SHAUN THE SHEEP
By Shearing and snanking Gary Murray
Starring Shaun and a bunch of sheep
Written by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
Directed by Richard Goleszowski and Christopher Sadler
Running time 85 min
MPAA Rating PG
Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE
Shaun the Sheep is an Aardman Animation Studio idea that is finally hitting the big screen. For years, the company has been making seven minute award-winning shorts with the farm animals and the watchdog Bitzer. This time, the animators get a long form in which to practice their craft.
The story is The Great Escape to the big city. Shaun and the flock are bored at Mossy Bottom Farm by the routine of the life. Grazing and being sheared by the farmer week in and week out have driven Shaun and the others to the brink of madness. So they hatch a plan to put the farmer to sleep so they can frolic at their leisure.
Just as the seven co-conspirators get farmer in a trailer, the first unplanned event happens. The trailer gets off its mount and rolls to the city. Shaun and the other sheep have no other recourse than to go after Farmer. Now, the sheep get to have a giant adventure in the big city.
Shaun finds that Farmer has amnesia and has become a fashionable hair stylist. Also added to the mess, the sheep have caught the attention of Thumper, the local animal control officer. He wants to catch Shaun and the other sheep and will stop at nothing to bring them in. That and a staring dog await their fate.
Shaun the Sheep is just the kind of family entertainment Walt Disney would present during The Wonderful World of Disney Sundays. It is wholesome and genuinely funny, with characters we can relate to on a base level. There is not much character development because they are sheep. Yes, each has a personality, but they are not tortured souls questioning the esoteric aspects of nature.
The stop-motion animation or puppet animation is flawless. Sometimes when seven minute shots are opened –up, the animation team loses something in the translation. Here, the animation team directors Richard Goleszowski and Christopher Sadler have found a way to take the animals from the farm but still keep their adventure flowing. They work their magic in the longer form just as they have done in shorter works. This is another entry into the early Oscar race.
In a world where entertainment is measured in body bags, it is refreshing to tee a simple little film like Shaun the Sheep. It is not too long to task the littlest ones while it long enough to satisfy those who want an evenings entertainment
It is also to see a screenplay executed without any words. Any dialogue isgarbled much like they do in Peanuts movies. A child who speaks little or no English can follow along with this grand adventure into the big city.
Shaun the Sheep is a movie made for the kids who are getting their first backpack together for the first time. It is ridiculous and silly but at the same time thoroughly enjoyable for the parents in the audience. This is an animation adventure that should not be missed.