From the moment Shaun the Sheep Movie begins, the grinning does, as well.
From Aardman Animation, the same people who brought us the critically acclaimed Chicken Run back in 2000, comes an absolutely delightful look at what happens when Shaun the Sheep wants to take a day off from what he believes is his tedious life on the farm.
The characters in Shaun the Sheep Movie are amazingly rich. As each is introduced, it's as if we have known them all along. Instantly they are family. They personalities are distinct and they have quirks making them so charming. If you're an animal love, add this to your list whether you enjoy animation or not. These feel far more authentic (yes, I said it) than your average animated animal adventurers.
To kick things off, the entire flock comes together in a creative way to move The Farmer to a safe location away from the farmhouse so they can have their fun inside. Cocktails, pizza, ice cream and TV – it's on the list!
But every good farmer has an equally good farm dog, and when Bitzer gets wind of what's happening, things go horribly awry. Bitzer's attempt to alert The Farmer to the day's events instead sends him into The Big City and the entire gang eventually finds themselves there hoping to track him down.
The antics of our furry friends in the city are both touching and laugh out loud funny. Immediately upon his arrival, Shaun discovers animals aren't welcome when he witnesses Trumper, the Animal Containment Officer, in action. Shaun makes a friend in stray dog Slip, who comes in quite handy. She's not named Slip for nothing!
The flock are forced to dress up as humans to survive and their ability to fool city folk even passes the Trumper test. A scene in a restaurant where the hungry sheep try to emulate their human counterparts is particularly amusing.
While The Farmer suffers amnesia and gets swept up in unexpected celebrity status when his memory is jogged by a pair of shears at a hair salon, his faithful flock struggle to find him and then to help him recall the wonderful life and family they had back at the farm.
Because, of course, there is a lesson to be learned. Truly remarkable is that it won't be done through dialog, of which there is none. The only words in the film are in the movie's catchy songs, particularly the theme song, "Feels Like Summer," which The Farmer played while carrying out his daily tasks. Once kind of annoying to the animals, it's the song that keeps the flock happy when circumstances seem most dire.
Perhaps animation is the universal language. It sure feels that way while watching Shaun the Sheep Movie. When you're finished, it never occurs to you that you just sat through a dialog-free movie as the story was as full and robust as any other out there today.
That's a pretty powerful takeaway in a business that sometimes struggles with the right script and determining which famous personality will lend their voice to a character. Shaun the Sheep proves that actions truly do speak louder than words.
Everything you've heard about Shaun the Sheep Movie is true. It's simply brilliant. Pack up the kids or just go yourself for a truly entertaining time.
If you are more inclined to stay at home, you can always watch Chicken Run online. It's a great standby!