All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The British stop-motion-animated TV-show goes full feature! Shaun The Sheep (originally from the highly acclaimed and hilarious Wallace and Gromit series) gets bored with daily farm routine and takes a day off, screwing up and accidentally sending his farmer-master downtown. He and his sheep pals (along with the loyal hound dog Bitzer) travel to The Big City to retrieve him, hilarity following all the way.
Direction/Screenplay by both Mark Burton and Richard Starzak.
- If you’ve seen any Aardman Animation projects (Chicken Run, The Pirates! Band Of Misfits, Creature Comforts, Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention, and so on), you already know the animation is top-notch, the characters unique and delightful, and the gags funny. This doesn’t disappoint. The sets and characters are brilliant. Each sheep has a different look, and there’s an “ugly” dog that tugs at the heart.
- Truly for the “whole family.” Kids will giggle at the cute animals and plenty of sight gags, parents will enjoy the more subtle humor, positive message about home/family and pokes at celebrity/society, and the young-at-heart will laugh at everything.
- There’s not one word of dialog. All the animals speak in animal noises, and the people speak in mumbles. So for you foreigners, you won’t need subtitles. And you parents won’t have to worry about swearing, kids talking over dialog or asking what words mean. (The couple bodily function gags are clever and fairly subtle.)
- Dang, these sheep can be clever! Even though Shaun’s the obvious smart one and the others take a while to figure things out, they work together in ways few can imagine. Just don’t count them!
- I want my own Timmy, the cute baby sheep. A plush figure is okay but I want the real one!
- There’s plenty of slapstick (great for guys like me) and visual gags but most are very clever. And there’s plenty of parody of “modern life” as well as pokes at the whole celebrity culture. But not at all preachy or syrupy like Pixar’s Inside Out or other PC animated flicks.
- The staring cellmate is one of the funniest characters in years, even though he doesn’t move much.
- Even the music is good. There’s a couple songs that play a few times during the film that will stick in your head (hopefully in a good way) and the theme song during the credits is hilarious. (Check out the YouTube vid afterward, with the words.)
- As much as I adored the Minions Movie, Wreck It Ralph and previous Pixar flicks, there’s something more “natural” about clay/stop-motion animation that’s more “3D” than 3D CG, more real than all the best-rendered computer animation could ever be. (Even though CG was used in two-thirds of the film, all characters and sets were hand-built: Check out a glimpse at the filming process.)
- Speaking of credits and hilarious, there’s plenty of gags during the main titles at the end. Then stay till the very end for a clever little button (listen closely when the last character leaves the screen).
- I’ve not seen any of the TV episodes (which apparently are about seven minutes each) but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the film a bit. I did see Shaun’s first appearance on the third W & G short film (“A Close Shave”) years ago, but you don’t need it to enjoy this. After seeing the movie, I definitely want to check out the TV show.
- Although this is probably geared more for kids, it’s definitely English humor, so it probably starts a bit slow for American audiences. I like car chases and kung fu fights as much as the next dude, but I was able to give this time to build and it paid off.
- For very little kids: some slapstick “violence” where people get bonked and such, the Animal Control guy is pretty mean, there’s a couple bad accidents and a few scary situations for the sheep, but nothing too nasty.
- I suspect there’s a parody of at least one British celebrity, but I have no clue who it is.
- This probably won’t make a third of what Inside Out will (at least in the US), and that’s a bloody shame, ‘cause this is so much more clever and fun.
I didn’t expect much from the trailers and was pleasantly surprised. I laughed aloud a bunch of times. Was it as good as Minions? Not really a fair comparison. It’s kinda like the Monty Python vs. the Stooges. Both are great in their own ways, know what I mean? But I would see this again. And if the DVD has a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff and other shorts/videos, I would buy it. You don’t have to see this on a big screen, but you’ll probably want to see it more than once, pause or slow-mo some scenes to get the most out of some gags. Have a blaaaaaast! (I had ta stick in a sheep gag eventually…)
P.S.: Time for a cool commission of original art! Pascale can draw cute animated stuff, power heroes, sexy babes (and boys), whatever. Get some art and get FREE SHIPPING if you mention this review. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the sheep industry, animals and people with British teeth, wool growers, English farmers or barbers to the stars. No animals were harmed in the making of Shaun The Sheep Movie or this review, but Bru did hurt his knee from slapping it too hard while laughing.