Thursday, February 28, 2008

Creature Comforts - Aardman Animation

Did anybody watch the Academy Awards on Sunday?

Well, despite being what some would call a movie enthusiast, I almost never watch the Academy Awards. I find most of it to be pretty boring, with the occasional exception of a Will Farrel / Jack Black moment, so I typically just check the winners the following day and wait for any funny bits to be filtered through the internet comedy colander that is MM.

This year, I thought that I would post the Academy Winning short here on the blog. "Peter and the Wolf" by Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman won this year, and it's definitely worth a watch. However, since it's 30 minutes in length, I'll let you catch that some other time. You can find it here.

What's intriguing about this years winner is that it taps into another form of animation I haven't show on the ol' blog yet - claymation. Essentially this is what most people call "stop motion animation". You place a character, snap a shot, move it a little bit, snap another shot, move it a little bit.. etc. Difficult and time consuming stuff (like most animation I suppose).

One animation studio that has specialized in this type of animation for quite some time is Aardman Animation Ltd. You've probably seen some of their stuff. Examples of their feature films include Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Flushed Away, just to name a few. In 1989, they won an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category for their claymation, "Creature Comforts." The animation appears to be a series of interviews with animals at a zoo, however in actuality these responses were taken from people living in low incoming housing and retirement homes, as well as one family residing in a local store somewhere in Britain. So as always with anything Academy Award related, there's a bit of social commentary in there too. Enjoy!

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