Now that I have that rant out of the way, let's talk about this movie. For all intents and purposes, Shaun the Sheep Movie is a movie that shouldn't work. It's based off the British TV series Shaun the Sheep, which consists of a whole bunch of 7-minute episodes. Stretching a 7-minute episode into an 85-minute long movie is quite the task by Aardman, especially because neither the TV show or the movie has any dialogue whatsoever. That's right. This movie has no dialogue. All we get is grunts, sighs, and mumbles from the humans and animal noises from the sheep, dogs, cows, ducks, etc. This shouldn't work. It should be a project that stays as a TV show and not a movie. But it does work. Oh does work. And not only does it work, but it's absolutely brilliant. The story is about a flock of sheep, a dog, and their farmer owner. The sheep are really tired of everyday farm life, so they conjure up a plan to get rid of the farmer. They put him to sleep, put him in a trailer, and send the trailer down the road into the city. But then they quickly realize that this was a bad plan and they want the farmer back, so they head into the city to rescue him.
Finally, I want to talk about what is probably the most important part of this movie. If you haven't gotten the vibe already, the feel of this movie is very much like a silent movie. Silent movies have no dialogue. Occasionally they will hold up a sign, write something down, or show some text on the screen, which is exactly the types of things that this movie does. But what really makes a silent movie the most effective is the music. Watching a movie with absolutely no sound is often pretty boring, but the music playing in the background is what propels the movie forward and that's the case here. They'll often do this clever thing where the music in the movie is actually being played or sung by a character, which is fun, especially when they bounce back and forth between that and the music being the soundtrack of the film only. But like I've just mentioned, this movie has a lot of different emotions and the way they express that is through the music. At one moment, you'll have the characters running around, doing something, and the music will be fast and up-tempo. Then a sad moment will happen. The farmer will feel lost or the sheep will be crying and along with that you'll have sad music to drive home that emotion. Occasionally you'll even get a song with words that will give you a sentence or two about the emotion a certain character is feeling that plays just like a line of dialogue in a silent movie. It works. The music is just perfect.
Overall, based on the reviews that the movie had as well as my personal track record with this genre of animation, I went into this movie expecting it to be a good movie. But even I was surprised at how amazing this movie was. Like I said, this is a movie that shouldn't work. It's based off of a TV show that consists of 7-minute long episodes with no dialogue. That's hard to translate into an feature-length movie. It's for that very reason that movies based off of video games and board games often fail. But the fact that this doesn't fail is an impressive feat in and of itself. And the fact that it is an amazing movie that's both hilarious, emotional, and moving with an absolutely excellent story that flows perfectly makes it that much more impressive. I like Aardman Animation's films. Chicken Run is great. So is Wallace and Gromit. I consider Arthur Christmas a modern-day Christmas classic. I even enjoyed The Pirates! Band of Misfits. This is a great studio that consistently puts out great films. But I am going to boldly proclaim this as their best movie. It's close, but I will stand by that. Usually there's at least one animated movie that sneaks into my best movies of the year list and right now this movie is right up there with Inside Out as a solid candidate to make that list. As such, I will give Shaun the Sheep Movie the same grade I gave Inside Out: a 9/10.