Believe it or not the next animated film of 2015 is here, Aardman Animation’s delightful Shaun the Sheep. Based on the BBC series of the same name (which I had not seen till today) it is a spin off of the popular Wallace and Gromit movie and series created by Nick Park and team. However, most of Wallace and Gromit’s humor is based on the PG Wodehouse type dialogue where Shaun the Sheep has literally no dialogue at all so they are quite different films.
The better comparison for Shaun the Sheep is the recent Minions. Both movies are about adorable creatures who can’t speak English and go on an adventure. In my opinion Shaun the Sheep is the much better of the two.
I went with a friend and her two kids. They seemed a little tired so that may have been part of it but they weren’t super into it. I think I laughed much more than they did so make of that what you will. That said, I think this is a funny movie for the whole family without any of that wink-wink humor Minions had in droves. There is a little bit of potty humor but not much. Mostly it is just funny sight gags and slapstick.
The plot is pretty simple (also an improvement from the convoluted plot of Minions). Basically Shaun and his buddies decide they want a break from the farm so they put the Farmer to sleep and attempt to make their escape. Unfortunately the Farmer ends up in the Big City and loses his memory. They must go after him and help him remember who he is.
There is a nice relationship between the Farmer and the sheep I liked. As crazy as it sounds it felt genuine. The sheep seem genuinely worried about their owner.
There is a ‘Animal Containment Specialist’ named Trumper who is the villain of the film. He is kind of like a Home Alone style villain who gets fixated on catching the sheep to his own funny detriment. (A little like the Farmers Wife in Chicken Run).
Shaun the Sheep is a brisk 85 minutes and despite having no dialogue aside from grunting and ba,ba,ba, I was engaged. It’s pretty funny the humans all talk like the Swedish Chef in the Muppets but it works because we get just enough of it.
I don’t know if Shaun the Sheep is quite as memorable as Chicken Run or Wallace and Gromit but I suppose that is a tall order. Is it one we will be talking about in 15 years like we do Chicken Run (can you believe it is that old!)? Probably not but I enjoyed it. And like I said compared to Minions it is so much cleaner, smarter and enjoyable.
I also like the design of the sheep. They are so cute but they also talk out of the side of their mouth in a funny way. Stop motion animation is so amazing to watch. It always blows me away.
Overall Grade- B+
Here is my youtube review.