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  • Shaun the Sheep, etc: animated shows in Netflix to watch while self-isolating.

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Outside the box Fun Stuff Shaun the Sheep, etc: animated shows in Netflix to watch while self-isolating.

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      • #2208538 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I am starting this thread because (1) I liked to say something about a new (old) animation show in Netflix and several other Netflix originals same as this one that I would like to recommend to anyone who is going to spend his or her coming days and weeks most of the time “self-isolated” at home and would like to to clear up the mental cobwebs accumulated while reading from Book I through Book IV (with a couple more still to go) of Buffon’s “The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, fascinating, hard-to-put-down page-turner this great classic is.

        So here I am letting you know of alternatives to starting right away, for a change, on the great cycle of tragedies by Sophocles generally known as the “Oresteia”:

        (1) “Shaun the Sheep” is now a Netflix show, although it is still being created by the geniuses of stop-motion animation of Aardman in Bristol, UK. Famous for “Chicken Run” and the various “Wallace and Gromit”, both short and feature-length movies. Season 1, all ten episodes, is now available for solace in a time of mostly reading Buffon, Sophocles or watching the walls as a sort of ad-hoc meditation exercise.

        Other animation shows in Netflix I think bear being watched by anyone ages 5 through 112:

        (2) “Dragons Race to the Edge”,  by the creators of the three movies in the “How to Train Your Dragon” series. The 3-D animation is unbelievably good, as well as the characterization of the main protagonists,  as is the dialog and the absurd stories about dragon-flying Vikings that take time to discuss psychology and evolution supposedly in the Dark Ages. Worth to help pass the time while subconsciously digesting Buffon’s masterwork many implications relevant to our own age. The show runs for six series of thirteen 24-minute episodes each.

        (3) “The Dragon Prince.” Dragons again, a  true high-fantasy heroic quest across a magical land, with interesting and agreeable heroes and at least one very interesting villain that turns evil while trying to do good, precisely because was trying to do good. A very nuanced story indeed, with beautiful imagery and imaginative writing. Three seasons, so far, of nine episodes each.

        (4) She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” A hybrid of Science Fiction and Fantasy that, for reasons that escape me, is considered an LGTB-themed series. I think that some people are trying too hard, frankly: more two little ones of these days usual Hollywood quick tips of the hat to the LGBT people: there is a bit of rainbow-colored imagery, one character has “two dads”, we get to see them in one episode and… that’s all. Besides, these are just animated cartoon figures from a kid’s show that may appeal adults as well, and do not show any indication of their deepest feelings for each other, besides “friends” or “foes”. So I would just watch it for what it is explicitly there and ignore the overblown scuttlebutt. Oh, there is also in this series a very interesting villain, or rather villainess (is that a word?)

        (5) “Carmen Sandiego” Netflix’s remake of the old geography-teaching series and games. It is impressively done and a favorite of mine, except that only has, so far, two series of ten episodes each, which is far too few, I say.

        (6) “The Dark Crystal: Age of  Resistance” By the Jim Henson Company, of “Muppets” fame comes this one season (so far) series that is a “prequel” to the events in the classic movie “The Dark Chrystal”, created back in the early  eighties by the late Henson and his group of amazing puppeteers.

        (7) “Trollhunters” I won’t say more about this animated series, other than it has three seasons of 52 episodes in all, with the both amusingly and beautifully drawn animation of stories produced by the most ingenious mind of Guillermo del Toro, stories that only a privileged mind like his can come up with. It is followed by a second series (*Three Below”), and a third one (“Wizards”) is in the works, the whole trilogy, still in progress, is called “Tales of Arcadia” (after the name of the imaginary Californian city where — and below which —  the events take place.)

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        • This topic was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by OscarCP.
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      • #2223822 Reply
        tonyl
        AskWoody Lounger

        I was first introduced to the work of the brilliant Nick Park by a series of TV ads for the electric companies. (We have a long history of excellent ads here in the UK; shame they keep getting interrupted by programmes.) This led me to discover Creature Comforts.

        After that, Wallace & Gromit was a done deal. With Shaun the Sheep, I was lucky; I was working strange hours at the time, I happened across some Children’s TV (as you do) and I was immediately hooked.

        One of the things I like about Park’s work is the attention to detail; there’s a lot going on in the background, especially in the later stuff. You can see it developing as his work progresses; little at first, then lots later. It’s all blink-and-you-miss-it stuff, and you can watch it all again and see more each time.

