When I found out there was going to be a Shaun the Sheep Movie from Aardman Animations, I was quite interested. But was I super excited? Unfortunately…I wasn’t. But after catching the film in theaters on its UK release, I realized I really should have been! So allow me to give you five reasons why “ewe” too should be excited to see this movie.
1. The Sheep
This is an obvious beginning, but since Shaun is the star of the film, it’s only fair to talk about him first. There’s no question about it. Shaun is cute. But you need more than cuteness to carry a whole movie and luckily for us, Shaun does. He has tons of appeal and charisma from his fuzzy white top to the tips of his hooves. This all comes down to his mischievous antics and his caring nature. In a very similar way to Gromit’s love for Wallace, Shaun loves his farmer and his flock at Mossy Bottom Farm. He’ll go above and beyond to help, and it’s this lovable charm that you’ll fall in love with.
2. The Studio
Aardman Animation Studios has not disappointed us yet. To date its films include Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Flushed Away, Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Each of these feature films were all critically acclaimed, if not all financially successfully (I’m looking at you Pirates!) and it’s to do with the love and care they put into it. You know when you’re watching an Aardman movie when there’s big-toothed characters, witty puns, and attention to detail in the animation. There’s a homely feel to these movies that’s different from other mainstream animation studios. So if you want to take a break from Disney, Ghibli or DreamWorks–or even Hollywood movies in general–go and check out a claymation movie in theaters from the studio who does it best.
3. The Animation
A somewhat surprising fact to me was that Aardman had only twenty animators working on this film. On average, each animator shot about two seconds of footage a day to achieve the eighty-five minute runtime. That’s a lot of tender love and care to give to an animated film. I want to applaud them for it because their passion and hard work really pays off. The film feels intimate and humble but at the same time doesn’t lack in quality. There’s something organic-looking about claymation and, as Shaun creator Nick Park describes, a chance to show human nuances that you don’t get with computer animation. They have more than honed their craft over the years, and it’s displayed skilfully in every scene.
4. The Humor
I’ve already mentioned Aardman’s love for puns, but what else should we expect from this movie? You could easily say it’s layered with ‘British humor’ but I think that’s not giving the film much credit. There’s a reason Shaun is so popular worldwide. The film has universal humor that works overseas. If you’ve seen the Shaun the Sheep television series then you know there’s no dialogue. The movie is the same but don’t let that put you off. After five minutes, you don’t even realise that no one is speaking beyond grunts and bleats. This isn’t because it makes it easier to distribute worldwide and it cuts down on the animator’s workload–though I’m sure it helped–it’s because you don’t need it. A strong animated film should be able to demonstrate emotion, story and comedy through visuals and, once again, you can’t give a better example than this movie.
5. The Family
‘Fun for the whole family’ is overused in movie reviews but it fits too perfectly here for me not to mention the phrase. For starters, the humor is clean and there’s nothing in the plot that can offend. For the older viewers in the audience, the story doesn’t stifle and bore you at any moment. Aardman is too intelligent to know they shouldn’t insult yours. It’s even perfect for the really young viewers. The little lamb Timmy, from the Shaun the Sheep spin-off series Timmy Time, has generous screen time too so the little ones can connect with him. Or if you’re a dog lover like me, then the level-headed, long-suffering Bitzer could become your new favourite Aardman character. Yes, there’s sure to be someone you can identify with no matter what your age. If I need to pick a movie that will keep everyone happy and entertained, from now on the Shaun the Sheep Movie is going to be my first choice.
What do you think? Are you excited for the Shaun the Sheep Movie?
Edited by: Kelly Conley