Shaun the Sheep, Blu-ray (2015)

May be the best animated family feature of the year.

Shaun the Sheep, Blu-ray (2015)

Directors: Mark Burton & Richard Starzak
Based on: Shaun the Sheep, by Nick Park
Voice-overs: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Dialili
Studio: Aardman Animations/ StudioCanal/ Lionsgate (US) [2/6/15]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 widescreen, 1080p HD color
Audio: English & animal sounds, English SDH, DTS-HD MA 5.1
Extras: Making the Shaun Movie, Meet the Characters, John Shaun Behind the Scenes, Meet the Crew, Parody Poster Gallery
Length: 84 min.
Rating: *****

Shaun is a spin-off coming out of the Nick Park Aardman Animations 1995 feature A Close Shave. The big difference is that the sheep still doesn’t speak proper English, but all the Mossy Bottom Farm flock communicates in a sort of animal mumbling which sometimes appears as a mouth off to the side of the head. The sheep is given a lot more qualities which come in handy when the whole flock has to go into the big city to rescue their farmer-owner, who suffers from amnesia as a direct result of their mischief.

The story line has a lot of soul and the animation, sets, story, music, costumes and “dialog” all work together to show that the sheep just want to have fun. Dressing up as humans to escape the attention of the evil “Animal Containment” man, Thumper, is just part of their plight. He’s really not so awful – just power-hungry. They have the assistance of the farmer’s faithful dog, and residents of the clink into which they are thrown.

There’s a lot of classic references such as Silence of the Lambs, for the grownups, and plenty of toilet humor for the kids. One reviewer says that although evidence may be to the contrary, he thinks Shaun really exists, just as Calvin and Hobbs do.

—John Sunier

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