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Dan's Review: "Shaun The Sheep Movie" a pure joy for the entire herd

Aug 05, 2015 02:38AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Shaun The Sheep Movie - © 2014 - Aardman/StudioCanal

Shaun The Sheep Movie (Studio Canal/Aardman Animation)

Rated PG for rude humor.

Starring (voices of) Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili, Kate Harbour, Richard Webber, Tim Hands, Simon Greenall, Emma Tate, Henry Burton, Dhimant Vyas, Sophie Laughton, Nia Medi James, Andy Nyman, Jack Paulson, Nick Park.

Written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

In an age where major feature films are mass produced using computer animation, I always carry a soft spot in my heart for animators who eschew such technological delights in favor of more “low tech” methods involving stop-motion animation of synthetic figures. In the case of Aardman Animation Studios, those figures are mostly made of clay. The creators of Wallace and Gromit are back at it with Shaun The Sheep Movie, a delightful cartoon treat.

Shaun’s story begins with a happy existence in the country, in care of “the Farmer.” Over the years, Shaun begins to tire of the farm life routine, and plots an escape to the big city. His plan doesn’t go off as planned as the Farmer is mistakenly transported to the metropolis and gets amnesia after a bump on the head. After a short stay in the hospital, the Farmer wanders off, and through a strange series of events becomes a famous hairdresser by using his innate sheep-shearing prowess. Meanwhile Shaun, the farmer’s dog and the rest of the sheep herd must use all their moxie to find their caretaker and help him get his memory back – while being pursued by a unscrupulous animal control officer with a mean streak.

Shaun The Sheep Movie is a pure delight; a sweet tale that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. The Aardman team hasn’t lost its touch in delivering yet another unique and heartwarming film that obviously took a lot of time and effort.

Some may be put off by the absence of any dialogue in the movie, as all the characters (including humans and animals) communicate with series gestures, grunts and bleats. I think the absence of words helps the audience focus on the story and characters, without resorting to clever syntax or silly jokes. In fact, ALL the jokes are visual in Shaun The Sheep, which allows the story to breathe a little more than a wordy script would.

Shaun The Sheep gets even more credit when you realize that every frame of the film was shot one at a time, taking several months. That kind of devotion to an art form isn’t all that common. Aardman and the folks at Laika Studios (Coraline, ParaNorman, The Box Trolls) appear to be the keepers of the stop-motion flame, while proving that you don’t need fancy computers to create great animated films.

 

Shaun The Sheep Movie Trailer

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