I don’t normally give endorsements. Nor do I normally give reviews, it’s a journalist thing. Opinions are things we have, just tend not to give them as we have to try and remain neutral and unbiased in our reporting and writing.
Still . . . I have to give an endorsement, I cannot help it.
I took my kids to see the movie Shaun the Sheep. Bearing in mind, sure, that I have a son who looooves stop-frame animation and cartooning, it was still something that was a bit of an aberration in today’s movie world. This wasn’t a cartoon so much as a creation.
A brave creation.
I call this brave because I don’t believe there’s a single line of dialogue in the entire movie. You know something? It didn’t need it, either. My sons, both 12, and my daughters, 16 and 20, all went with us to see this movie. The girls had seen Shaun in an occasional airing here and there in television short films but nothing feature-length.
This was a 90-minute film and it held their attention better than the last Marvel Avengers movie.
Created by Aardman Animation studios, which made Wallace and Gromit as well as Flushed Away and a number of other amazing films, this is their first feature film with the character of a little sheep named Shaun. The basic plot is that the sheep, in an attempt to break their boring routine, end up losing their farmer and have to try and get him back from the big city.
This is no small feat, I have to say. The film is full of character, humor, slapstick comedy and poignancy that is done through the movement of clay (or plasticine, whatever) on a model. You forget they aren’t real until you pay attention to the fingerprints in the clay next and eyeball that they leave in.
In a world (reference intended) where superhero movies with loud explosions and massive set pieces have taken over it’s a feat of epic proportions to have a film with so much heart garner attention. My kids did see a lot of the recent action films and there’s nothing being stated here against any of them. Yet this Labor Day weekend, when the Cartoon Network decided to run a marathon of the old Shaun the Sheep cartoons, they recorded them and watched them over and over again. Not only were they funny, they were clever and turned old cartoon tropes on their heads.
More to the point, for a family that has its struggles and difficulties on a regular basis, to come out of a theater with a glowing smile, our stomachs sore from laughing, and realize that more was said with no words than many movies do with thousands of words was more than fun. When a goldfish plays harmonica in a pet jail it’s a pretty amazing thing.
It is a feat that Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, the directors, with the help of Nick Park, who helped create the characters pulled off with subtlety and style. There is nothing like it out today.
I am not affiliated with, don’t have stock in or have a job with the studio. I was just that impressed. The movie was a pleasure to watch, Aardman.
I highly recommend that you see it. As do all four of my children. I mean, come on, the poster says “CATCH THEM IF EWE CAN!” What more do you need?