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Here’s Every Movie From Aardman Animations, Ranked

The art of stop-motion animation has been utilized for generations past and present, being an easy to understand (yet hard to master) means of animation for both new artists expressing their budding creative flair, or professional studios providing universally beloved cinematic adventures. From Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to adored auteur Wes Anderson’s stop-motion films (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs), the medium has been used in iconic ways by studios and artists alike. One such studio has held the monopoly on the ladder, and for 50 years has been responsible for the creation of many famous and cherished animated properties that continue to be enjoyed and revisited to this day.

If you’re not familiar with Aardman Animations by their name, you’re definitely familiar with them by their work. The UK-based animation studio has been delighting audiences for decades, and when they’re not creating their original animated shorts, they’ve collaborated with numerous other major studios to produce their own full-length films. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and focusing exclusively on their history of theatrical releases, it’s time to decide which of their excellent collection holds the crown above the rest.

8 A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2020)


Shaun the sheep and Lu-La in a spaceship
StudioCanal

Despite its place as the lowest ranking on this list, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon comes no where close to being a bad film. Being a sequel to the 2015 original, the stop-motion family adventure has no shortage of the trademark Aardman charm and wit, with a cheerful and well-meaning innocence that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Farmageddon does take the last place spot though, as its fish-out-of-water story can pan out a bit too predictably even for children and, being a sequel, can sometimes struggle in creating its own identity as a standalone film.

Related: These Are the Weirdest ’90s Cartoons We Can’t Seem to Forget

7 The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)


Pirate Captain holding a dodo bird
Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation

Known as The Pirates, In an Adventure with Scientists! in the UK, as well as being based off the children’s book by the same name, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a fun comedic romp that, while not reaching the heights of other Aardman projects, still provides an entertaining experience. Making use of both traditional stop-motion for character models and set pieces, and CGI animation to assist with background and additional scenery, The Pirates quickly became the studio’s most complex project to date at the time. While the effort does pay off for the film’s visuals, giving it a stunningly distinctive style and believable scale, the movie’s writing can lack cleverness, coming off as a bit shallow in some aspects.

6 Flushed Away (2006)


Characters of Flushed Away
Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Features

Being one of the few films released by the studio utilizing full CGI animation rather than the traditional stop-motion style, Flushed Away takes a fun, creative premise and just rolls with it. Released barely a year after a tragic fire ripped through the Aardman Animations warehouse, destroying much of their archived work, the company was looking ahead to their next release to help put them back on track. What ended up being delivered was a very solid and enjoyable movie. Flushed Away knows just when to throw in the right amount of jokes as well as the right amount of character, combining an imaginative world that lives under our drains with a memorable cast of oddballs.

5 Early Man (2018)


Dug and Hognob
StudioCanal

Much like Pirates!, Early Man finds itself being an oft-forgotten member of the Aardman film line-up, but, unlike its sea-fairing counterpart, ends up as a much more creative and distinctive take on its premise. More aptly labeled as a “sports movie” given the unexpected direction of the story, the stop-motion caveman flick relishes in its own goofiness and lighthearted nature, with oafish characters and over-the-top, pompous antagonists. Expertly crafted lighting and visuals compliment an imaginative plot nicely to create a very solid and unjustly overlooked animated adventure about another era.


4 Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)


Shaun the Sheep and friends on a rooftop
StudioCanal

Perhaps ‘charming’ is not a strong enough word to describe the exploits of the lovable Shaun the Sheep, who began as a spin-off from an original Wallace and Gromit short, as well as having his own hit television show. The movie demonstrates that the adorable and simplistic world and characters can translate well to a theatrical release, and never once feels like it needs to stretch its story unnaturally to meet its 85-minute runtime. Characters are also mostly silent, making the film stand out for its unusual lack of dialogue, and thus more creative take on visual storytelling.

3 Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)


Gromit and rabbits
DreamWorks Pictures and United International Pictures

By far the most iconic duo not only in the Aardman Animations lineup but in stop-motion altogether, Wallace and Gromit make their cinematic debut in one of the studio’s most fun and imaginative endeavors. Beginning life as a series of shorts made for UK television, they quickly rose to widespread popularity and became well known all across the world for their distinctive style of pleasant stories with goofy humor. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit translates the titular characters’ world to the big screen very well, and serves to not only usher in a new generation of fans, but to please those who grew up with the originals on television. With more Wallace and Gromit projects coming down the pipeline, now is the best time to grab some cheese and give it a watch.

Related: Best Stop-Motion Animated Movies, Ranked

2 Arthur Christmas (2011)


Arthur reading letters
Sony Pictures Releasing

It’s no secret, Christmas movies are a dime a dozen, all hoping to leave their individual mark on the holiday and become a re-watchable classic for years to come. Through all the bargain-bin animated Christmas stories to come out, one seemed to be trampled by the rest and unjustly looked over: Arthur Christmas. Pinning contemporary vs. classic interpretations of the season’s celebrations against each other, the film beautifully captures an organic holiday spirit in its portrayal of memorable, well-meaning characters. Being another of the few Aardman films utilizing CGI animation rather than the traditional stop-motion style, character designs can appear a little unappealing from certain angles; however looking past that would show you a classic Christmas tale deserving of much more attention than it gets. It’s incredibly funny, surprisingly moving, and just one of the all-around great Christmas films.


1 Chicken Run (2000)


Characters of Chicken Run
Pathé Distribution and DreamWorks Pictures

In a classic example of beginner’s luck, Aardman Animation’s first feature-length film, Chicken Run, edges out the rest as still being the best of their stellar work. Following the escapades of chickens on a farm and their countless attempts at escape, the cooky family adventure delivers with its well-realized characters, lively setting, excellent animation, and stellar soundtrack. Action scenes are delightfully creative, showcasing the animation team’s ability at putting together eye-catching and exhilarating sequences, that of which could take painstakingly long to put together.

More than 20 years after the release, diehard fans and casual viewers alike still come back to revisit Chicken Run for its fun characters and unmatched charm. With a sequel in the works, the original will always hold its place as the quintessential display of the unmistakable talent and effort behind every Aardman Animation project for a long time to come.


Wallace & Gromit Studio Aardman Animations Gives Ownership to Employees
Wallace & Gromit Studio Aardman Animations Gives Ownership to Employees

Aardman Animations founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton don’t want their indie studio to get gobbled up by a big studio in the future.

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