        Shame everyone thinks it’s for kids…

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      • #2232446 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Now there is a new, full feature movie with Shaun and his pals in Netflix. It is pretty good, if more sedated than the first Shaun the Sheep movie, also from Aardman. Netflix plans a theatrical run later on, to qualify for the 2021 Oscar for Best Animated Film.

        https://www.indiewire.com/2019/11/netflix-aardman-a-shaun-the-sheep-farmageddon-to-animation-slate-exclusive-1202191017/

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2232449 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        qualify for the 2021 Oscar for Best Animated Film

        Not bad for a 2019 release.

        cheers, Paul

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        • #2232886 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Paul_T: You are right. That is not how I read the “indiwire” article:

          Co-directed by Aardman animators Richard Phelan and Will Becher, and revolving around a martian toddler, “Farmageddon” (from StudioCanal) will stream in early 2020; Netflix will support an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run next season.

          But now that you brought this obvious point to my attention, I have noticed that the article is dated November 2019, so the theatrical run must have happened already, in a few theaters (certainly not in my neighborhood), just enough of them  to qualify for this year’s (2020) Oscars.

          About the other shows I mentioned in my original comment starting this thread: Season 5 of “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is scheduled for 15 May. This is also going to be the last season of this animation series. In fact, the way the overall arch of the story has developed, it is a natural thing for this to be the last season.

          As to “The Dragon Prince”: still no release date for a 4th season, or whether there will be one. The series, in fact, could have ended already in the last episode where most things got satisfactorily resolved (other than the origins and backstory of the mysterious Aravos, a rather minor point). Only a brief final scene in the last episode opened the possibility of a continuation. In principle, there should be six seasons, one for each of the six magical power-giving “primal elements”: sky, moon, sun, stars, ocean, earth, after one of which, in succession, each season is named. There have been just three, so far: “Sky”, “Moon”, “Sun.”

          No news about a next season of Netflix’s very stylish “Carmen Sandiego”, the animation series. A live-action Netflix movie by the same name is being made with the main voice actress, Gina Rodriguez, in the lead role.

          If you want to watch a most remarkable, well made and extremely funny movie on DVD: “Missing Link” from the regularly critically-acclaimed (but financially troubled) stop-animation movie-maker Laika Studio. This movie was a nominee for the Oscar for “Best Animation Film” this year, that “Toy Story 4” won. Before the Oscars, this movie had already won the “Golden Globe” for best feature-length animation movie. And if you have never seen any of Laika’s movies, a good one to start with is the remarkable “Coraline.”

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2271116 Reply
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        I saw most of the Shaun the Sheep movie when I had Hulu Live (I now have Sling TV). I missed the first part of it and need to stream the full movie. I enjoyed what I saw.

        I loved the Wallace and Gromit series as well. Chicken Run was funny too. I had the Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run characters when I was little.

        My favorite cartoons are classic Looney Tunes (I love watching Daffy Duck and still have a very old plush Daffy). I have some Daffy Duck cartoons and Duck Dodgers cartoons on iTunes. The remake of the Looney Tunes cartoons coming up sound stupid with not giving Elmer Fudd a gun, but giving him a sickle to chase Daffy and Bugs with (wouldn’t that be more violent?).

        I also enjoyed Thomas the Tank Engine (and when it used to air with Shining Time Station), Theodore Tugboat, and Bob the Builder over the years. I have a closet full of those figures I wish I had extra room to setup.

        Lately I’ve been enjoying Fraggle Rock on Apple TV+. I enjoyed the mini series they ran due to COVID19, and I signed up to watch the classic series. I forgot just how funny they were, and they’ve been providing me with weekend entertainment.

        I’m trying to think of what other cartoons and shows I enjoyed over the years. I’ll have to ponder it more. Plenty of excellent programming to refresh oneself from all of the sadness going on!

        Nathan Parker

      • #2271135 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan: Fraggle Rock is one example of how good the Henson company has always been at putting out very funny and unforgettable movies as well as series of short TV episodes such as this one. The Muppet movies are some of the comedies memorable enough to always make me smile whenever I remember them. And the “actors” are puppets, not even human!

        I must add to a previous entry that the last season of “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” was released, as expected then, in May of this year, so it is now available for streaming from Netflix. It ends the show in a high note, being (at least to my taste) the best of the four seasons. Although all of them are quite good.

