Shaun The Sheep
Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
Cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili |
A big-screen spin-off from the long running television series, Shaun The Sheep Movie is an affectionate fantasy along the lines of such earlier cartoons as Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Honing their stop-motion animation skills, co-directors Burton and Starzak tell the tale of the titular four-legged scamp and the rest of the woolly flock. Life on their farm has become so routine that Shaun (Fletcher) decides to take a day off. Unfortunately, his ruse backfires, leading to the farmer (Sparkes) making an unscheduled trip to the big bad city.
It’s now up to the sheep to bring their master back home to safety. They are aided in their “mission: impossible” by the barn’s resident sheepdog (also voiced by Sparkes) and a resourceful city stray.
Richly detailed, the dialogue-free adventure serves as a tribute to the visual ingenuity of silent cinema. Even though it tends to lurch about at times, the script manages to convey a cavalcade of emotions through expressive character design and a clever use of bleats, growls and mumbles. The clay-mated cast, including a sinister animal catcher, is animated with aplomb. Production designer Matt Perry deserves special mention for his recreation of the teeming city.
Inspired lunacy from first frame to last, Shaun The Sheep Movie should win the hearts of children and parents alike.