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When it comes to ranking animation studios, Aardman Animations is a close second to Pixar. The time and care that go into each one of their projects is almost unheard of in any profession, much less filmmaking. Even their less successful ventures, such as the CGI rat romance that was Flushed Away, are still packed with laughs and imagination. I can think of no recent Christmas animation worth a rewatch more than Arthur Christmas.
The Aardman property probably least accessible to their adult audience is their Shaun the Sheep series, which is no less interesting or silly, than say, Pirates! Band of Misfits, but the toons are completely dialogue-free, and rely on a ton of visual gags and madcap action to tell the stories - like a modernized Tom and Jerry in some ways. SoDeadline reporting that the French production company Studiocanal is financing a feature-length Shaun the Sheep film is both odd and completely understandable, given the show’s worldwide popularity. No dialogue means no language barriers.
Shaun the Sheep was a character in the Wallace and Gromit short A Close Shave before breaking off into his own spin-off, which features the character on a farm with a whole host of other animals, including a sheepdog, rooster, duck, other sheep, etc. (And those damned pigs!). The farm is run by a drum-and-bass loving farmer who often finds himself at the butt end of the jokes. Deadline states the feature will follow Shaun and his flock as they go to rescue the farmer from the big city. Which doesn’t sound anything like Babe: Pig in the City at all - and I bet it’s far less dystopian.
Given how long the stop-motion technique takes, it’ll probably be a long while before we get a look at this thing. Could it possibly be as good a theatrical debut as Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit? Perhaps not, but I’m going to have a bite of Wensleydale while I think about it.