Robin Robin evaluate: Aardman’s first musical is rich and satisfying, with details that are truly exquisite


Dir: Dan Ojari, Mikey Please. Starring: Bronte Carmichael, Richard E Grant, Gillian Anderson, Adeel Akhtar, Amira Macey-Michael. U, 32 minutes

Despite its cosy, acquainted story of discovering house inside an adoptive household, Robin Robin marks a significant break from custom for Aardman Animations. It’s the studio’s first musical, packed with a rousing clatter of songs that sound as in the event that they had been carried out by Dick Van Dyke’s one-man band from Mary Poppins. More importantly, it alerts a break from their longstanding relationship with the BBC, with the movie debuting on Netflix as a part of its Christmas line-up.

This hasn’t come, nonetheless, with some flashy, Hollywoodised makeover. In reality, lots of Robin Robin’s charms lie in how humble all of it appears – and I say “seems” as a result of its perceived simplicity masks a formidable quantity of intricate stop-motion animation at work. The movie runs at half-hour, branded as a “holiday special”, akin to the stop-motion animations of Rankin/Bass, starting with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in 1964, which have change into a part of American Christmas custom.

Robin Robin tells the story of a small hen – Robin (Bronte Carmichael) – who’s raised by a household of mice after her egg rolls right into a garbage dump. She’s spent a lifetime making an attempt to slot in, puffing up her feathers with a view to type two miniature ears and dutifully placing apart any considered flying. Her household has all the time accepted her, however Robin nonetheless believes she has to safe her place among the many rodents by stealing a complete sandwich. Mice are all beginner burglars on this world, and the pilfering of crumbs is their lifestyle. So, off she units, her head stuffed with desires.

The details in Robin Robin are truly exquisite – Aardman’s animators have rendered most of the shifting parts in needle felt, together with the roaring fires and recent pockets of snow. It makes the characters appear to be the previous, plush toys that Christopher Robin could have made associates with a very long time in the past. Directors Dan Ojari and Mikey Please have additionally fleshed out a world that may convincingly be inhabited by small critters, the place backyard gnomes are as imposing because the statues guarding Egyptian tombs.

In reality, Robin Robin repeatedly finds new, sudden methods of nodding to acquainted issues with out stumbling into simple homage. Robin, at one level, meets a magpie voiced by one Richard E Grant, whose cave of discovered treasures seems to be like Ariel’s grotto and whose ditty in regards to the materials life feels surprisingly harking back to Mr Burns’s “See My Vest” music from The Simpsons.

And whereas the concept that household is household, regardless of the variations inside, is hardly a revolutionary take, there’s some welcome room for nuance right here. Robin is informed she doesn’t belong not solely by the villain of the piece – a cat voiced so elegantly by Gillian Anderson that you surprise why she’s ever performed something however a cat – but in addition by a few of her closest allies. It’s a touching reflection on how even a form phrase can minimize deep. Robin Robin could also be quick, however it’s rich and satisfying – perhaps one to serve alongside the pudding on Christmas Day.

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