In a year with so many superhero movies, and spy movies, and Meryl Streep movies, "Shaun the Sheep Movie" truly stands out as one of the most delightful surprises of 2015.
The latest from the U.K.'s Aardman Animations ("Chicken Run," "Wallace and Gromit") and based off their popular children's show, "Shaun the Sheep Movie" follows Shaun (a sheep, duh) and his flock on an epic adventure into The Big City. There isn't any dialogue throughout its 82-minute runtime -- just various baaaas, grunts and gibberish -- but the emotion is real.
It all begins when mischievous Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) decides he needs a day off from the daily grind at Mossy Bottom Farm. So he conspires with his barnyard buddies, including adorable, scene-stealing little lamb Timmy, to distract Shaun's nemesis, Bitzer the dog, and lull their hapless farmer (John Sparkes) to sleep, so they can relax on their day off.
But Shaun's plan quickly goes awry when the trailer they've locked the sleeping farmer in goes careening downhill and into The Big City -- with Bitzer in tow. Desperate to get their farmer back, Shaun and his flock head to the city to find him. Their mission, however, is thwarted by an overzealous animal control officer named Trumper, who eventually poor Shaun in the pound. And that's only the beginning of Shaun's heartfelt adventure.
Here are some reasons you need to watch "Shaun the Sheep" immediately. Like, drop the shears and get to the theater already!
It's so cute.Aardman
Be still my bleating heart, "Shaun the Sheep" is so cute it actually makes me want to scream -- squeal? -- in pure glee. The story is as expertly crafted as Aardman's signature clay figures. At its core, this is a story about family. It's impossible not to smile when we see baby Shaun and baby Bitzer in the film's opening flashback montage (set to your new favorite song, "Feels Like Summer").
The animation will make you smile.Aardman
Aardman Animations is known for its charmingly modest stop-motion animation of incredibly expressive, beautifully handcrafted clay figures. "Shaun the Sheep" might be missing the comedic human-dog dynamic that made "Wallace and Gromit" an instant classic, but what it lacks in dialogue, it makes up for in cheeky humor and overwhelming pleasantness.
The sheep can sing!!!
And harmonize! And beat box! And play bicycle spokes! This is one of the many times I felt myself getting extremely emotional during the press screening. Poor little Timmy is having a hard time sleeping after their farmer -- who is suffering from amnesia after the trailer accident -- rejects the flock. So, the sheep form a baa-bershop quartet and sing Timmy to sleep. Annnd now I'm grinning like an idiot.
It's legit laugh-out-loud funny.
Shaun legit makes a deal with a duck with slices of bread. That's just the first in a series of LOLs. When Shaun and his flock -- disguised as humans, because of course they are -- sit down at a fancy French restaurant named Le Chou Brûlé (The Burnt Cabbage), things go horribly, hilariously wrong. Despite their best efforts, they behave as sheep in a fancy French restaurant would. Props my lil' homeboy Timmy for shoving his face in the chocolate cake like a true rockstar.
Parents will enjoy it, too.
There's a cat in the animal containment center that does a pretty spot-on Hannibal Lecter impression. 'Nuff said.
This little dog will steal your heart.Aardman
Slip is a snaggletoothed stray pup Shaun meets his first day in The Big City. He meets up with her again when he's captured by Trumper and put in the pound. When a couple comes to adopt a pet at the animal containment center, Slip is immediately overlooked for her matted fur and snaggletooth -- and it's SO heartbreaking. She just wants a forever family. But this little pup's spirit will not be broken, and her resilience will inspire you... and probably make you cry.
SO WILL THIS BABY SHEEP.
I honestly could have watched an entire movie about Timmy the Sheep. Timmy eating cake (he loves cake!). Timmy saying Baaaa. Timmy causing mischief (that's already a show, but whatever). Timmy being goddamn adorable. I'd watch it all AND buy the merch!
This song is pure joy.
As in, I can't stop singing it to myself. IT'S SO CATCHY. Not to mention, it could be a serious Oscar contender.
Everyday does feel like summer with you, Shaun. It really, really does.
"Shaun The Sheep Movie" hits U.S. theaters on August 5.