One of the great underrated purveyors of modern family entertainment, Aardman Animations has been comfortably chugging out feature films and shorts over the last 30 years to acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Over the last few years, Aardman’s stop-motion style has been matched in the United States by the Laika studio, with its ambitious storytelling in Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, among others. But this past weekend, Aardman’s newest movie, Early Man, got to take center stage as a form of counter-programming against Black Panther.
With Early Man in theaters, it’s time to look at the whole of Aardman’s feature-length output with this ranking. So, do like Wallace and grab the nearest cheesy snack, and dig in.
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Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 by Angie Han
Aardman Animation’s Arthur Christmas opens with a scene that suggests it is not your parents’ holiday movie. In response to one little girl’s query about how Santa manages to deliver all of those gifts around the world in just one night, we’re treated to a thrilling sequence of hundreds of elves jumping out of a giant sleigh-shaped spaceship and delivering the gifts with a high-tech precision that wouldn’t be out of place in a futuristic action thriller.
Spearheading that massive operation is alpha-male Steve (Hugh Laurie), heir apparent to the cushy Santa position currently held by his father Malcolm (Jim Broadbent). Steve and Malcolm, it turns out, are just two members of a long line of Santas that stretch back centuries and also includes Malcolm’s father (Bill Nighy) “Grandsanta,” and Steve’s younger brother Arthur (James McAvoy).
But holiday movies are a decidedly traditional genre, and Arthur Christmas quickly falls into the familiar themes about the magic of Christmas and finding your place in the world and whatnot. Happily, it does so with enough wit and enough feeling to be a cut above some of the more cynical entries in the genre, though it’s not on the level of the best holiday classics.
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In 2010, only 15 films were eligible for the Best Animated Film Oscar. Under the current rules, at least 16 films have to be eligible to have more than three nominees and this year that’s looking likely. Eighteen films have been deemed eligible to be nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 84rd Annual Academy Awards and it’s a very crowded field. Pixar usually is a sure thing but as their film, Cars 2, underperformed – at least in Pixar terms – that leaves the door open for movies like The Smurfs, Rango, Puss in Boots and Mars Needs Moms. Well, maybe not that last one, but it’s eligible.
After the jump see the full list of eligible animated films and predict which five will get the nomination come January 24, 2012. Read More »
We’ve seen a couple teaser trailers for the Aardman Animation holiday film Arthur Christmas, and now, two full-length trailers are out. The UK trailer still shows a lot of the elements we’ve seen before — the North Pole as a high-tech gift processing center; Santa’s sleigh as UFO; and the geeky younger member of Santa’s family who acts as the title character — but it also shows off a lot more of the actual story that puts all those elements to work. There are also a few good, cheeky little jokes. And the US trailer has a slightly different approach to the same elements. Check out the trailers below. (Oh, and there are lions, too.) Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
New animation from Aardman Animation (Wallace & Gromit) is like a gift, so the company is (appropriately) making a Christmas film called, er, Arthur Christmas. We’ve seen one brief, cheeky teaser trailer, and now there is a second just as cheeky teaser to put you in mind of the November release. It’s good stuff; check it out along with a new poster for the film, after the break. Read More »
A few new movie posters were released online today, including a new character poster for Kevin Smith‘s horror film Red State, an international one-sheet for Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan, Aardman Animation’s Arthur Christmas, and the first poster for the Jodie Foster-directed film The Beaver starring Mel Gibson. Hit the jump to check out the new one sheets now.
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Aardman Animation is moving into 3D CGI holiday fare with Arthur Christmas, which stars James McAvoy as the title character in a story “which at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole.”
The voice cast also features Bill Nighy,Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen, and now you can see a bit of the film at work. A teaser has just landed, and you’ll find it after the break. Read More »
The last time we checked in on Arthur Christmas, the planned 3D CG holiday film from Aardman Animation, we had only a single promo image to offer up. Now there’s a lot more detail, including a full plot description, clarification on the behind the scenes talent, and a voice cast that includes James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent. Read More »
In addition to working on new Wallace & Gromit shorts, the great Aardman Animation studio has a couple other projects in the pipeline. One is a stop-motion film called Pirates!, of which we’ve heard little since the film was announced in April ’09.
Also announced in spring of last year was Arthur Christmas, a CGI holiday film originally called Operation Rudolph. (And not related to the kid’s book Arthur’s Christmas.) Now we’ve got the first look at a bit of art from Arthur Christmas. It isn’t much, but it’s a start. Read More »
Don’t count Aardman Animations out just yet. The Academy Award-winning British animation studio is probably best known for their stop-animation and claymation productions, particularly those featuring Wallace & Gromit. The studio most recently produced a series of features, including their first computer animated film, for DreamWorks Animation, but “creative differences” lead to a seperation. Aardman entered into a three year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2007, but no films have seen public release.
Today Sony and Aardman announced a three year extension to their contract with promises that we might actually see some more movies this time around. Pirates! and Arthur Christmas are the two films next in the development pipeline. Details on both projects after the jump. I’m sure the successful release of LAIKA’s 3D stop-motion film Coraline helps the cause, proving that an interest in old style stop-motion exists. The growing popularity and profitability of 3D is also likely to help sell these films. And no, they haven’t yet been announced as 3D productions… but c’mon…
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