Shaun the Sheep and his sheep pals are getting sick of the routine of farm life, so in a clever scheme they imprison the farmer and run riot. Unfortunately, the farmer ends up rolling into town in a caravan and the sheep, bored of chaos and missing their carer, head to the city to bring him back…
It’s not clear where this film exists in the Wallace and Gromit chronology, with a story completely detached from the man/dog capers we’re used to. As in A Close Shave, and his much-loved TV series, Shaun is silent; in fact, there’s no dialogue in the whole film, with it being shown instead through action alone, and a bit of digetic writing at various points. It’s a very clever way of telling a story, and is impressively sustained over the duration of the film, with no loss in narrative or humour.
It’s a shame they chose such a bland title, which sounds more like last year’s reviled Pudsey the Dog the Movie than the punderful A Close Shave. My suggestion is Shaun: Sheep in the City, but they didn’t even bother to ask me. Thankfully the standard of the film measures up to its parent franchise. The lack of dialogue means this is sure to be an international hit, but even so it’s very distinctly British. The streets, vehicles and the interior of a hospital look like they could have been filmed on-location, but it’s probably for the best they weren’t, Imagine having to make life-sized plasticine models and make all the extras do 24 slightly different shots for every second of footage.
The animation is slick with fingerprints in the clay a thing of the past, but it still keeps all its charm, and is far superior to other slick Aardman animation Flushed Away. It’s one of the more cutesy of Aardman’s outing, with no scary moments like Preston turning out to be a robot in A Close Shave or the pie machine sequence in Chicken Run but The tone is jolly and fun throughout, and exciting thanks to the frenetic pacing.
Shaun the Sheep is a baaverlous spin-off which finally makes the world’s best-loved sheep the star (or should I say the baa?), proving that he is truly able to stand out from the herd.