        I should also note here some visual quotations of Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke” in  scenes taking place in the fantastic heart of the Whispering Woods and the sightings of the magical animals that live there. Also in a scene where Adora comes back from absorbing the magical power of their world, Etheria, as a blindingly radiant She-Ra that, every time she sets a foot on it, makes the ground burst into green grass and full-grown plants, just as the changeling God of Life and Death and the keeper of the Sacred Forest in “Mononoke”; then she uses her sword to transform an enemy space station into a huge leafy tree floating in space, very reminiscent of the last scene in “Castle in the Sky.”

        This show has run nominally for five seasons, although seasons two and three were quite short and only equal to any one of the others in the number of episodes when put together, so this series is really four seasons long with one broken up in two.

        This last season ends with all the plots satisfactorily resolved. Except for the poor immortal Queen Angella of Bright Moon, that I thought they were going to find some way to get out of her otherwise eternal prison inside a shut down wormhole as a result of her desperate act of heroism to save the world in season three. But it was not to be! (Or the people behind the show forgot about her…) Of course, if rescued, she would have become the Queen Mother. because her feisty daughter, Glimmer, was already crowned Queen after her  mother “went away” in this strange and frightful way… But enough of commentary from me: go now and, I hope, enjoy this little big-hearted jewel of charming and imaginative animation.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2271410 Reply
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        The Muppet Movie (and the other movies) are good too. They did a great job with making them memorable and the characters life like. Kermit and Miss Piggy make a great team.

        Nathan Parker

      • #2271711 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        This just in: From this year (2020 ) on, anyone can stream all the movies from Studio Ghibli, where such great animation works as”Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”, “Kiki Delivery Service” and “Whisper of the Heart” were created over several decades. Those living in the USA can do it from HBO and those outside the USA from Netflix:

        https://www.polygon.com/21272242/how-to-watch-studio-ghibli-movies-hbo-max-netflix-hulu-stream

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2271833 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I now realize that I forgot to put in the (incomplete) list of memorable and truly inspiring Ghibli movies worth watching while self-isolating, or at any time, for that matter, the perhaps greatest of them all: Isao Takahata’s “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”, a poetic re-imagining of on an old Japanese fairy tale, “The Cane-Cutter’s Daughter”, that is similar to many other stories of adopted children with magical powers and the not very appropriate reactions of those very close to them to their extraordinary situation, and also those stories of a beautiful but cruel princess that puts the fulfillment of one or more very dangerous and difficult tasks as the precondition of marrying anyone who aspired to her beautiful hand. This is, in my opinion, shared by many noted critics (and by some good old friends of mine in Japan, for what that is worth) a true work of art: a very moving, extraordinary film, beautiful both in content as it is in its poetic and, at some points, very dramatic images. Takahata completed this film, his last one, when already in his eighties, after a number of years working on and off on it, and died in April of 2018, a few short years after its premiere in Japan, in 2013.

        For those with both strong stomachs and of serious anti-war views, his first full-length animated movie, “The Grave of the Fireflies” based on a novel about the fate of two orphans adrift in war-torn Japan at the end of WWII, is something they should consider watching, probably just once, as a repeat might be too much for most but a very few of us, particularly the indescribably sad end. If I were to compare it to anything in Western film-making, it would be the Italian post-war Neorealism movie “Bicycle Thieves”, for that kind of hopeless sadness. But any of is movies, all made with Studio Ghibli, of which he was the co-founder with Hayao Miyazaki, is worth having a look. Not all are tragic, some are, in fact, comedies and one is a love story with a deliberately ambiguous ending.

        Needless to say, these are movies for grown-ups. Or smart children.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2272158 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Some three years ago some former artists and a producer that had been working for Studio Ghibli, after it closed down as far as producing new full-feature animated movies goes, following the retirement of its big money spinner the great Hayao Miyazaki and the death of Isao Takahata, started a new studio they called “Ponoc”, dedicated to continue producing films in the style of the ones they had work for years to make at Ghibli:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_Ponoc

        The first one was “Mary and the Witches’ Flower”, followed by a series of three short stories (so far) that plays over some 52 minutes.

        Now all of this is available on Netflix for streaming.

        They share the gorgeous imagery and subtle storytelling of the best Ghibli movies. “Mary”, in particular, is a delight both visually and as a story to watch as it unfolds. As far as I am concerned, all I can say is: “Long live “Studio Ponoc”, I wish it great success and a long life!”

