When Aardman Animations sends out a movie, attention must be paid. For me, their Wallace and Gromit franchise is the Holy Grail of stop-motion Claymation. Shaun the Sheep Movie isn’t quite in that advanced class. But hold the bleating, the movie is a world-class winner.
Grownups will enjoy every delicious irony and twisted sight gag that floats over kids’ heads. If the brats don’t get the shout-outs to The Night of the Hunter, The Silence of the Lambs and Scorsese’s Cape Fear, let them suck on it. Shaun makes the trip from a short-form British TV series to big screen feature in high style. And since the animals and humans speak in an indecipherable gibberish unmatched since Stallone’s last epic, the emphasis is on the visuals. Writer-directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzak have come up with some doozies. Who knew that pigs could throw a Kardashian-worthy shindig?
The action begins on Mossy Bottom Farm, where Shaun (voiced by Justin Flatcher) and his flock cook up mischief for the Farmer (John Sparkes) and his sheepdog Bitzer (also Sparkes). Soon the flock is off to the Big City, and dressing as humans to eat in a fancy restaurant. The Farmer? After a concussion results in amnesia, he uses shears to cut human hair and becomes a celebrity stylist. As for Shaun, first introduced in 1995 Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short A Close Shave, he never wears out his welcome. So what if the movie is draggy in spots and the soundtrack, featuring Eliza Doolittle and Rizzle Kicks, is too hip for this old school. Shaun is a true party animal.