Shaun the Sheep Movie (Mark Burton & Richard Starzak, 2015)
Following the success of the Wallace & Gromit franchise, Aardman Animations have further impressed young audiences with feature films Chicken Run, Flushed Away, and The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Debuting in 2007, their TV series Shaun the Sheep is still going strong. Consisting of short, seven minute episodes, Shaun the Sheep has no dialogue, instead relying on animal noises and the odd grunt from the human characters. In the new Shaun the Sheep Movie, the action shifts to London after the farmer’s caravan goes amiss. You’d be forgiven for expecting the 85 minute feature film set in one of the busiest cities in the world to have a little more dialogue, however, it follows suit.
This may seem like the appropriate time for adults to groan with displeasure at the thought of sitting through a whole film with little by way of a script. But surprisingly, Shaun the Sheep Movie has something for all ages. It is certainly simple enough for young kids to follow, but it also throws in a fair few special touches for the adults to appreciate. The banter (i.e. grunts) between a couple of doctors is a particular highlight. The action mostly speaks for itself, and the humour is all in the animation.
The time commitment needed to create a successful clay animation means London is a tad sparser than we’re used to seeing. However, the effort put into the different set pieces is evident – from an op shop, to posh French restaurant ‘Le Chou Brulé’ (The Burnt Cabbage) to a boutique hairdresser. The film does an excellent job at capturing the London vibe. The scenes at the farm don’t quite have the same oomph, but the cheeky animals are enough to entertain. Sheep don’t seem like the most thrilling animals to centre a film around, but there’s something refreshing about their simplicity. The star of the film may just baa, but he also saves the day, all the while cracking us up in the process.