One of the nice things about being a children’s writer is indulging my passion for kid’s movies and TV. Unfortunately, my kids are starting to grow out of watching what they disparagingly call ‘fluffy-dog’ movies with me. Still, I persuaded, Baby Bear to come see Shaun the Sheep – The Movie with me on the weekend and it was magnificent!
Now, I’d already been a bit of a fan of the TV series but it must be said it is a bit of a one-trick pony (or should that be sheep?) Basically, the story-line is Shaun and the flock outsmarting the Farmer and Bitzer – the dog – on a fairly regular basis. The movie took things further – moving the Farmer, Bitzer and the flock into the city with hilarious results – and introducing some new characters…
This movie really ticked all the boxes – a great story, great characters, a relatable theme, fantastic soundtrack and the clincher – it tugged at the heart-strings. Without giving too much of the plot away, Shaun spies an ad on the side of a bus enticing him to take “a day off”. And so, he kind of accidently-on-purpose railroads the Farmer – who ends up in the city with amnesia. As things at the farm inevitably turn pear-shaped, the sheep embark on a quest to find the farmer and help him retrieve his memory.
The whole Claymation subgenre is extremely clever and can be done to quite comic (Wallace & Gromit) and poignant (anyone seen Mary & Max?) effect. It’s extra impressive because of the hours and hours that go into making every frame – small plasticine figures re-figured for each second of footage.
And then using small sighs and baahs, emotion-filled scenes are created. There’s a really interesting youtube clip on the making of the movie here. I love the bit where you see actor Justin Fletcher creating the sounds of Shaun. Five stars from me!