Aardman’s big-screen version of the stop-motion TV series is jam-packed with gags, visual ideas and narrative invention
This big-screen version of the long-running TV show from the great British animation studio Aardman is a treat – a family movie positively bursting with non-GM comedy flavour. Like Jim Henson’s muppets, the stop-motion Aardman figures are effortlessly funny, as well as being better performers than most humans.
Shaun the Sheep lives on a farm with his sheep mates, and they long to get away from the usual wool-providing grind: a cheeky plan escalates out of control and soon they find themselves at large in the big city like escaped criminals, desperate to find and rescue their Farmer, whose beneficent rule now looks good to them. It’s a quasi-silent film that owes something to Roald Dahl or even a laid-back George Orwell, jam-packed with gags, visual ideas and narrative invention. There is tremendous wit and pathos in the way the Farmer himself ages from a jack-the-lad into a bucolic old guy set in his ways. I loved the Spielbergian villainy of the animal containment officer on the trail of these sheep – and the fancy restaurant in which they find themselves: Le Chou Brûlé. (A vegetarian place?) These sheep defy the stereotype. They are fiercely individual and resourceful. It’s the humans who look like conformists.
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