With school holidays coming up, you may be looking for something enjoyable to do with the children. If your children are interested in animation, you may be considering visiting the Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman exhibition at the ACMI, which runs until 29th October 2017. We visited this exhibition in July school holidays, and these are our thoughts.
Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman Animations
My love of Aardman Animation goes back to when I was a child. From a young age, Morph was the first Aardman character I knew and loved. As I grew up this was followed by Creature Comforts, Wallace and Gromit and many, many more film and TV favourites, plus a whole host of Tv ads and music videos. So I was beyond excited to go to this exhibition and share it with my children, who also love Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.
As a filmmaker and animator I was like a kid in a candy shop and so were my children! Not only did we get a sneak peek behind the scenes, seeing the sets, props and characters, and the very large ship from Pirates! Band of Misfits, but we also felt we could really get into the minds of the animators and see how their ideas developed and evolved. We got a real feel for the process in bringing the animations from sketch to screen.
There is something for everyone who is a fan of Aardman Animations, their movies and TV shows, or animation in general. The walls are full of storyboards, character development sketches, mood boards and artistic renderings surrounding cases and tables of characters, props, sets and tools. Videos around the walls show the exhibits in action as part of the finished movies, TV programs and adverts, and others tell the stories from behind the scenes. There is even a podcast you can download to enrich the experience further.
In this day and age of computer animation, seeing cartoons with puppets and clay figures is quite something. Aardman never really forgot their roots, and we are very glad.
It truly is one of the best exhibitions I have ever been to, and well worth the price. So much so I am already planning a second visit to spend longer on the things I rushed through because the kids were so excited looking at all the treasures on show. On a personal note it was a very special experience sharing this with my children. I introduced them to Aardman Animations through Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, to name but two, and they were the ones who got me into making my own stop motion animations a few years ago.
The best bit is that stop motion animation really captures children’s imaginations. They can have a go at clay animation in the studio at the end of the exhibition, and leave inspired by the whole experience to make their own animations which really brings the magic home.
What my children say about the Wallace & Gromit and Friends exhibition
Harry, 11 “The cool thing is the sketches that the original people who made the animations made. I didn’t know how much effort went into everything and how it evolved. The pirate ship is massive, bigger than my Dad. They used two ships for Pirates! Band of Misfits. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Jacob, 9 “My favourite thing was seeing all the sets. They looked really good and really old. The Morph show was good because I haven’t seen it before. It’s a really nice, good animation, very very funny for kids and it’s very old. There’s a video of how to draw Wallace and Gromit and that’s really good.”