It’s truly a shame that not enough parents with young children took a chance on this movie in America (it died a quick box-office death a couple of years ago), but thankfully the rest of the world knows what’s up, and the film became a success in the long run. From where I sit, Shaun the Sheep Movie 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 endearing 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. It would be easy for the film to lose its way any number of times during the course of the story, and because the filmmakers have real values, nothing ever feels lazy or cheap.
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 sneaky glee and just the right amount of smarts to balance out the silliness. This one made me feel like a kid, and sometimes, that’s all you need.
Review by Nick Clement