Shaun The Sheep: The Movie: Film Review
Vocal cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili
Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
If there's anywhere that a movie about sheep is likely to succeed, it's here in good ole New Zealand.
The latest from Aardman Animations sees the titular Shaun The Sheep garnering his five minutes of big screen fame to produce a warmly comic and family outing that's nothing less than shear fun (if a little wooly in places), and which recalls in parts Chicken Run.
Expanded out from the 7 minute shorts that have been so successful on TV, the movie sees Shaun determined to break out from his normal routine down on the farm with Bitzer the dog and the Farmer.
But when Shaun's attempts to get a day off go awry and the farmer ends up in the big city with amnesia, the group flocks to try and find their owner and restore the balance down the farm.
However, standing in their way is the unfamiliarity with the city life and an animal control inspector determined to lock Shaun and his pals up.
Shaun The Sheep: The Movie is a blast, a sign that innocence and simplicity can triumph over any kind of cinematic cynicism.
Packing in some truly brilliant sight gags that appeal universally is no mean feat, but as Aardman's shown in the past with Wallace and Gromit et al, their MO is clearly aimed at the original and amusing, with this latest outing raising the baa quite considerably while never forgetting the heart.
Essentially, this is a silent movie, with no dialogue other than grunts and a few bleats here and there; but make no mistake, this silence of the lambs speaks louder than any of its ilk, thanks to an understanding of classic silent films, slapstick humour and just a great self-awareness over the British way of life.
Highlights include a baa-bershop quartet, various gags involving the ongoing divide between town and country, a great trick to get everyone to fall asleep (involving counting sheep), mocking celebrity stylings and a Hannibal Lecter gag.
Shaun The Sheep: The Movie has just an insistence on ensuring everyone has a good time, with heart and humour well placed throughout. Aardman's excelled themselves again with the love pouring from every frame and with every single expression saying more than a thousand words ever could.
Laced with charm and charisma, worries that Shaun skews young and with a smaller scale are misplaced; this family movie hits all the highs and never outstays its 85 minute duration. It's a bright, breezy breath of uncomplicated cinematic fresh air.
When it comes to Shaun The Sheep: The Movie, ewe'd be utterly baa-rmy to miss it.