I considered Aardmans last stop motion effort 'Pirates - in an adventures with scientists' to be a bit of a let down when it was released three years ago and wondered if they had gone off the boil a little bit by trying to appeal to the mass market and thus diluting their witty humour as a result. However after 80 odd minutes of Shaun the Sheep I am happy to report that they are back on track.
Shaun is extremely well animated and manages to keep the story ticking along and funny enough to keep your interest without really feeling stretched. Considering as the film has no real dialogue to speak of that is no mean feat, and is reliant on top notch production design, expressive animation and a script that is entertaining and funny without being overly ridiculous. Whilst the Shaun the Sheep/Timmy Time TV shorts are aimed at young viewers, there is a decent amount of underlying humour here that adults will also engage with and thus it doesn't insult your intelligence the way some films do.
After Aardmans infamous falling out with DreamWorks (who wanted them to Americanize Wallace & Gromit) I did wonder if Aardman had sold out for the mass market after feeling the Sony Pictures distributed Pirates had a whiff of compromise to it, and that's partly why I felt Pirates fell a bit flat. However Aardman have teamed up with an independent European distributor for Shaun and as a result it seems they were allowed to make the film they wanted to make this time round. In effect I was not disappointed with Shaun, the simple but hilarious premise of the TV show is expanded successfully to the big screen with no noticeable compromises for the mass market. That the film is also dialogue free should make it an easy sell abroad too and I'm glad to see the film has been well received.
So well done to Aardman for making one of 2015's most enjoyable, entertaining and amusing films so far.