Shaun the Sheep Movie, 2015
Written and directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
Featuring the voice talents of Justin Fletcher, John Sparks and Omid Djalili
When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home.
There are several words that can best describe Shaun the Sheep Movie, but “wonderfully British” seems to sum the whole thing up perfectly. As it has been proven time and time again, you cannot go wrong with Aardman – and Shaun the Sheep Movie, the first big screen outing for the CBBC woolly hero, is further proof of that. Charming, hilarious and rich with joyful glee, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a bloody marvellous family adventure.
Like any good movie version of a British TV show, be it The Inbetweeners, Kevin and Perry or even On the Buses, the best formula to follow is to take your established characters out of their comfort zone and put them in new surroundings so that hilarity can ensue. But rather than take them abroad, directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzack have moved the sheep into the big city, which leads to some superb set pieces that are wonderfully simple in their concept and perfectly played in their execution. Virtually every idea works and even though the movie never feels wholly original, it always feels fresh and fun.
What sets this apart from other Aardman Animation movies like Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run or Flushed Away is that Shaun the Sheep Movie features no dialogue whatsoever. The sheep obviously don’t talk (they are sheep after all) and the humans instead communicate as if they were adults in Charlie Brown. This allows for the movie to take a very slapstick approach to its humour as well as be creative with how it tells its story. And its a credit to all of the animators involved as well as Burton and Starzack that you always know exactly what is going on and exactly what each character is thinking. They nail every aspect needed to create a brilliant cinematic experience that will truly please everyone who sees it.
Furthermore, unlike some other big budget animated features, Shaun the Sheep Movie doesn’t have jokes for adults and jokes for kids and instead presents jokes for everyone, making it a near-perfect family movie. And Shaun is such a wonderful screen presence that you will find yourself truly invested in his adventure as well as boo the brilliantly crafted animal control villain (grunted by Omid Djalili). Its simplicity is the key to Shaun the Sheep Movie‘s success.
Though not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination (it’s not a patch on Curse of the Were-Rabbit or Chicken Run), Shaun the Sheep Movie is a delightful affair that will please every single member of the family. It’s not the best animated feature of 2015 (that will likely belong to Big Hero 6), but there is so much joy and fun to be found in Shaun the Sheep Movie that it doesn’t really matter. Hilarious, heart-warming and utterly charming, Shaun the Sheep Movie is baa-rilliant.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.
Check out our podcast interview with Shaun the Sheep Movie directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzack using the player below: