Granger on Movies: ‘Shaun the Sheep’
After making his debut 20 years ago in Nick Park’s Oscar-winning “Wallace and Gromit” outing, “A Close Shave,” Shaun the Sheep has become a British TV favorite. Now, he has his own full-length feature film.
For a rebellious ram, like Shaun (vocalized by Justin Fletcher), life at Mossy Bottom Farm can get a bit tiresome. Every day, the Farmer (vocalized by John Sparkes) and his loyal sheepdog Blitzer (also Sparkes) take Shaun and the rest of the flock to graze in the fields.
Determined to take a break from the daily drudgery, mischievous Shaun decides to take off for the Big City (think London). But then a series of accidents land the Farmer in the hospital, where a quirk of amnesia turns him into a celebrity hair stylist, employing his sheep-shearing skills to start new trends.
Back at the farm, amid other livestock, like opportunistic, hard-partying pigs and a conniving duck who accepts bread-bribes, Shaun and his bleating flock-mates realize they cannot reach their feed, which is stored high in the barn, so they join with their arch nemesis, Blitzer, to embark on a search to find the Farmer and bring him home.
Problem is: Disguised as humans in the urban environment, they’re captured and incarcerated by Trumper, the animal control officer (grunted by Omid Djalili).
Utilizing stop-motion Claymation, Britain’s Aardman Animators (“Chicken Run,” “The Pirates!”) devise an easy-to-understand, yet dialogue-free narrative, filled with sight gags, shop-sign puns, goofy sound effects and indecipherable gibberish that was cleverly created by writers/directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzak, following a plot that’s curiously similar to “Babe: Pig in the City” (1998).
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Shaun the Sheep” is an amusingly sweet 7, a wild and woolly adventure that’s shear fun for very young children.
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