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Trivia / Goofs
Summary / Analysis
Times of India
Bored with the farm's daily routine, Shaun (Fletcher) decides to take a day off. However, his plans go awry when a trailer that the soundly asleep Farmer (Sparkes) is placed in, rolls away to the city. The Farmer also loses his memory when he bumps his head. It's now up to Shaun, his fellow sheep and a few mates to rescue the Farmer, restore his memory and bring life to normal at Mossy Bottom Farm.
For those of you who are new to these characters (the film is a feature-length excursion based on the children's TV series, of the same name), it is important to know that there are no dialogues in the movie save the odd grunt or vocalization from a character or three meant to convey basic emotions. Additionally, stop-motion studio Aardman Animations (Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit, Arthur Christmas and more) have kept things pretty simple and sweet - looks-wise - in the film. And that visual tenderness is matched by the simplicity of the story line itself. This is quite essential, given the lack of verbal content.
Shaun is certainly the most independent and smartest out of all the animals in the farm and when one day a bus rolls by bearing an advertisement for a vacation, Shaun makes up his mind to take that coveted day off. But just when things are going according to plan, Shaun's potential day off turns into a missing-person hunt for the Farmer. Shaun also gets by with a little help from his (sheep) friends, Bitzer and a stray named Slip (Hands). And all the while, they have to avoid being locked up by an obsessed animal-control worker.
There are a few clever messages slipped into the story. Such as the subtle impart that (in Shaun's case) with freedom comes responsibility. There are other poignant moments, like a scene where stray animals are put up for adoption, and we see via their actions just how keen they are to be welcomed into a new home. All in all, fun viewing for kids.
One of the film’s directors, Richard (“Golly”) Starzak, says: “The phrase we stuck to for Shaun was ‘He swims against the tide.’ Or ‘He’s pretty bright -- for a sheep.’ His fellow director Mark Burton, who had first worked with Aardman as a writer on Chicken Run, remembers: “When I came on board, the basic idea for the film had been hatched. It was simply: “let’s make a Shaun the Sheep film -- with no dialogue. And I thought: ‘that’s such a crazy idea. I’ve got to be involved with that."
As for the lack of dialogue, producer Kewley says: “I remember Golly saying to me we should do a Shaun movie, and I thought he was nuts! But then I realised we could do it. The good thing about having no dialogue is that it stretches the audience. It can play both younger or older.” Aardman co-founder Peter Lord observes: “The conventional solution would have been a voice-over, so it was a bold choice to go with no dialogue.”
As the world knows, the stop-motion animation for which Aardman films are famed is a notoriously slow, labour-intensive process, one that requires personnel and extraordinary patience. To the layman, this deliberate pace is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Aardman process. Becher says the movie required 20 different animators, and up to 30 model makers; the entire crew numbered about 100, which is small for a feature film.
The film’s two directors cast animators carefully, according to their strengths: comedy, action or drama. “All animators have their favourite characters,” Becher notes.“I love comedy and comic timing. Personally, I like Bitzer and The Farmer, and their relationship. I love Bitzer’s facial expressions, and who he is as a character. And I enjoy the fact that though we hear the farmer’s voice, he’s always incomprehensible.” While Shaun, The Farmer and Bitzer were central characters in the TV series, it was unanimously decided that more would be needed to flesh out the story over a feature-length film.
Twenty animators worked on the film.
Animators used to produce two seconds of footage everyday.
There are no dialogues in the movie.
Shaun is an intelligent sheep who resides with his flock at Mossy Bottom Farm. Tired of daily monotony on the farm, he gets together a plan. A plan for a day off to party, by tricking the farmer into going back to bed by counting the sheep repeatedly. Bit things go wrong. The trailer in which they put the farmer to bed accidentally rolls away, taking him the entire way into the big city. Bitzer, the farmer's dog, goes after him, ordering the sheep to stay on the farm until he returns.
In the city, the farmer receives a blow to the head and is hospitalized, where he is diagnosed with amnesia. Unaware of who he is, he leaves the hospital, eventually wandering into a hair salon, where he cuts a celebrity's hair as if he was shearing a sheep. The celebrity loves it, which leads the farmer to a new career as the mysterious hair stylist "Mr. X".
Meanwhile, the sheep find life impossible without the farmer, so Shaun sneaks on a bus to the city; the rest of the flock follow him on another bus. He manages to disguise them as people and they begin looking for the farmer, but Shaun is captured by Trumper, an over-zealous animal-control worker. Shaun is reunited with Bitzer in the animal lock-up, and with the help of a feral dog, called Slip, they escape. They find the farmer, but he doesn't recognise Shaun, who is heartbroken by his owner's hostility.
Shaun learns about the farmer's memory loss, and he and the flock devise a plan, which involves putting the farmer and everyone else to sleep with the sheep-counting trick, returning him to the trailer on a fake horse (really the sheep in an elaborate disguise), and hooking the trailer up to a bus returning to Mossy Bottom. The plan is initially successful, but they are pursued by Trumper who has become obsessed with "containing" them.
At the farm, the group hide in a shed, which Trumper tries to push into a nearby rock quarry. Fortunately, the farmer wakes up, regains his memory, and through teamwork, Trumper is defeated. The farmer and the animals have a renewed appreciation for each other, and the next day, the farmer cancels the day's routine activities. Slip leaves, but is adopted by a bus driver who finds her on the road. The animal-control service is turned into animal-protection center, and Trumper, no longer welcome there, finds a hilarious alternate means of work.