Review: Shaun the Sheep Movie
By John Corrado
★★★½ (out of 4)
Expanding the action to feature length, and playing out on a much larger scale than the show, this spry animated film is filled with delights throughout its 85 minute running time, an all ages treat lovingly brought to life through painstaking claymation.
Looking for a day off from the monotony of their farmyard existence, the impossibly clever Shaun and his fellow flock of sheep hatch a scheme to evade their farmer. But when a series of mishaps cause the farmer to end up lost in the big city, the sheep and trusty dog Bitzer head off to find him, while having to evade an evil animal containment officer.
Although there isn’t much to discuss in terms of plot, to reveal any more of the happenings would spoil some of the many fun surprises that Shaun the Sheep Movie manages to have in store. The film moves quickly from one set piece to the next, keeping us engaged with the frequently hilarious and often adorable antics of the characters, continuously building upon itself. A sequence where the sheep find themselves at a fancy restaurant is one of the funniest that the film has to offer, contrasted nicely by the later scenes in an abandoned alley, which are allowed to feel genuinely heartfelt.
Entirely free of conventional dialogue, instead playing with just sound effects and some really great musical cues, Shaun the Sheep Movie harkens back to classics from the silent era, often channelling the work of greats like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, with healthy undertones of Mr. Bean. Packed with great visual gags and clever puns, many being of the blink and you’ll miss them variety, the film provides great entertainment for both kids and adults, almost begging for repeated viewings. The multiple running gags are handled with aplomb.
A work of gleeful invention that often reaches inspired levels of madcap brilliance, Shaun the Sheep Movie is right up there with previous stop motion classics like Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, another triumph from Aardman that will surely delight those of all ages. The intricately designed sets are all impressive to behold, with a handcrafted feel that allows this to play like a true labour of love. And stick around through the end credits for one of the funniest stingers in recent memory.