin”, a new “Shaun, the Sheep” season, and the movie “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”. Of this last one, I’ll soon write a review because it is just out of this world!
So whether you want to have a perfect cup of tea with Wallace & Gromit, or some pizza with Shaun, or maybe escape from a farm with some Chicken, I say you should watch the Aardman creations. You will not regret that decision!
Featured image taken from “Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman”