SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

From ‘Wallace and Gromit’ to 2000’s “Chicken Run,” Peter Lord and Nick Park, founders of Aardman Animation have made their name on stop-motion animation very successfully.

“Shaun the Sheep Movie” is no exception.

Life on the Mossy Bottom farm is rote and dreary.  The ever-wise Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) devises a plan for the flock to have a day off.  As they put their plan into action, comedic disaster ensues and the farmer (voiced by John Sparkes) is accidentally sent off to The Big City.  Unaware of his surroundings, the farmer receives a concussion and suffers memory loss.  With trusty dog Bitzer in tow, they, along with the entire flock, go to The Big City to find their farmer and return back home.

Written and directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, both Aardman vets, “Shaun” is full of humor and is sprite in its tale.  The dialog comes in curt mumblings, yet the action is easily understood.

While CGI is used for backgrounds in The Big City, the stop-motion animation has never looked better. Although a paltry 85 minutes, the pacing of the visual gags and well-articulated mumblings is tight. llan Eshkeri’s (“Still Alice”, “47 Ronin”) score is such a treat, carrying the intended emotion.  As the animation works visual wonders, the main theme, ‘It Feels Like Summer,’ works lyrical wonders and is a hit.

Some may find the lack of dialog to be difficult.  The visuals and music deftly carry the film. Shaun is an intelligent and deeply warm character.  But he is not a bleating heart.

Count your flock and get them over to the cinema for this amazing farce.

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