Aardman are a powerhouse of animation and story-telling and Shaun is another success
Shaun the Sheep is an Aardman Animation spin-off from their ever popular Wallace and Gromit franchise and was made in short episodes for children’s TV. However, just like Wallace who graduated to the big screen in Curse of the Wererabbit, Shaun has now made that same leap. And just like Wallace whose film was a natural extension of the shorts, based on a simple premise that proved extremely successful, so too has Shaun followed the same path. The Shaun the Sheep Movie is just that, a natural extension of the TV series based on a simple premise that stays faithful to its origins and never tries to be anything other than entertaining. The resulting big screen adventure is simply enchanting.
Anyone who has seen the TV animations will have an idea on what to expect from this movie – the animation is top notch, the writing is above par and the story is extremely funny and very entertaining. The plot is extremely simple, and could have been from the TV show: Shaun, fed up of the daily routine tricks the farmer into sleeping so he can have a day off, but when the farmer ends up, by a series of mishaps, in the big city with no memory, it’s up to Shaun and the rest of the sheep to rescue him and return safely to the farm. What could be simpler? Well, the introduction of Trumper the unscrupulous animal collector who tries to stop them at every turn complicates matters, but Shaun’s ingenuity sees them through!
For a film with no dialogue, that relies on simple noises and a terrific score, what may surprise is the amount of emotion that these simple stop motion puppets can exude. The drive of the story becomes a heart-wrenching struggle for the sheep as they are thwarted at nearly every turn by situations of their own making, or the machinations of Trumper. The jokes come thick and fast, most of them in a one-gag style, some of them using slap-stick and others aimed at adults making this an extremely enjoyable film on many levels.
Children will get a huge amount out of the film, seeing their favourite character get into all sorts of mischief in the big city. Whereas adults will enjoy it just as much for the emotional story - be careful what you wish for, and there’s no place like home. The emotional core of Shaun’s dependence on the Farmer really pulls on the heartstrings; the climactic scene in the shed when the Farmer's memory is still unclear cannot fail to bring a lump into your throat. And when Shaun thinks all is lost and those animated eyes well up – you’ll need a heart of stone not to do the same.
With top notch animation, a witty and sharp script full to the brim with gags holding an emotional core of love and dependence, this film is truly a winner. Aardman have proven time and again they are a powerhouse in terms of animation and story-telling and Shaun the Sheep Movie is just another in their long line of successes.
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