Did you know that baby sheep use a paci? How about that pigs are hoodlums? Did you also know that sheep enjoy the fair, complete with cotton candy and silly photographs? If you didn’t, well you haven’t experienced the wonderfully humorous world of Shaun the Sheep!
From Aardman Studios, the creators of Wallace & Gromit, comes the silly antics of Shaun and his fellow sheep, as well as other mischievous animals on the farm, including the “in charge” sheepdog. For those not familiar, please allow me to introduce you to some of the wily characters! There is, of course, Shaun, who is a sheep on the lookout for fun and adventure; Shirley, the sheep, who really likes to eat; Timmy, the sweet little pacifier-sucking sheep; Bitzer, the sheepdog, who is in charge of the farm and always trying to clean up after trouble-making fun; the Farmer who, to be quite honest, doesn’t have a clue; and then, of course, the trouble-making pigs and the always-ready-for-fun flock of sheep. Believe me, this is not your average, everyday farm.
Shaun the Sheep: Sheep on the Loose is my first adventure into this crazy little farm world. I have to admit that the first episode, titled “Sheep on the Loose,” did not really do it for me, or reach out and grab me. However, as the episodes progressed, I began to enjoy the antics more and more. The one episode that stands out in my mind as a favorite is “Saturday Night Shaun.” This clip is complete with moving and groovy dancing and partying sheep. Then the pigs come in to crash the party and end up putting an end to the fun, but not before strutting their stuff with some break-dancing — yes, I did indeed say break-dancing pigs. Of course we have the farmer hearing the ruckus and checking out the barn, but mysteriously, every time he goes to open the barn door, all that is visible are sleeping sheep. Those are some downright smart sheep!
For fans of silent animation, this will be a perfect fit. In the beginning, I was reminded of Tom & Jerry, not because of the cat/mouse chasing, but the simple fact that most of the episodes rely on the visual aspects of comedy, rather than the verbal aspects. There are a few grunts and groans throughout, but that is the extent of the vocal talent.
From an adult perspective, I was not overly blown away by Shaun the Sheep, however my 7-year-old daughter enjoyed it and when I asked my almost 3-year-old son if he liked it, I received a nod and an “uh-huh.” There were indeed many giggles and much laughter (yes, even a bit from mom). With that being said, I feel that Sheep on the Loose is great for the younger crowd and parents will not be overly pained watching along.
Along with the six episodes of Shaun and his friends’ adventures, there is a truly delightful bonus segment that shows the making of the characters and the set for Shaun the Sheep. My daughter had asked me not too long ago how they made claymation movies and though I tried to explain it, actually viewing the process was perfect. I have to say that the business of claymation filmmaking must require great reserves of patience. The process is painstaking — a slight movement of the figures and then photographing it twelve times will equal one second of footage. It would drive me crazy! Insanity!
With that being said, Shaun the Sheep: Sheep on the Loose is an entertaining video for young children as well as many adults. With a total running time of 39 minutes, this is a fairly quick watch and will lead to the pushing of replay quite often.