When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home. © Lionsgate
That summary above will probably have most confused about what Shaun the Sheep is all about. It would be my guess that only a handful people know about Shaun the Sheep and its characters. So, a bit of a primer is in order. Shaun the Sheep is a stop motion spin-off series from Aardman’s Wallace and Grommit television show based in England. Shaun the Sheep takes place on a farm somewhere in rural England. Shaun, the lead sheep of the flock, is frequently bored with farm life and is constantly looking for ways to spice up the day. His shenanigans cause nothing but headaches for the dimwitted farmer and his trusty dog Bitzer, who is sometimes an accomplice in Shaun’s hijinks. That is the television show in a nut-shell.
Enter Shaun the Sheep movie. The premise is basically the same as the television series, and walking into the theater I was curious how this basic idea could stretch into a full length feature. Directors and writers Mark Burton and Richard Starzak were able to take a simple plot and pull and stretch the story like the clay the characters are made of. This could have easily been boring, and that was the fear I had going in. I am glad that fear was never realized.
Shaun the Sheep is very funny, and this is backed up by the audience at screening. There were kids, young adults and even elderly watching the movie and just about each person was cracking up. The humor works for all. With that said there is the occasional crude joke thrown in, but it is nothing that would have parents cringing next to their child. Mixed in are a few references only the adults will understand. For instance, a scene that will harken back to Silence of the Lambs but this is very subtle and done tastefully.
The lack of dialogue in Shaun the Sheep should be addressed. Even without a spoken word (there are various grunts and other sounds the characters make), you will still know exactly what each character is saying. For a feature length movie to do this and still be entertaining is just incredible. Basically this is a silent movie, but it still held the attention of everyone watching. Typically, in today’s world this would only work in short doses, like the Shaun the Sheep television series.
Because most will not know the source material I do not expect a big box office haul for Aardman productions. This is a shame. Shaun the Sheep Movie is a warm, entertaining movie that will be a delight for both kids and adults. Anyway, enough of my bleating and just go see this movie. It is sheer fun and ewe won’t regret it.
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