I was first introduced to the animated stylings of ‘Wallace and Gromit’ back in 1993 with the short ‘The Wrong Trousers,’ and like millions of others people, instantly fell in love with characters.
The latest installment to the franchise is a spin-off named “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” one of the rare family-friendly films to hit Sundance this week. The movie borrows Shaun from his popular TV series, this time giving him his own full-length film.
It’s a wonderful detachment from any violent or crude animated series that fill the airwaves on regular children shows, and the non-talking characters rely heavily on sight-gags and over-exaggeration to get the jokes across. It’s like a modern day Charlie Chaplin piece, with a much higher budget and aimed at children.
The film is hitting theaters thanks to Studiocanal, who recently released ‘Paddington’ in theaters, and it should be a moderate success for the studio. This is the first time that Studiocanal is releasing an Aardman animation work, though Relativity Media will release “Shaun the Sheep” here in the U.S.
In the past the features were distributed by Sony Pictures. The film was directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzack, the two also helped on the screenplay written by Richard Goleszowski.
Just like the animated series, the lazy sheep don’t want to work on the farm. Instead, they just want to spend their days goofing off. To do this they have to trick the farmer and his sheepdog Bitzer. This simple story finds Shaun and his sheepish brethren lost in the big city, this happens after a small mishap with a trailer transports the flock from the safety of their small farm to the busy city nearby. Shaun and his team are soon separated and have to find each other again to escape the city, all while avoiding the pet-control workers and other inner-city dangers to get back to their beloved home.
Just like the Wallace and Gromit series that preceded it, the characters involved in the film are adorable. Most small children will most likely find their antics hilarious as they pretend to be human, or as a man gets his head stuck in a horse costume’s read-end.
It wouldn’t be an Aardman animation without a few jokes thrown into the mix aimed at the adults, and this film has quite a few that I won’t ruin for you. It’s a refreshing change of pace from most animated cartoons, one that I think parents and older siblings will enjoy.