KajsaRain

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Shaun the Sheep: Aardman Animations and the nostalgia for Wallace and Gromit

    Shaun the Sheep Movie, based on the show of the same name which was a spin-off from Aardman’s classic Wallace and Gromit series of short films, was disappointing in the box office despite being a great family movie. Many kids in the US remember growing up with Wallace and Gromit shorts – A Grand Day Out, A Close Shave, The Wrong Trousers – and I expected some of that nostalgia to affect Shaun the Sheep Movie’s run domestically. Does Wallace and Gromit still hold a nostalgic factor for Aardman Animations? Or was the box office disappointment reflecting something else – a contrary humor, a dislike for silent films, low popularity of stop-motion? Aardman’s last film, Pirates! Band of Misfits, was also low in the box office. What does this mean for Aardman’s upcoming film, Early Man (2018) and the proposed Shaun the Sheep Movie sequel?

    • I think part of the reason for the box office trouble is that there seems to be little production from the flagship of Wallace & Gromit. Shaun the Sheep is only vaguely connected, and all the others have no connexion to the flagship. – JDJankowski 5 years ago
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    I never really thought of it as a test for Derek, which is an interesting interpretation, but as a defining moment of Derek and his mother’s off-kilter relationship. You touched on this in the article: Uberta is not a great mother when it comes to understanding her son. She has set expectations for what should and shouldn’t happen, usually based on what she wants or doesn’t want to happen. When Derek ruins his chance with Odetta “in five syllables or less,” Uberta’s reaction is that she wasted “years of planning,” rather than asking her son how he feels or what he plans to do.

    When Derek does start taking action, sort of, by practicing constantly, Uberta misinterprets his practice as a reflection of his ‘survivor’s guilt’, so to speak. She’s not seeing it as his love but his sense of obligation because her character isn’t one to look deeper into people’s actions (that opening number proves this several times) – she takes actions at face-value. That’s why she wants to prepare the ball; she thinks he’s trying to make up for his mistakes, which led Odette to be on that road at that time. She thinks they think similarly. He did ask “What else is there?” when Odette asked for compliments more than “You’re beautiful”. I think Uberta took that at face value later and decided that was what Derek wanted, and she would give him that somehow to pull him away from some sort of guilt-fueled obligation.

    She’s not reading his determination as love and I think that’s important to understand. He never told Odette he loved her (in front of his mother, at least); he said, “You’re all I’ve ever wanted. You’re beautiful.” She doesn’t see the love because, a) he never said it, b) what he did say was superficial, and c) they clearly don’t talk to each other very often. Uberta is a character who leaves behind “wasted” plans rather than attempt to salvage them; she doesn’t want to waste more time, she wants to move on to the next thing and the next thing. I think “Princesses on Parade,” aside from not being the first ‘pageant’ attempt, doesn’t show what Uberta wants Derek to think or be like but rather shows what Uberta misinterprets her son to be like. Not to mention, when she brings up this next attempt, he doesn’t say “But I love, Odette, Mother,” he says, “Just don’t make it into one of your beauty pageants.”

    I think the issue shown by this scene is not Uberta forcing her ideals on Derek but her clear misinterpretations of him because of their serious lack of clear communication. She’s doing what she can with the little information she has about Derek’s romantic relationships. Great article!

    The Swan Princess Beauty Pageant: Parade or Parody?

    I reviewed this film for The Rotoscopers, another online magazine. I went in with an open mind and only knowing that Lucas was attached to the film. Given his film history, and despite the trailer, I hoped that the film would be on par with his live-action work.

    While I enjoyed some of the movie, much of it was very contrived, as if they were trying to make as many songs fit as possible – and specifically those songs. Marianne’s character changes so drastically within seconds, the believability of the movie immediately falls flat. The music – outside of the pop/rock songs – was wonderful and flowed well, and the voice acting was phenomenal, despite some truly awkward writing.

    I thought the animation was beautiful; yes, what was being animated wasn’t always pretty (i.e. Bog, rotting trees, etc), but the animation itself as an art was, in my opinion, quite gorgeous.

    I don’t think I would call this a great film or a classic everyone will love. And I think it’s too soon to say if it’s a cult classic; I have yet to really see a following for it (as many in the comments pointed out, some haven’t even heard of it), but – like Labyrinth did – it has the potential there. I enjoyed the film but it felt disorganized in the writing, a little contrived, and focused on the music rather than the characters.

    Strange Magic: 5 Reasons this Soon-to-be Cult Classic is Worth Your Time

    It’s almost a meme now to include Anastasia in the Disney princess line-up just to see how annoyed Disney fans will get, so this article was an interesting read, like an appreciation post for those of us who know these aren’t Disney and hold them up as proud exceptions to Disney’s empire. Juxtaposing various studios’ movies, especially in 2D animation, is always interesting, but I especially loved how you pointed out the film or studio’s connection with Disney. Many people forget that these studios didn’t just pop up to compete against Disney for the fun of it. Wonderful article!

    Five Animated Musicals That Are Not Disney