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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Shaun the Sheep

November 8th, 2015

Shaun the Sheep - Buy from Amazon:
DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand

Shaun the Sheep

Shaun the Sheep barely made a peep at the box office. It's not that surprising it wasn't able to find an audience. It is based on a British TV show aimed at four to seven-year olds. It doesn't talk down to kids, so it can be enjoyed by adults, but most people here have likely never heard of it before the movie came out. Is it worth checking out for those who have never seen it? Is it worth checking out for those who are fans of Wallace and Gromit?

The Movie

Before we get the movie, there are no subtitles. ... I know there's no dialogue, but I was really hoping there would be subtitles for the hearing impaired, because I wanted to see stuff like [exaggerated sigh]. I think it would have been funny and it is a missed opportunity.

The movie begins years in the past where we are introduced to three characters. Mr. Farmer, who is a farmer. Shaun, who is one of his first sheep. And finally Bitzer, the farm dog. Shaun is a much smarter than average sheep and the routine of the farm gets to him. One day, he decides the sheep need a holiday He devises a plan, a plan that involves bribing a duck to act as a distraction for Bitzer, so that the sheep can trick Mr. Farmer into counting them as they jump over a fence. It works like a charm and soon he's fast asleep. The sheep put him to bed in a camper, take over the farm house, and begin to party.

That's all they do, begin to party. Before they can even start watching The Return of the Curly Kid, Bitzer busts them. Shaun shows Bitzer where they put Mr. Farmer, but the door is stuck is and the dog and the sheep try so hard to open the door that the camper rolls off down the hill, onto the road, and into the Big City. Bitzer runs after him and tells Shaun and the other sheep to stay at the farm.

Shaun and the rest of the sheep obey, for a little while. It turns out without Mr. Farmer, the sheep's lives are definitely worse off. For example, none of them can operate the tractor, so they can't get to the food. Shaun decides he has to go to the Big City in order to get Mr. Farmer back. He's not there for more than a minute before the rest of the sheep flock shows up. This would normally be merely bad, but an Animal Containment Officer, Trumper, is on their trail. It isn't long before Shaun is captured.

Meanwhile, Mr. Farmer survived his rough ride to the city completely unharmed. It wasn't until the camper had come to a full stop and he had safely exited that he received a swift blow to the head. This results in him losing his memory and ends up wandering the streets of the Big City. He passes by a hair boutique right when a panicked celebrity enters. The celebrity is having a bad hair day and demands a new hair cut. The employees there are unsure what to do with him, but Mr. Farmer sees a pair of hair trimmers and has a flashback to life on the farm. He grabs the trimmers and cuts the celebrity's hair as if he were a sheep. At first the celebrity freaks out, then he sees his new hair cut and loves it. With that, Mr. Farmer is the hottest new hair dresser around.

Shaun the Sheep is aimed at younger kids and there are a few moments where that becomes more evident. However, for the most part, this is a movie that parents will enjoy with their kids as well. Some of the scenes feel more like shorts that were added to the movie to add jokes, but don't move the plot forward too much. The scene in the fancy restaurant felt this way. I'm not saying it wasn't funny, but it did feel episodic. The film isn't deep and it doesn't have the scale of Pirates or Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit, two previous Aardman Animations releases. However, it is so charming in its ways that it is hard to saying anything negative about the movie. Shaun the Sheep is lowkey, but very charming.

The Extras

There are a handful of featurettes for extras, beginning with a 12-minute long making of featurette. Meet the Characters is four minutes long and it is exactly what it sounds like. Join Shaun Behind the Scenes is a short look at how the models work. Finally, there is Meet the Crew, a three-minute short looking at the crew. There are also some parody posters.

The technical presentation is great, given the source material. Stop-motion animation precludes some of the more flashier elements you would see in a movie, but what we get is presented nearly flawlessly. The level of details is very high, high enough to see textures in the clothing and other props. Likewise, the audio is clear... ish? There is no dialogue, so it is hard to judge if the words are clear or not, but there was no issues with hisses or tinniness and the surround sound speakers had enough activity to feel immersive. Again, not the most active audio track I've reviewed, but very good for what it is.

The Blu-ray costs $25, compared to $20 for the DVD. This is industry standard, so there's no complaint here.

The Verdict

Shaun the Sheep is a light, but very charming kids movie that parents will enjoy almost as much as their kids will. There's not a lot of extras on the DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack, but enough that it is worth picking up over just getting on Video on Demand. On the other hand, if you don't want to wait two weeks, you can get it on VOD this week and on Blu-ray on the 24th.

Filed under: Video Review, Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit, Omid Djalili, Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Jack Paulson