Movie Review - Shaun the Sheep Movie

Aardman Animation offers up this stop-motion feature and it's very much in the vein of their previous and most famous works, such as Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit. The titular character had his own series where the episodes were shorter than average. I haven't seen that series, but this feature feels like one of those episodes stretched out to 80 minutes, stretched out further than it should.

Written and directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, the story involves an unnamed farmer who mainly is a shepherd but he has other animals like pigs and bulls. However, the film focuses on the farmer's interactions with the sheep, building to the fact that he has to sheer them. A sequence of events makes the farmer leave the farm almost permanently and the action becomes the sheep's attempts to get the farmer back.

Unfortunately, there really isn't much more depth than that. Given that the film has no dialogue, it's probably not capable of much more depth. Yet, Sylvain Chomet's animated films don't have dialogue, or if characters do speak, one isn't meant to understand specific words or sentences. Tone of voice and body language are the keys.

With that somewhat same limitation, Chomet is able to convey more depth. Chomet is able to be more intricate, maybe because he utilizes line drawings. Aardman Animation utilizes stop-motion, which is even more restricting. Yet, the story is all just a thin construct for doing comical, chase scenes or bits of comedy that involve sheep in the city trying to hide from a glorified dog-catcher.

Some of these bits go on for too long and there are perhaps too many of them that feel repetitive as almost to be boring. It could be somewhat entertaining to some, but what reduces it for me is the sequence of events that makes the farmer leave the sheep. The farmer's departure is just silly and ultimately accidental. I would have preferred if the farmer's leaving were more of his own accord, where it's his choice and not a goofy coincidence.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated PG for rude humor.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 25 mins.


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