Shaun the Sheep: Movie brings the beloved stop motion animation sheep Shaun to his full length picture and it does it in style.
Having not watched the many episodes of Shaun the Sheep before, I was a little bit apprahensive putting the movie on for the family, concerned that we may be missing some information in Shaun’s story. Fortunately with no dialogue it takes seconds to understand the farm and the relationships between the main characters.
Shaun is the lead sheep in a flock on the farmers land. Wanting to go on vacation after seeing a sign on a bus, Shaun hatches a plan to put the farmer to sleep so they can trap him in his caravan. Unfortunately after the caravan loses its “handbrake” (a.k.a. the block of wood in front of the tyres breaks) and goes missing. At first Shaun and the rest of the farm animals live life like you could only imagine children would, getting up to mischief and into places they should not go, before soon realising when they get a bit peckish that the farmer has his purposes. So following the caravan they find themselves in the nearby city looking for the farmer, who due to an accident the runaway caravan got in, has lost his memory. To add to the chaos Shaun and his flock find themselves having to evade Trumper, an Animal Containment Officer who captures any stray animals in the city.
The movie itself is great, the animation style filled me with nostalgia from watching Wallace and Gromit when I was younger and the humour is perfect for a spin off from the old show. With no dialogue the movie relies on physical humour, which it fills with clever puns, cute situations and a dash of slapstick. The story is fun, though the premise is not anything we have not seen in many other kids’ films, but at its heart the film is a kids film with just enough adult humour to satisfy the older viewers in the family.
It really is nice to wander down memory lane with older films styles in use, and stop motion animation has not lost its charm. The animation looks absolutely fantastic and they can convey just enough emotion through the character figures to pull on the heart strings now and then.
Blu-ray extras wise it has a small helping of features: Meet the Characters, Join Shaun behind the scenes, Meet the crew and the lengthiest of them at 12 minutes, making the Shaun Movie. Throughout them you see little snippets of what went on behind the scenes but after watching the movie I found myself wanting to know a lot more about how exactly the got the stop motion to look that good and was a little disappointed there. Having said that, I am not sure I am quite in their target demographic.
All in all Shaun the Sheep: Movie is the perfect solution to an innocent movie that the whole family can watch, in the same way Wallace and Gromit’s early films were for my childhood. It has a solid plot, plenty of humour that should appeal to most ages (except maybe the trickiest of teens) and not a borderline offensive thing in the movie.
8.9/10 – The animation is charming, the characters are endearing, the humour is mostly on point, and the whole thing is completely innocent. It would be hard to find a better film to sit down with the youngest of families on a Sunday evening.
NZ Rating: G
Runtime: 85 Mins