SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE (Richard Starzak, Mark Burton). 85 minutes. Opens Friday (Aug 7). Rating: NNNN
Watch online: iTunes
Don’t turn your nose up at Shaun The Sheep Movie because it’s a children’s property. Nothing Aardman Animations does is ever just for kids.
A feature-length expansion of the Bristol animation house’s charming stop-motion TV show – itself spun out of its Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short A Close Shave – Shaun The Sheep Movie is flat-out wonderful filmmaking, infused with the same antic, inventive glee Aardman brought to previous projects like Chicken Run, Flushed Away, Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! Band Of Misfits.
Like the series, Shaun The Sheep Movie is performed entirely without dialogue. There’s some baaing from Shaun and his woolly friends, some growling from Bitzer the dog and some unintelligible grunting from various humans, but the tale of Shaun and his barnyard allies venturing to the big city to retrieve their farmer is told mostly through facial expressions.
This just lets directors Richard Starzak and Mark Burton demonstrate how wonderfully expressive Aardman’s character design can be, and how much visual flair can be packed into each frame.
Also, a key subplot has been nicked from Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop. Genius. Seriously.