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2274885 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        The great, late and lamented Roger Ebert, movie critic, cinema scholar and teacher, wrote this in one of his critics:

        “I go to the movies for many reasons. Here is one of them. I want to see wondrous sights not available in the real world, in stories where myth and dreams are set free to play. Animation opens that possibility, because it is freed from gravity and the chains of the possible. Realistic films show the physical world; animation shows its essence.

        Animated films are not copies of “real movies,” are not shadows of reality, but create a new existence in their own right. True, a lot of animation is insipid, and insulting even to the children it is made for. But great animation can make the mind sing.”

        He was commenting on Hayao Miazaski’s “Princess Mononoke”, one of the great works of Japanese and, for that matter, world cinematography. No more, no less.

        When I first saw it, in a hotel room in the Ginza district of Tokyo, where I was visiting colleagues at the Japan Hydrographic Institute that were involved in a project that they had invited me to join in, I was watching TV one night, too tired to go out, when searching for some show to see I came across something like I never had seen before. After a while I realized this was the famous “Princess Mononoke”. And I was hooked for life as an admirer of great Japanese animation in general and of Miyazaki in particular.

        But over the last few days I have been having a second viewing at a series of three movies that, singly and together, remind me of Ebert’s words, because I believe they apply equally well to these: “How to Train your Dragon” I, II and III.

        First of all, the quality of the images is realistic and life-like to an incredible degree, using all the advanced techniques available today to animators. There is a lot of flying around on dragons and doing aerobatics with them. The land, the sea and the clouds are rendered with amazing realism. The characters are not only engaging and quirky and interesting in themselves, but the way they they are animated is utterly realistic, even if they are, to some extent, caricatures of real humans. The dragons are impressive both in the way they are animated, so they seem to be actual living beings, but also in the flights of fantasy that created them: in how they look, move and behave, each with its own personality. They do not speak, but can make themselves understood well enough. Above all, the stories and the dialogs are worth the price of the tickets, or of the DVDs, as in my case: there is comedy, there is drama, there is plenty of action and some romance. And each of these elements make it totally worthwhile watching the movies.

        In between the events in movies I and II, the story was continued with a succession of eight series, four now on DVD followed by another six on Netflix, from where they can be streamed. All the eight series were made by the same team behind the movies, including the voice actors, while keeping to nearly the same high standards of imagery, character development, story-telling and dialog as for the movies. There are some discrepancies between these intermediate shows and movies I and II: for example the romance between the two main characters, Hiccup and Astrid, does not start to flourish until the last of the eight series, when it was already going strong at the end of the first movie. And three important characters in the eight series are nowhere to seen in the movies. But these are minor glitches.

        If one wants to watch family friendly series of shows and movies with a big heart and spanning a long series of events, with characters that develop and grow up while also growing on the watchers’ affection as they watch them and with considerably dramatic  depth and great action, then one could do a lot worse than watching some (or all) of these remarkable examples of present day animation and cinematographic storytelling.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2277384 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        The celebrated Irish animation director Tomm Moore’s  “Cartoon Saloon” studio has produced several full-feature animation movies, of which the two best known and much praised by critics are “The Secret of Kells” and “Song of the Sea.” Both have to do with old Celtic myths and folklore and of these two, the second one, “Song of the Sea” is available on Netflix for streaming(The “Kells” one can be obtained on DVD for those who subscribe to Netflix DVDs.)

        “Song of the Sea” begins with a mother and her son and daughter, where the mother is a full-blood selkie (a being that can change from human form to that of a seal with magical powers in both forms.) The daughter, having her for mother and the human keeper of a lighthouse where they live for father, is half and half, and her existence “entangles both the human and the other world”, a situation from where the rest of the story follows.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jxc7WkC674

        This is a gorgeously illustrated and very nicely told tale of the quest of the young daughter and her by a few years older brother, along with their nice and very large faithful dog, to find their way back home, where their old maternal grandmother comes to take them to her house in a big city. The reason is that, as she sees it, an isolated lighthouse, without a mother (she disappeared in the sea the night of giving birth to her daughter) and with a father that has obvious difficulties copying with it all, is no proper place for children to live. They beg to differ, run away and, along their return trek, they meet mythical figures of ancient folklore, both good and bad.

        Netflix has the English sound track; the Irish one is optional in the DVD,

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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