A short and sweet stop-motion treat
Aardman Animations have a long and illustrious history when it comes to stop-motion animation. In fact, their first project originated way back in 1975 and since then, the studio have only grown from strength to strength.
Creature Comforts, Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run have all been mainstay features over the years, and they’re packed with charm. Even their more recent efforts, like Early Man and Arthur Christmas, have managed to capture the essence of what makes Aardman so good.
The studio’s latest foray then comes in the form of a 30 minute short-film called Robin Robin. It’s a simple story, one that plays on the simple fables of the ghosts of Christmas pasts, including features like The Snowman and The Gruffalo. Unlike those two book adaptations though, Robin Robin is an original animation first (but due to be released in book format tomorrow.)
Here, the story plucks plot beats from different familiar tales and whisks them up into something familiar but also original too. The tale itself begins with a young bird hatching from her egg and being adopted by a family of mice. Robin starts to question her role in life while struggling to navigate the world acting as a mouse. She’s unable to fly and unable to sneak; she’s essentially a bit of an oddball.
The story then takes a predictable but welcome turn, with Robin attempting to discover her true self and face perilous dangers head-on in the process. There’s a bit of The Ugly Duckling in here, a sprinkling of The Land Before Time and even shades of The Gruffalo too. All of this combines to make a rather enjoyable Christmas tale, even if there isn’t anything here that will blow you away.
Don’t get me wrong, this short is never boring or irritating. It’s a wholesome, charming feature and one that you certainly won’t mind the kids playing on repeat. Unlike mediocre, low-budget efforts like Spookley The Square Pumpkin, this film has some pretty decent chuckles too.
The stop-motion animation is wonderful though, and there’s undoubtedly a lot to like. The puppets, landscapes, characters and camera work are all exemplary. Aardman have really gone all-out to make this a visual treat and the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get watching this is undeniable.
Robin Robin is a fun-filled Christmas film that kids and adults are sure to love. It’s a sweet, thematically strong picture with a great underlying message about finding one’s purpose and finding courage. This one’s definitely worth a watch.
Verdict - 8/10