Directed By: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
Aardman Animation, the people behind Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit are launching their franchise Shaun The Sheep into theatres. I’m 100% unfamiliar with the source material, other than that there is a source material. When I saw the trailer for it, I immediately rolled my eyes. I thought it was dumb. It looked like it was made for five year olds. Well, I can say they leaped over my expectations for the film, and actually offered a rather harmless, cute film that is probably meant for kids.
I’ve seen some critics calling this film hilarious, and well… that’s a bit of a stretch. It’s the kind of movie that makes you smile with its humor, but not fall out of your chair with laughter. I think branding this as hilarious is just misleading. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a charming film that took me off guard. I was expecting something I could barely sit through, and I had a pretty decent 80 minutes. It’s not Inside Out, but it’s possibly better than Minions, and leagues better than Home. It’s harmless fun, the kind you could take any child to, no matter how conservative you are (unless you’re just totally off the grid, and all film is evil). In this day and age, when so many films being released for kids are also being made for adults, isn’t it nice to have a film theatrically that you can take the Elementary crowd to, and not want to claw your eyes out?
Ultimately, that’s what this is. This isn’t meant as entertainment solely for adults, and doesn’t work on a different level like Inside Out does. It does, however, not act unintelligent, or crude, and provides a family friendly film that the entire family can enjoy. It has a positive message about loyalty and friendship, and I really can’t think of anything bad to say. It’s not really my cup of tea, and I’ll probably never want to see it again (until I have kids), but I had a decent time watching it. It’s not hilarious, but a few moments will make you smile (and a few nods at films like ‘Silence Of The Lambs’ will go over kids heads). If you’re looking for something to take the kids to this weekend, and you’ve already seen Inside Out, I’d say don’t be afraid of Shaun The Sheep. There’s something quite masterful hidden here, in that they made a film completely void of dialogue, and they made it entertaining. It’s a bold move, as very few films would ever take the risk of being dialogue free. Shaun The Sheep does it, and expects kids to love it. I think they will.
You surprised me, Shaun. I’m pleasantly surprised.
FINAL GRADE: B+