Shaun the Sheep Movie

Life at Mossy Bottom Farm has gotten tedious. In taking care of the animals, the Farmer and his dog Bitzer follow the same schedule each day. As leader of the flock, Shaun the Sheep devises a plan to get the Farmer back to bed and Bitzer out of the way, so the entire farm can enjoy a day off.
Through an unfortunate series of events, Shaun’s scheme goes totally awry. The Farmer ends up in the hospital with amnesia and Bitzer gets impounded. But Shaun and his fellow sheep leave the farm and brave The Big City to bring their farmer home.
The general silliness that fills the movie is delightful. And while it doesn’t have a terribly deep message,Shaun the Sheep Movie offers a warm take on friendship.
With no real dialogue other than grunts, bleats, and various mumblings, the film resembles at times a silent movie, with the advantage of a great soundtrack and vibrant color.
Like the British Shaun the Sheep TV series on which it is based, this movie uses “claymation” stop-motion animation, through which the characters take form as clay figures that are moved and filmed frame by frame. Produced painstakingly by Aardman Animations, the end result is seamless, even in the most elaborate scenes. 
As in the TV series, the British countryside is idyllic. In portraying The Big City, directors Richard Starzak and Mark Burton clearly went to great pains to give the town a very contemporary, 21st-century London look, complete with graffiti, coffee houses, and striking diversity.
While the madcap humor should appeal to all, older viewers can look out for numerous cinematic shout-outs to films such as Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, to name only a few. The film also provides some clever satire of celebrity and fashion.
Note that the film, rated PG, does contain some rude, barnyard-style humor. And some scenes may a bit too scary for very young viewers. But as an additional note for fans of Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit films, the menace is never as strong as in The Wrong Trousers or A Close Shave, where we first meet Shaun the Sheep.
Please do not rush off at the end of the movie! Stay in your seats for a remix of the infectious Shaun the Sheep theme song, by British pop duo Rizzle Kicks, and an amusing credit scene that wraps up the movie’s loose ends. (Aardman)

About the Author

Otto Selles teaches French at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., and attends Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.