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Shaun the Sheep Movie

It’s a wonderful animated family film that deserves so much more attention. Dumped into this past August’s summer release schedule, “Shaun the Sheep Movie” did modest box office numbers here in the States (performance was much stronger overseas). But if you’ll allow me to paint the picture of my cozy family room, a crackling fireplace, my wife and two grade school age boys snuggled up on the sofa…it was really the perfect family movie night. Everyone giggled in appreciation at the various hilarious setups. There’s barely a word of dialogue in the film, which only adds to its charm. It’s full of grunts and groans and snorts and “Baaaa”‘s though. But the sight gags are the stars.

Shaun is a sheep living at Mossy Bottom Farm, and he’s becoming bored with the day-to-day routine. Happy overall, he still longs for a day off, and concocts a way to trick his Farmer into falling back to sleep…wait for it–by counting SHEEP! But when the scheme goes awry, and Farmer gets bonked on the head (causing amnesia), Shaun and the other farm animals have to retrieve the Farmer from the big city–and try to jog his memory. This mission is made more difficult when the Farmer utilizes his sheep shearing skills, to begin a career as a top hair stylist! What will Shaun and the other livestock do, to get the Farmer back?

“Shaun the Sheep Movie” is a stop-motion animation product from the famed Aardman Studios, that brought us the excellent “Chicken Run” and “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”. This one was directed and written by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, and the men have put together a delightful, 85-minute gem. Oh, maybe there’s a fart joke, or two, too many. And possibly some of the setups are a bit obvious. Quibbles, though, just quibbles. There’s infectious music, clever jokes, and quite a few out-and-out howlers in this movie. It’s a brisk, refreshing venture, that sports high entertainment value. It doesn’t have the depth of probable Oscar winner “Inside Out”, but it’s also more substantial than the billion-dollar grossing “Minions”. A lot of fun.

Grade:  B+


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