Sometimes the simplest movies are the best. Aardman’s latest big screen venture, Shaun The Sheep Movie, goes back to basics with character and comedy. It is, in essence, a silent film that revels in Buster Keaton style slapstick and cumulative disasters.

In short, Shaun’s farmer ends up a lost amnesiac in the big city. While his dog is mistaken for a surgeon, Shaun and pals disguise themselves as women in a flawed rescue mission complete with strings of pearls and structured handbags. The premise is entirely bonkers, but there are plenty of familiar scenarios to anchor the film, including a dastardly Animal Containment Officer.
Shaun The Sheep Movie

Turning a TV show for pre-schoolers into a feature film with universal appeal isn’t easy, but it helps when your leading star began life in a Wallace And Gromit short. Here Aardman succeeds in fusing both of Shaun’s popular personas, packing the sub-text with messages about social media and the fickle cult of celebrity while sparing time for in-jokes.

Shaun The Sheep Movie is the polar opposite of Aardman’s vast, off the wall, historical mash-up, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists. The limited vocal range of the film’s characters – grumbling, baa-ing, woof-ing – forces Aardman to be genuinely inventive and return to what they do best; communicating emotion and comedy through facial expressions. Here they continue to push the boundaries of Plasticine stop-motion. It’s some of Aardman’s most subtle work to date and their most charming since Chicken Run.

 

VERDICT: ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 4/5

 

Certificate: U
Running Time: 85 minutes
UK Release Date: 6 February 2015
Images: © 2014 – Aardman/StudioCanal

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