Adventure Animation

'Shaun the Sheep Movie' Blu-ray Review: Shear fun for the whole family

November 24, 2015Ben MK

Founded in 1972, Aardman Animations has spent the past four decades bringing audiences some of the most whimsical stop-motion creations the UK (and the world) has ever seen, from Oscar-winning shorts like Creature Comforts to feature films like Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Now comes their latest, Shaun the Sheep Movie, which takes the beloved television character and sends him to the big city for his first big screen outing.

If you're familiar with the Shaun the Sheep TV series, then the storyline for the movie will feel familiar, as each episode of the show had Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) concocting a creative plot to break up the monotony of life on Mossy Bottom farm. Likewise, the film's story again revolves around the comical misadventures of Shaun and his pals, this time as they try to outwit Bitzer the sheep dog (John Sparkes) and explore the big city in search of their friend and master the Farmer (Sparkes again), who ends up wandering the city with amnesia, after another one of Shaun's hair-brained schemes goes awry.

Along the way, they encounter several new characters, including a helpful stray named Slip (Tim Hands), and must contend with the efforts of an unrelenting new foe by the name of Trumper (Omid Djalili), an overzealous animal containment officer who would like nothing better than to lock away Shaun and his friends for good. But never fear, even though that may sound like a dark turn of events, the movie generally manages to keep up a light and fun tone, thanks in no small part to the series of sitcom-esque events that Shaun and company constantly find themselves in.

Directed by longtime Aardman staffer Richard Starzak and first-time director Mark Burton, the film stays true to the look and feel of the TV series, which is to say that it serves up nearly an hour-and-a-half of the same delightful stop-motion animation that has become Aardman's trademark over the years. Not only that, but the result is also a shining example of what has made the studio so successful, and their films so endearing. With a simple premise, a valuable lesson to teach, and no shortage of visual gags, Shaun the Sheep Movie easily earns its place as one of the best family films of the year.

Like the CBBC television series that inspired it, Shaun the Sheep Movie contains precisely zero words of spoken dialogue (not counting the lyrics to the film's songs, of course). Still, there's just enough activity in the film's soundscape to keep viewers young and old entertained, from the sounds emitted by the various farm animals to the background ambience of the big city, all of which are handled with ease by the disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix. As for the video quality on this Blu-ray, it's quite a pleasant experience as well. Colors such as the green of the hilly English countryside are nicely saturated; contrast and black levels are excellent; and picture quality is crisp and clear, allowing for all the detailing and the textures on the handcrafted models and sets to be appreciated.

Elevation Pictures' two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a DVD and the following Blu-ray extra:

  • Behind the Scenes (12:47) - A slightly humorous look at the making of the movie, covering the film's story, the new characters, the models, the sets, the animation, the voice acting and the music.

Shaun the Sheep Movie is available from Elevation Pictures as of November 24th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The film is presented without subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 25 Mins.

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