I’ve been a fan of Aardman from my earliest years. I remember watching the opening sequence of Wallace and Gromit’s ‘A Close Shave’ again and again as I fell in love with their lively animation style and hilarious characters. Though inconsistent in quality, their films have never lost their aesthetic charm and wide-eyed innocence. Their latest effort, The Shaun the Sheep Movie, proves to be another worthy addition to the Aardman collection, but falls short of their best on account of its stop-and-start action and rather clunky feel.
Earlier this year, when I went to watch The Lego Movie, I was reminded, in the pre-film trailers, just how awful films for young children can be. What a relief, then, that Lego turned out so brilliantly, and, as a further bonus for family-friendly cinema this year, Paul King’s Paddington is a genuine delight. It’s smart, funny, warm, boasts a great British comedy cast, and has two broad but charming messages – that immigration is an integral part of British culture and, for the kids, that parents can be really cool sometimes, you just have to give them the opportunity. Whilst this had the potential to be a cynical cash-grab, instead Paddington is a great adaptation of the beloved stories, and the best way for a family to spend 90 minutes at the cinema this winter. (more…)