Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

shaunthesheepmovie_2015_poster
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
  • Time: 85 min
  • Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy
  • Directors: Mark Burton, Richard Starzack
  • Cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili

Storyline:

Shaun the sheep is tired of doing the same work at the farm everyday. He decides to take a day off. In order to do that, he needs to make sure the farmer doesn’t know. When more happens than they can handle, the sheep find their way in the big city. Now they need to get back to the farm.

2 reviews

  • (Rating: ☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is not recommended.

    In brief: A disappointing animated film that goes for too many “sheep” laughs.

    GRADE: C

    Shaun the Sheep was a huge disappointment for this animated film fan. Coming from Aardman Animations, the usually reliable film studio, the film still has an edginess and small doses of wry humor that one would expect, but the end result lacks charm and style.

    The filmmakers, Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, take a bold chance by making their film a total visual experience with nary a line of dialog to be heard. This decision does hamper some of the action a bit, but it is the crudeness and simplicity of the stop-action animation that stops one’s true enjoyment. The characters simply lack the refinement and details that other projects have shown in the past.

    The dull script, also from its filmmakers, follows a predictable course, one similarly used to better effect in Babe: Pig in the City: Farmer Brown’s animals grow tired of their farm-life and lead a revolt to take over the alpha role. In doing so, they accidentally send their master to the Big City and have to contend with the consequences. Their goal is to get him back and bring normalcy back to the farm. So it is off to the rescue they go.

    The film relies too heavily on sophomoric humor and silly slapstick and, in doing so, lose its cleverness and style along the way. Let’s hope the studio’s next venture has better animation and screenplay in tow.

    Shaun the Sheep isn’t “baa-d”, but it isn’t good either.

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  • Growing up, I used to watch a few episodes of the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ series. When Shaun the Sheep released theatrically, I became interested in seeing how the film adaptation would turn out.

    To start off, this film is not your typical animation film. By that, I mean that most animated films that utilize Claymation always stand out from the rest because they enter a new sphere of originality by breaking the norms and precedents set by other animated films. These Claymation films such as Caroline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and now Shaun the Sheep Movie are collectively artful in direction and unique in storytelling. Moving these clay characters and sets a tiny bit at a time for hours just to achieve minutes of screen-time must be a daunting and rewarding process. Well, for this film, it pays off.

    Although it’s animated, the sets and characters look absolutely breathtaking. In a way, the sets imitate a realistic replica of our own world. In addition, the motion of the characters and their shadows are implemented extremely well. As for the story, Shaun is a sheep living on a farmer’s ranch. The main issue that’s evident early in the story is that he lives a repetitive life. He wakes up, works, sleeps, then repeats. We can all associate this repetitive cycle of life whether it’s constantly waking up for work or school. Life is a series of cycles that repeat over and over again until we can find the means to break free from them. That’s exactly what Shaun does.

    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.

    As for the story, the shots flow nicely, moving the plot along at a great pace. The thing about this film is that you never feel bored at any part of the film because you never know what might occur next. When Shaun and his fellow sheep find themselves in the big city to search for their missing farmer, the story starts to reveal some of its key themes. Without their farmer, the sheep feel lost, longing for how things used to be before the farmer went missing. The film does an incredible job representing these themes of order and chaos, community, change, obedience, and temptation through the character’s actions.

    That’s the wonderful thing about this film, there’s virtually no dialogue throughout the whole film. However, for a film without dialogue, there’s a lot of story. The eradication of dialogue works wonders. It’s enchantingly peaceful to watch a film without having to hear any lines of dialogue coming from the characters. In a way, it sparks your imagination because you, in essence, become the writer of the story, seeing scenes the way you want them to be seen. It gives ambiguity to the plot, something not a lot of films can effectively do.

    One of my only issues was when I first saw a truck with “Animal Containment” written on it during one of the scenes. For some reason, every time there’s a film about animals living amongst humans, there’s always the villainous animal containment antagonist. This seems so overdone, but this film did a great job implementing it because it added an element of tension and a desire to not be seen by humans. Some of the funniest scenes occurred when these animals were camouflaging as humans. My only real issue with the film was a lyrical music montage that occurred. This montage took me away from the flow of the film because I was more focused on the lyrics of the music than the context of the movie which is never good.

    The film exhibits great cinematography especially for an animation. The directing is also marvelous because the direction utilizes great variations of depth of field, bouncing between shots both wide and close as well as incorporating esthetically pleasing bokeh effects. This film truly makes you look at animated films a lot more differently. It’s crafted to entertain you, whether you’re a child or a grown up. The visuals, the plot, and the immense amount of labor used to make this film truly pays off because Shaun the Sheep Movie is a distinct and memorable chapter of the Shaun the Sheep series.

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