Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Shearly Wonderful with Absolutely No Message

Review: Shaun the Sheep Movie with Shaun, Bitzer, and The Farmer

I was really happy to see this clay-mation comedy turn up in the Amazon Prime movies list, just in time for my anti-election-returns movie binge. My spouse and I watched it on the 8-inch Fire Tablet, and enjoyed every goofy sight-gag, fart and manure reference, and running joke in the show.

For those who missed the Shaun the Sheep TV series—me among them—a quick recap is provided at the beginning of the movie, showing the lamb Shaun tenderly tended by The Farmer, gently gambolling with the puppy Bitzer, and generally enjoying life on Moist Bottom Farm.

Quick transition to present day, in which Shaun sleeps in a shed-sized barn with a fat spider overhead, and The Farmer follows a deeply-rutted routine of feeding, then shearing, his sheep. Shaun recruits the other sheep to assist in a plan to disrupt the routine by fooling The Farmer into staying in bed all day so they can have a day off.

Plans, as they tend to, go awry, and The Farmer winds up in The City, an amnesiac "Mr. X" with a thriving hair-dressing business (due to his long-honed skills at shearing), and it's up to Bitzer and the sheep to rescue him and bring him home.

Best thing about it? Absolutely no words. Not even from The Farmer and Shaun's human nemesis, the Animal Containment guy. Murmurs, shrieks, baas and barks, but no words. For zany antics and a complete lack of message—even "there's no place like home"—it is hard to beat Shaun as an antidote for the sturm-und-drang angst of election returns. 

And the doo-wop sheep chorus near the climax? Shearly brilliant.