The Other Side of Animation: Shaun the Sheep Movie Review

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While I do consider myself a movie lover, I tend to enjoy movies that are easier to follow. Not to say that I can’t get into films with complex themes and stories, since one of my favorite movies of 2015 was Anomalisa, but sometimes, it seems like filmmakers or studios want to make a film look and feel complex and deep, but end up being more confusing, hard to follow, and not very good. It’s alright to have a movie that is good simple fun. It’s why I really loved today’s film, Shaun the Sheep Movie. This was a stop-motion film made by Aardman, and was released on August 5th here in the states, and was directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton. It was a solid hit with it making over $96 mil of its $25 mil budget. So, how good was this movie to me? Is it truly one of the best animated films of 2015? Maybe you should be like the sheep, and mosey on through the review, and find out.

The movie is about a sheep named Shaun and his flock of sheep friends that live on a farm that is owned by, well, a farmer. After going through the same routine after a number of days, Shaun decides to find a way to get a day off, which results in some shenanigans, resulting with the farmer ending up in the big city. It is up to Shaun and his friends to go into the big city and to save their farmer!

So, what does this stop-motion animated film do so well that it was considered one of the best animated films of 2015 and one of famous game designer Hideo Kojima’s favorite movies? One element it does well is that it has no real dialogue. Yeah, it’s a The Triplets of Belleville kind of situation, where the film relies more on its visual format to actually tell the story and get emotions out of the characters. It’s actually nice to see animated films do this, since it means that the writers and story creators don’t have to lean on lazy writing and pop culture lingo. Now, with that said, there are actors, but the most you will get out of them are grunts and other noises. Still, the choice of having no real words spoken won’t mean anything if the animation isn’t top-notch, and well, it’s Aardman, so it is top-notch animation. The characters move fluently, and the facial expressions are just hilarious to see unfold. Since this is Aardman, the physical humor is sidesplitting. It’s easily some of the best physical comedy you will ever see.

If I had to complain about something, it’s the story. The story is well told, but it is simple, and the villain, while funny, is not very interesting. It’s just a nitpick, but I can see some people for one reason or another not wanting to see this sort of silent film.

Overall, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a simple, charming, kind-hearted, entertaining, and beautifully-executed movie. It rightfully deserves that Oscar nomination and all of the high praise it received. It also makes you wish that Lionsgate, the distributors of the film, could use Shaun the Sheep as a milestone in what good animated films are, and help out other creative studios instead of well, Norm of the freaking North! Seriously, your first good animated family film in forever, and they think a good follow-up is a film where Rob Schneider is a polar bear? However, I’m telling you, if you pick up Shaun the Sheep Movie, for the love of everything that is amazing, skip the previews. It’s nothing but garbage. Well, we got that out of the way. I am feeling up to looking at an anthology film once more, but not just any anthology film, an anthology film based off of Halo. Thanks for reading, and see you all next time!

Rating: Go See It!

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