SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE Review: Can You Say Funny Without Speaking?

Aardman Animation, the studio that gave audiences WALLACE & GROMIT, has once again created a clever piece of family entertainment for everyone to enjoy.  SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE, their latest claymation feature film, is not only an enjoyable movie filled with charming characters, but it’s also loaded with an array of smart visual gags, incredibly silly fish out of water style jokes and enough energy for both the young and old to enjoy.  Continue reading for more of our spoiler-free SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE review, and click here for even more images, trailers, and silliness from SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE.

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

‘Shaun’ (left), ‘The Farmer’ (center) and ‘Bitzer’ (right) in SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE © 2015 Lionsgate

Based on a popular British TV show, SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE starts off with an interesting montage that shows how the day-to-day life on Soggy Bottom Farm has become both repetitive and boring. Tired of this, the film’s hero Shaun, a sheep first introduced in the 1995 Wallace & Gromit short film A CLOSE SHAVE, comes up with a plan that involves tricking the farmer so that he and his fellow sheep can enjoy a small break from the humdrum.  Then, when his scheme accidentally backfires, it leaves the farmer trapped in the big city with amnesia and it’s up to Shaun and his flock to head out on an adventure to find and bring him home.

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

‘Shaun’ in SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE © 2015 Lionsgate

 

Taking a chance, writer/directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzak have fashioned a movie that requires no real dialogue.  All the characters talk in a kind of gibberish and the way that the filmmakers are able to convey the different aspects of story and characters without any decipherable dialogue is pretty amazing.  Relying on charm, smart visual imagery and clever screwball comedy routines, the film never misses a beat.

The filmmakers create the right balance of humor for both kids and adults alike.  The younger audience will be drawn in by the films fast pace and slapstick style humor, while the adults will appreciate the many references to pop culture including everything from the Beatles to Martin Scorsese’s remake of CAPE FEAR.  My personal favorite is a subtle homage to MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

‘Shaun’ in SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE © 2015 Lionsgate

 

The stop motion animation is first-rate and used effectively to both tell the story and create great characters.  Whether it’s Shaun and his desperate need to navigate through the city and bring the farmer home, or the farmer himself as he deals with his memory loss and new-found fame as a celebrity barber (Yes, he uses his sheep shearing skills to cut people’s hair), all the characters are given a charm that is so easy to fall in love with.  But, it’s the city’s local animal wrangler that stands out.  The off the wall attitude that Burton, Starzak and their team of animators achieve with this character, as he struggles with his need to capture the film’s hero, is nothing short of hilarious.  The climactic confrontation is as entertaining as anything else we’re going to get this year in a family film.

The smaller side characters are a real treat as well.  There is an ugly dog with bad teeth that tags along for the fun, as well as a group of pigs that take over the farmhouse while everyone else is away.  The movie is packed with imaginary characters who are all given their own moments in the spotlight to keep the audience continuously smiling.

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

‘Shaun’ (left), ‘Slip’ (center) and ‘Bitzer’ (right) in SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE © 2015 Lionsgate

 

From start to finish, SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE is a smart and enjoyable piece of entertainment.  It is a charming little movie that proves that filmmakers can make quality family films without the need to dumb everything down.  If you’re looking for a movie that everyone in the family will enjoy, look no further than SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE.

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About Mark Oguschewitz

Mark Oguschewitz moved to Los Angeles, California after graduating with a film degree from Columbia College in Chicago, Ill. Pursuing a career in the industry, Mark became an award winning freelance editor. He is also known for being the creative consultant for the podcast "Skywalking through Neverland" and co-host of the Podcast "Talking Apes TV." Mark's short film "Gourmet" took the Best Micro-Short honor at the International Horror and Sci-Fi film festival in 2007. His spare time is all about movies. It's not just entertainment, but has become more of a real passion, as he tries to see everything he can. Art house or Blockbuster – It doesn't matter, he loves them all.