Shaun the sheep is in a rut. Every day Shaun and his sheep buddies get up a little after dawn, they get counted and herded by the Farmer and his loyal dog, eat some grass, and go back in the barn at sundown for the night. Day in and day out it never changes, except for the day every few months when the Farmer shears Shaun and the other sheep – none of whom care for it one bit. So after seeing a sign on the side of a truck advertising vacations, Shaun comes up with the idea to take the day off and have some fun in the stop-motion animated family-friendly film, Shaun the Sheep Movie.
Shaun comes up with a plan to trick the unsuspecting farmer into counting all the sheep over and over again until he falls asleep after Shaun and his sheep friends have already had a partner in crime lure away the farmer’s loyal dog by chasing a bone he’ll never actually catch. At first Shaun’s plan seems to be working, but an accident with the sleeping farmer, a very large hill, and traffic, all cause Shaun, the dog, and the rest of the sheep to head to the big city to find the Farmer and bring him back home. This won’t easy because in the big city Shaun and his pals accidentally encounter and have to stay one step ahead of animal containment who it seems is determined to put them all behind bars…kennel bars, that is.
Brought to the big screen by the creators of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a cute, silly, and terrific-looking stop-motion film that has enough sight gags and pop culture references to entertain the adults in the audience. Unfortunately it lacks the energy, goofiness, and slapstick to entertain and hold the attention of the young children in the theater … as was this film critic’s experience. The film looks fantastic with the use of brilliant colors and the woolly sheep so fluffy and white. The story is simple, with Shaun’s day off turning into the most dangerous and exhausting time for Shaun, his buddies, and the Farmer’s poor loyal dog, and even the younger audiences will be able to follow along with the plot.
Writer/directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzak chose to make the film completely free of dialogue. That’s right; no one talks, not even the human characters. This gives the film a certain nuance at first but after the first 40 minutes, this approach begins to get old and eventually begins to detract from telling the story.
Although Shaun the Sheep Movie is a visual delight and has a very simple, easy to follow story with adorable characters, it seems to run out of the steam needed to hold and entertain its core audience: kids.
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor
Running Time: 85 minutes
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