The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SCHOOL HOLIDAYS -

The si­lence of the lambs is what makes Shaun the Sheep Movie a de­light. Aard­man An­i­ma­tions Wal­lace & Gromit, Arthur Christ­mas) have used both dia­logue and CGI in their time, but they go right back to ba­sics with this dia­logue-free, stop­mo­tion an­i­mated movie based on their wildly popular TV se­ries.

It’s pure vis­ual sto­ry­telling in the spirit of the si­lent come­dies of Chap­lin and Keaton.

The hu­man char­ac­ters don’t speak, in­stead con­vers­ing in gar­bled quasi-speech as used in the films of French mime and film­maker Jac­ques Tati, be­cause words would break the mood of in­no­cent fun.

Shaun and his woolly com­pan­ions don’t speak be­cause, well, they’re sheep – though, luck­ily for mov­ing the plot for­ward, they can read.

The premise here is that the rou­tine of farm life un­der the Farmer and his dog Bitzer is weary­ing for Shaun and his flock.

When their plot to trick the Farmer into giv­ing them a day off goes awry, the man ends up in hos­pi­tal in The Big City suf­fer­ing from am­ne­sia.

While life on the an­i­mal farm de­scends into Or­wellian an­ar­chy – it’s the pigs who come out on top, of course – Shaun, Bitzer and the sheep make their way into town.

Here they at­tract the at­ten­tion of the vil­lain of the piece, an an­i­mal con­tain­ment pa­trol­man who lords it over a high-se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity for un­lucky dogs, cats, tur­tles and gold­fish, and would love to add some live­stock to his col­lec­tion.

The vis­ual gags are beau­ti­fully done. To elude de­tec­tion, the an­i­mals dis­guise them­selves as hu­mans and it’s hard to sup­press gig­gles dur­ing scenes set in a fancy restau­rant, a hair­dress­ing sa­lon and an op­er­at­ing theatre.

The film is here for the school hol­i­days, but it’s the fool­ish adult who doesn’t come along for the ride.

A scene from Sheep Movie.

Shaun the

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