If you don't have young kids, or aren't familiar with Aardman Animations, you may not know that Shaun the Sheep is the breakout star of Oscar-winning animated short Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave.
Since 2007, this clever, confident and mischievous sheep has been entertaining littlies with madcap escapades on television, and now he's hit the big screen in this first-time venture between Studiocanal and Aardman Animations.
Shaun the Sheep Movie is filled with the usual Aardman stop-motion magic; animals with human emotions, plenty of sight gags and cultural references, and British wit that appeals to young kids and adults.
The film starts with a funny montage capturing the monotony of daily life at Mossy Bottom Farm. Keen for a day off, Shaun orchestrates an elaborate plan to get their rather dim farmer to go back to sleep, allowing the flock to put their feet up in the farm house for a change. However, after a runaway caravan catastrophe, Farmer wakes up in The Big City with amnesia, while the Farm falls into chaos. Shaun must come up with a rescue plan to bring Farmer back home.
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Shaun leading the flock on an adventure that goes horribly wrong and must be put right is the premise of most Shaun the Sheep television episodes, but it's the little moments along the way that make it memorable. Clever music choices, film references, sight gags, and hilarious expressions mean it's easy to be charmed by a film without dialogue.
The animation is of the high quality you expect from Aardman, though it doesn't reach the heights of the Wallace and Gromit films or Chicken Run. This may be because Shaun the Sheep has simpler characters aimed at younger kids - I doubt you'll hear them, or their parents, complaining.
Watch: Trailer for Shaun the Sheep movie
Voices: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes
Director: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
Running Time: 85 mins
Verdict: Another delightful, witty animation from Aardman