A bleatin’ good story from a Claymation sheep


The Telegraph

Shaun and his flock are deeply concerned about something in the distance…all except the baby, Timmy, who is concerned with Shaun and the fat sheep, Shirley, who is concerned with eating.

Sophie Haddad, Multimedia Editor

A mobile home is on the loose. Adults look on, appalled. The perpetrators gasp with guilt. Teenagers capture the event on smartphones.

Disregard the target audience of “Shaun the Sheep” (PG) for a moment, and consider the following.

A tragic turn of events leads to living life as fugitives, forgotten by the amnesiac who once gave them shelter. The big city doesn’t treat country folk kindly, and the characters don’t realize how precious their life is until it’s no longer available.

Now, add in the fact that I’m talking about farm animals and their farmer.

Dressed in the familiar outfit of a summertime flick, the film exploits all the trappings of a modern-day movie: sentimental, grainy childhood videos accompanied by a feel-good song, an unrealistically aggressive villain, an elaborate but unsuccessful attempt to dress like a human, and a montage of the days going by.

Shaun is a highly-intelligent sheep who is both source and solution to most of the conflict. His flock includes the irresistibly adorable baby sheep, his curler-wearing mother, the fat sheep, and the one with the weird eye.

Although there are human characters (the farmer and those living in the city), everyone is somehow only capable of communicating in grunts or other low guttural noises.

One’s first impression of the film can be conveyed in a soft, sympathetic “ahh.” But if one scratches the surface, the film reveals itself to be a deeply emotional tear-jerker.

Family ties are tested, and animals arrested. An animal catcher boasts a vendetta that threatens the innocent. Ultimately, though, all situations are seasoned with a dash of humor.

From Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, the makers of “Wallace and Gromit,” this Claymation movie is certainly familiar with the business of comedy. The film is based on the show “Shaun the Sheep.”

Ever-conscious of today’s societal shortcomings while still managing to run the classic city/countryside rivalry, “Shaun the Sheep” covers spacious ground with its jokes. Archetypal celebrities, musicians, and secretaries make appearances to add familiarity and allow the audience to view the world with the eyes of a child — simple, laughable.

Like any professional comedy, accents in the music coincide perfectly with every violent outburst.

Silly to the point of suffocation, “Shaun the Sheep” is a choice view for any age. It is beyond cute, surprisingly mature, and generally gratifying.

Life’s a treat with “Shaun the Sheep.”

[star rating=”5″]