I am beyond excited to be a new father for SO many reasons. But I’d by lying if I said that sharing in my passion for cinema wasn’t VERY high on my list. As soon as little Owen is ready, I can’t wait to shower him with my love for movies, and show him the films that made a big impact on me as a child (Milo & Otis, Baby: The Lost Legend, The Land Before Time, and so many others..) And most assuredly, one of the first things he’ll see (when the time is correct), will be Shaun The Sheep Movie. I loved this movie upon first sight earlier this year, and the recently released Blu-ray is wonderful. It’s truly a shame that not enough parents with young children took a chance this weekend on Shaun the Sheep Movie. This film is a 100 Star Masterpiece, written with zero spoken dialogue, containing some of the best visual storytelling in ages, made in the grand tradition of FUN, filled with heart, humor, sophistication, and an endless sense of CUTE. I knew I was a goner when I first saw the madcap trailer (the film is way less rambunctious than advertised) and this constantly delightful movie never let me down. And it doesn’t matter how many times I watch a “making-of” when it comes to a Claymation film, I just don’t “get it” in terms of how these films are made. The painstaking process of arranging and re-arranging the characters and backgrounds and props seems, to my eye, to be a herculean effort, and I don’t understand how they make water look the way it does within the context of this unique universe.
There is a boundless sense of energy and wit in every single frame of this film, while the strong internal message of valuing your friends and family is never lost during the big action sequences and frequent bits of absurd antics. And did I mention that this film is funny? It’s both laugh out loud and LQTM, with not one but two instances of snapper-fart humor, burp jokes that actually make sense within the context of the narrative, and an unending supply of animal related hijinks that would delight just about anyone with a pulse. So why don’t these movies get enough traction in the U.S.? Is it the “British-ness” of them? Are they just too good for people to latch onto? Whatever the reason, I don’t care. I don’t finance movies, I just shoot from the hip and report on how any particular film has made me feel after I’ve viewed it. This is a smashing piece of entertainment, made with sneak glee and just the right amount of smarts to balance out the silliness. This one made me feel like a kid, it reminded me of how blissfully innocent a child can be while watching a film on the big screen (the small amount of children in attendance seemed overjoyed), and it’s further proof that every year, the chance for a massive cinematic surprise is always possible.
Review by Nick Clement