Coming from Aardman, Shaun the Sheep Movie is their newest 2015 animated comedy and is not only a triumphant return to form but also one of the finest ever for the studio.
I absolutely loved this movie. Everything in it is so enchanting and endearing that it is impossible not to get infatuated by it. First I have to talk about the approach, action and humor. It is so wonderfully old-fashioned in the greatest way possible that I don’t think anyone would fail to fall in love with it. The humor brings to mind the classic silent comedy movies from the twenties which is a beautiful, nice touch. It not only is influenced by it, but it also incorporates it successfully with simply superb slapstick humor from start to finish. There are countless little sequences and moments that got me laugh which means the movie succeeds as a comedy perfectly. I also loved the action and although it can get too frenetic at times, it is executed superbly and is very entertaining.
The plot is very simple, but it suits the material perfectly. The first act introduces you to the characters as it should and the third act, although it got too action-oriented and the villain was typical in the end, it is nevertheless a great conclusion with many heartwarming and simply touching moments from each and every character. And of course the second act is the finest with all the terrific humor and action. I also found the relationship between the farmer and the sheep as the film’s greatest strength and it brings the emotional intensity the most.
As for animation, what is there else to say than that it’s simply amazing. This is one of the best recent instances of how powerful stop-motion animation can truly be. Everything about the technical prowess exhibited here makes me say that this Aardman movie is probably one of the finest animated stop-motion films of all time. The attention to detail is great, the color is excellent, the movements are polished and the character design is simply extraordinary with a lot of strong choices made. All of the animals as well as humans are beautifully brought to life and the hair from both is also spectacular.
There are many great scenes here with the ending being the most endearing and the restaurant sequence probably the most memorable and hilarious. I also like how it incorporated many themes of rural vs. city life, relationship between man and animal as well as animal shelter which was explored the best. The characters are also very likable across the board with Shaun, farmer and dog being the most sympathetic. The relationship between sheep and dog is one of the highlights here as it is so cute and warm.
I have to mention what is probably the biggest strength Shaun the Sheep has which is certainly the fact that the entire picture is done with literally no spoken dialogue whatsoever. There are sound effects and music, but the characters do not speak and that choice benefits this experiment the most as it is fitting not only to its style but also because it then reminisces 1920s silent comedies. It was original and incredibly brave from the filmmakers to do that and it paid off as its execution is flawless.
Speaking of sound effects, they are awesome, bringing a lot of humor in the process. But the soundtrack is what propels it to an almost instant classic status level. The theme is so memorable and catchy and all of the score from beginning to end is beautiful and fits the movie perfectly. The editing is also top-notch as is the directing and tone. Everything here is memorable, very authentic and off-beat, clever and simply hilarious throughout the whole running time.
Speaking of flaws, there aren’t much but as I said the action can get pretty overwhelming and frustrating at times. I really wanted some more warm character moments and calm sequences instead. Also the villain is very typical in his behavior and execution whereas the chase sequence with him near the end ruined the third act for me because it went on for so long. However, those are minor flaws in an otherwise outstanding film. Comparing it to other Aardman films, it is one of their very best and definitely their best since Wallace and Gromit, that’s for sure. I have a hunch it will go down in history as one of the finest stop-motion films of all time. It truly is special.
Having spectacular animation with superb character design and great detail, beautiful score, likable characters, strong action and simply hilarious, incredibly good humor reminiscent of 1920s silent films, Shaun the Sheep Movie may have too much frenetic action which is especially present near the end, but it is not only clever and funny, but also extremely charming and endearing, brave and off-beat and it is one of the very best Aardman movies and certainly their best since “Wallace and Gromit”.