Simplicity is the key to the latest success from Aardman

Sometimes the simplest movies are the best. Aardman’s latest big screen venture, Shaun The Sheep Movie, goes back to basics with character and comedy.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 14th February 2015, 3:45 pm

It is, in essence, a silent film that revels in Buster Keaton style slapstick and cumulative disasters.

In short, Shaun’s farmer ends up a lost amnesiac in the big city. While his dog is mistaken for a surgeon, Shaun and pals disguise themselves as women in a flawed rescue mission.

The premise is entirely bonkers, but there are plenty of familiar scenarios to anchor the film.

Turning a TV show for pre-schoolers into a feature film with universal appeal isn’t easy, but it helps when your leading star began life in a Wallace And Gromit short. Here Aardman succeeds in fusing both of Shaun’s popular personas, packing the sub-text with messages about social media and the fickle cult of celebrity while sparing time for in-jokes.

Shaun The Sheep Movie is the polar opposite of Aardman’s vast, off the wall, historical mash-up, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists. The limited vocal range of the film’s characters forces Aardman to be genuinely inventive and return to what they do best; communicating emotion and comedy through facial expressions. Here they continue to push the boundaries of Plasticine stop-motion.

It’s some of Aardman’s most subtle work to date and their most charming since Chicken Run.