Starring: Omid Djalili, Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes
Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
Running Time: 85 mins
Shaun The Sheep Movie is a British film, based on the TV series, about a flock of sheep that have to rescue their farmer from the big city after an attempted day of relaxation from the humdrum of their own farm goes awry.
Surprisingly, for a film based on a Cbeebies show, this is a lot of fun! If you’re not into the show before going into this, it will take about half an hour to get into the whole concept, because this is slightly different from the Aardman classics of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run.
Now, the main thing to say about this film is that it has absolutely no dialogue – it’s just mumbles and weird animal sound effects, and, having never seen this before, it was a really odd and awkward watch for me for the first forty minutes or so, because everything felt far too simplified and child-oriented, making it harder to get into the comedy within.
However, the simplicity of the whole thing develops a certain charm after a while, and it works as a relaxing and easy-going bit of entertainment, rather than the expectedly irritating kids’ show vibe.
What’s more is that there’s a huge improvement in the quality of the comedy in the latter stages of the film. Whilst the opening stages are perfectly delightful for little kids who want to see their favourite characters doing all sorts of slapstick, as the film goes on, more and more intelligent jokes are thrown in to let adults enjoy as well, and by the end, it’s a riotously entertaining watch for all. (It’s similar to Paddington; if you liked that, you’ll love this too!)
The story is the other part of this film that takes a bit of getting used to. Like the comedy and the overall concept, it’s really simplistic and clichéd at the beginning to get the kids involved, but once again, as the film goes on, the story gets properly interesting and exciting, with good action and some occasional emotional heft thrown in there to make it a little more intriguing for the adults, but it still never goes overboard and too far for the kids.
Finally, the stop-motion animation here is as stunning as always from Aardman. The demonstration of the animators’ skills are shown to the full here with stunning landscapes from the dazzling countryside to the gritty city centre, whilst the animation of the main characters is more fluid than ever, and an amazing advance from the days of A Grand Day Out.
Overall, this gets a 7.5, because despite being initially slow-starting and tough to get into due to its simplicity, this film turns into a massively enjoyable and funny watch for all; it knows it’s a silly kids’ film and it keeps up that atmosphere, but it also throws in the odd extra bit for the adults to enjoy.