MOVIE REVIEW: SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: MARK BURTON, RICHARD STARZACK / SCREENPLAY: MARK BURTON, RICHARD STARZACK / STARRING: JUSTIN FLETCHER, JOHN SPARKES, OMID DJALILI, RICHARD WEBBER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Based on the beloved, long running Shaun the Sheep TV show that has been delighting viewers on CBBC for several years, this expanded feature-length adventure sees the gang leaving the farm and heading off into the “Big City” where their beloved farmer has, due to an unfortunate caravan incident, suffered amnesia and has now ended up thinking he’s an upmarket barber. So, as the gang tries to track down the farmer, Trumper, a pest control expert, is hunting them down.
Innocence can be very hard to portray in cinema and can end up being sickly, saccharine sweetness, but Aardman are the people you can always rely on to get it right, and once again they’ve put their sweat, blood and tears into a film that has managed to put a delightful, childlike smile on our faces. What’s remarkable is that, even though the film owes a lot to silent cinema (baas, grunts and noises standing in for words), it has a really charming mark of quality to it, which has been present in everything that Aardman creates, and from the minute the film starts you instantly fall in love with it.
Like all of Aardman’s animations, there are proper, physical, thumbprints all over everything with wonderfully handcrafted tactility, and that’s all been achieved by people who understand and take it very seriously, more so than any animation company out there. The comedy slapstick is constant, vibrant, and has been wrought out after years and years of endeavour and attention to detail to get that humour precise. They perfectly understand comedy and timing, and like all of Aardman’s best works, it will probably take repeated viewings to get all the gags with the film including fleeting nods to Silence of the Lambs, Cape Fear and Monty Python.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll squeal in delight when, in one hugely memorable yet surreal sequence, the flock dresses up collectively as a pantomime horse, whose bottom Trumper’s head gets stuck inside. But most of all, you’ll end up wishing all animated features were like this, and you do feel the love that has put into this film by proper, hard-working filmmakers that have a great track-record in making this possible. In the end, Shaun the Sheep Movie oozes good nature and it will make anyone feel like they were six years old again.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10
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