Thursday, August 6, 2015

Movie Review #292: "Shaun the Sheep Movie" (2015)

Movie"Shaun the Sheep Movie"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Mark Burton & Richard Starzak
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Image Source
Wanting to take a day off from the daily routine at the farm, Shaun and the other sheep concoct a plan to keep the farmer out of the way for a day while they relax. But when their scheme lands the farmer in a big city hospital with amnesia, Shaun and the sheep set out for the big city to bring him home. Once arriving in the city, they find it's not the safest place for stray animals as they are constantly pursued by an animal containment officer who wants to put Shaun and his pals in the pound. 

BigJ and I have always had a certain fondness for stop-motion animation films because of the tremendous amount of work and painstaking effort that goes into making them. "Shaun the Sheep" is from the same studio and done in the same style as "Wallace and Gromit," which we absolutely love. We have never seen any of the Shaun the Sheep shorts, so we didn't know quite what to expect, especially considering the film has already been out in the UK for quite some time. Unlike Wallace and Gromit, which has some dry, witty dialogue, "Shaun the Sheep Movie" has no dialogue at all, none whatsoever, and this is not an exaggeration. The entire movie is purely visual as there is no talking from any of the characters. Not even the human characters speak as they seem to only communicate through body language and a series of grunts and other indistinct sounds. The comedy here is all slapstick and visual cultural references, including homages to classic movies like "The Silence of the Lambs," and nods to popular characters like X-Men's Wolverine. These references are most certainly for the adults in the audience, but even the kids in our theater seemed to love them (though they might not know exactly what they are really laughing at...I mean, what parents has told their 6 year old about Hannibal Lecter??). That being said, this movie is quite cute. In fact, it's downright adorable, especially the titular Shaun and the little baby sheep in their flock. The way they are sculpted is almost like a Disney character, with huge, bulging eyes and big, gigantic masses of hair. The pure sense of joy you see on screen will leave a smile on your face throughout its run time, as well as some nice little chuckles spattered throughout. It also still manages to convey its narrative well, even without any context verbally. It's simple and easy to follow, so kids will enjoy it, especially for the occasional fart joke, which I will admit, I laughed at within the context of this film. What? We never said we were all that adult. As we mentioned, there were a few kids in the showing we attended and they seemed to laugh out loud many, many times, so that's a good sign! Parents won't completely hate being dragged to this movie, and it speaks volumes that the person laughing the loudest in our screening was the adult parent of one of the kids right behind us. She laughed at everything! Unfortunately, the film is not without its flaws. We could definitely see some people turned off by the way this story is told. Stylistically, it is very different because of the lack of dialogue. This often works well in the short film format, but it can become tedious after 85 minutes. We would like to think moviegoers might be a bit more forgiving of something so different, and for us, it worked very well. Overall, we found "Shaun the Sheep Movie" to be well paced, highly enjoyable, and completely entertaining with a good soundtrack and some excellent references for the adultfolk. Hollywood, please make more stop-motion films, we love them!!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~99%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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