Aardman Animation is beloved for its charming characters and imaginative world-building, be it the various hens and Great Escape-esque farm setting of Chicken Run or the home of Wallace the oddball inventor and his silent companion Gromit, featured in a number of award-winning shorts (as well as the Oscar-winning feature The Curse of the Were-Rabbit).
That much of their output – with exceptions like CGI Arthur Christmas - are brought to life through the tedious process of stop-motion animation, means that most Aardman’s projects end up being real labors of love – and, thankfully, that passion generally shines through in the final product. Hence, there’s good reason to be excited for their latest venture, with the upcoming Shaun the Sheep.
Shaun, for those unaware, is the sheep who was featured in the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short “A Close Shave”, who thereafter became the star of his own British stop-motion animated kids program. In the upcoming Shaun the Sheep movie, the character “get a little more action than he bargained for” when his misdeeds land his Farmer boss in trouble and force Shaun (along with his flock) to travel to the Big City to save their overseer.
Of course, as the first Shaun the Sheep trailer is merely a teaser, it serves up Aardman’s preferred brand of irreverent humor instead of actual plot; that includes multiple sight gags and funny attention to detail, like having one of the sheep production team filming Shaun via an iPhone-like device. Similarly, the first poster is just a reminder that Shaun the Sheep is being developed, as well as a refresher on Aardman’s past hits.
Check out said poster below (click to enlarge):
Shaun the Sheep was co-written and co-directed by first-timers Mark Burton and Richard Starzack. The former has spent years earning his keep and moving up the ladder by working on the scripts for animated features like Chicken Run, Madagascar, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Gnomeo & Juliet; the latter, however, has fewer projects to his name, though he did work on the animated TV series Canimals in the past.
Animation, even more so than live-action filmmaking, is a collaborative process, so one imagines that Shaun the Sheep will continue the proud Aardman tradition of quality material by moviemakers who take pride in and enjoy their work – something that was touched upon in both the story (and subtext) of one of the studio’s more recent films, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
Shaun the Sheep opens in UK theaters on March 20th, 2015; a U.S. release date may be announced sometime in the year ahead.