To the city. So this is about a farmer and his rascal group of animals. When the sheep decide to have a little fun, it ends up in a huge ordeal, with the farmer in a runaway caravan crashing into the big city, resulting in memory loss. How are these mischievous sheep going to fix this? Claymation is an art form that doesn’t see a lot of use nowadays; there’s The Boxtrolls and Paranorman, but these movies come few and far between, which has to be due to how much effort it is to actually craft it. Shaun the Sheep is from the team behind Wallace & Gromit, and while this does have its merit as a standalone film, this really made me want to go back and rewatch those classic shorts from yesteryear.
If you go to any movie website, you will find the quote section for this film to be completely empty. This is directly because of the most remarkable feature about this: it is 100% intelligible dialogue free, taking a page from the communicative abilities of the Minions in Despicable Me. With the exception of some featured songs, there is not a single line of understandable English words, and everybody communicates through mumbling and noises. Even the humans grunt at each other. This helps the film in a couple of ways: 1. It makes it more believable that these animals of different species can effectively communicate with each other, and 2. It forces the animators to be more creative in relaying important bits of plot development to the audience.
I do really like this team a lot, and they came to the table armed with some creative ideas. The gags are cute, and you can clearly tell they were inspired and never planned to just regurgitate their works from the past. It’s also very short, and it never at any point risks overstaying its welcome. The only thing I will really say as a point against this is the other side of the double edged sword of the fact that there is no dialogue: other than the visual jokes and the art of the animation itself, it really doesn’t give you all that much to chew on. I don’t think I’m going to get a ton of mileage out of this, as the Wallace & Gromit shorts/movie have so much more value in the rewatchability department, but for what they did here, it’s something that you can watch and have a good time with.
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) ***1/2
– Critic for Hire