MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Shaun The Sheep’ Is The Best Family Film Of 2015

shaun-the-sheep-movie-review

Film: Shaun The Sheep
Written by: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
Directed by: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

In a time when the word ‘Minion’ can send chills down the spine of any person with children, Shaun The Sheep delivers a fun and refreshing take on family entertainment that literally anyone can enjoy.

A spin-off from the iconic Wallace And Gromit animation empire, Shaun The Sheep is a British stop-motion cartoon that is currently receiving the big screen treatment on an international scale. Shaun The Sheep‘s first movie finds Shaun, the farmer who watches over him, and the farmer’s dog Bitzer embarking on their greatest journey to date. The film has no dialogue, no musical numbers, no extended dance montage(s), and absolutely no celebrity cameos. It’s essentially everything American cartoons are not, and it just might be the greatest animated film of the year.

When we begin, Shaun’s life is pretty simple. Having spent his entire life on the same farm with the same farmer watching over him, Shaun has fallen into a rut of routine mediocrity that bothers him more and more with each passing day. A billboard on a bus encouraging people to take vacations inspires him to take a trip to the big city, but in order to do so Shaun and the other sheep will first have to get past the farmer and his dog. Their plan works at first, but before any of our fuzzy friends can find their way into town they are pulled into a rescue mission that will test their intelligence, as well as their ability to look out for one another. The city is no place for farm animals, after all.

It doesn’t take long for Shaun The Sheep to deliver big laughs, but what is truly surprising is just how often those big laughs occur. The lack of dialogue requires the film to make the most of sight gags, as well as sly references to cinema classics that only parents will remember, and the combination of those two forces makes for one endlessly fun romp. You never know what will happen from one scene to the next, but you can always assume the least likely outcome is the one you will see take place. Shaun’s adventure, much like the sheep himself, is unpredictable. From run-ins with animal control, to the difficult task of helping someone recover their lost memory, Shaun and his pals face big challenges around every corner with confidence and lighthearted humor to spare.

The brilliance of Shaun The Sheep is in its simplicity. We are currently experiencing the most over-the-top summer of cinema in recorded history, with new villains threatening to destroy or take over the world every week at the box office, but in the middle of that noise there is a story about a sheep, his arch nemesis, and a clueless farmer that shares a lesson on home and the true meaning of family that everyone needs to hear. Shaun The Sheep is something much more than another quickly forgotten piece of all-ages entertainment. It’s a rare feat of cinematic storytelling that has something for everyone and nothing anyone can hate. It’s essentially flawless, and I dare anyone reading this to find a good reason to claim otherwise.

GRADE: A

Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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