Shaun the Sheep Movie

shaun_the_sheep_ver7STARS4Delightful confection about a sheep who simply dreams about having a day off at the farm. Shaun (Justin Fletcher) is the de facto leader of a flock of sheep. He hatches a scheme so they can have a break from their daily routine. Naturally things don’t go quite as planned.

Despite the title, Shaun the Sheep is actually an ensemble piece. There’s the oblivious bespectacled Farmer (John Sparkes). His odyssey after accidentality winding up in the Big City is just as important as Shaun’s narrative. There’s the rest of the flock too, some of whom get distinct personalities. This includes Nuts, Hazel, Shirley, the largest member and little Timmy, Shaun’s nephew. There’s Bitzer the Sheepdog, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Gromit, another Nick Park creation. Bitzer is loyally devoted to the Farmer and the calm yin to Shaun’s wild yang. Their adventures allow them to meet a variety of animals including Slip, a lovable little stray dog with the longest eyelashes ever. But it’s not all fun and games. They must contend with Trumper (Omid Djalili) an animal control officer who is the traditional nemesis of any stray pet.

Shaun the Sheep is the sixth feature from Aardman Studios and based on the BBC television show. The production almost exists in another world apart from other animated films. However the visual and comedic stylings are very much in line with the British animation studio’s other pictures. Located in Bristol, they are best known for using stop-motion claymation techniques. The company first gained fame with several shorts starring the adventures of Wallace & Gromit. In 2000 they released their theatrical debut with Chicken Run and it was a huge success.

Shaun the Sheep is warm, clever, witty, hilarious, touching, sweet, cute.  I could go on. A delight for those who appreciate a whimsical romp. It’s refreshingly slight clocking in at a mere 85 minutes. For those whose tastes run toward more electrifying fare, this placid tale may seem a bit soporific. There’s nary a word of spoken dialogue. Everything is expressed through gestures and vocal cues. I, on the other hand, truly appreciated this undemanding tale’s lighthearted take. It’s rather impressive how much story be conveyed through mutters and grunts and baas and bleats. As such, witty sight gags abound. Gentle G rated humor references Inception, Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver and The Terminator. Stick around for an end-credits homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Early on, the sheep lull Farmer to sleep by continuously jumping over a fence. But my absolute favorite interlude is a disguise sequence where the sheep dress up as humans and go out to a fancy French restaurant. It’s so visually brilliant it could only be described as Chaplin-esque.


18 Responses to “Shaun the Sheep Movie”

  1. Rachel Wagner Smilingldsgirl Says:

    I really liked it too. Very charming with a lot of gags that made me laugh. Shame it opened so poorly.


    • I know! Every release from Aardman Studios does less and less. Pity because this is my favorite one.


      • Rachel Wagner Smilingldsgirl Says:

        I guess at least they are super cheap to make and popular in England so won’t go away.
        I wonder if they should make a deal with a studio like they had with Dreamworks? That seemed to help them with marketing. I think people just dont know about it


      • Early Man is up next for the studio but it’s also in partnership with StudioCanal, the same as Shaun the Sheep.


  2. As an unapologetic lover of Aardman Studio’s animation, I really wish I had the money to go see this. I have to really pick and choose these days and it’s just not fair! 😉 Of course, I guess I can wait til it comes out on DVD or something. And if it really isn’t doing so well at the box office maybe that time will come quicker than I think.

    Great review


  3. I loved this movie. The mostly silent narrative really gave it an universal appeal.


  4. I thought this was great. I really enjoyed all the characters. Funny how we understand what is being said, by sounds and expressions. I loved that. This deserves to be a hit. 4 stars


  5. Full of warmth, laughs and a whole lot of wool! Good read! Cheers.


  6. Shaun the Sheep sounds delightful all around. The movie references alone and your description of the restaurant scene are enough for me. I’m in. Gonna see it before the year is out.


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