The Bock’s Office: ‘Shaun the Sheep’ gets baa-ck to basics of cartoon cleverness | CraigDailyPress.com

The Bock’s Office: ‘Shaun the Sheep’ gets baa-ck to basics of cartoon cleverness

Shaun takes aim at the farmer, setting in motion a chain reaction of adventures in "Shaun the Sheep Movie." The movie is about a restless sheep who has to venture out from the farm to rescue his owner.

With little yellow creatures and manifestations of emotions getting all the attention this summer, you may have missed one of the more undemanding animated pleasures of the season. It may not be the biggest resident of the movie pasture, but "Shaun the Sheep Movie" could be the best of the bunch.

If you go…

"Shaun the Sheep Movie," rated PG

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

Running time: 85 minutes

Starring the voices of: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili and Kate Harbour.

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.

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It's a peaceful, quiet life on Mossy Bottom Farm, and that's what has a sheep named Shaun (voice of Justin Fletcher) in the doldrums. The daily grind overseen by the farmer and his loyal canine companion, Bitzer (John Sparkes), has the entire flock desiring a day off.

When the sheep devise a plot to get this respite, everything goes off without a hitch — until the farmer winds up transported away to the big city, from where he may not return.

Bitzer and Shaun both head for the metropolis to save their owner, but it will take even more help to find their way home with everyone intact.

If Ferris Bueller were covered in wool and slept in a barn, the bright and mischievous Shaun would likely give him a run for his money as the sneakiest sheep in the pasture. Voice actor Fletcher never says a true word, but the giggles, groans and occasional bleat are enough for Shaun, as well as the noises uttered by his younger lamb cousin, Timmy.

Sparkes provides a series of gruff ruffs for the fastidious Bitzer, as well as a number of dopey, mumbly almost-words as the farmer, who is blissfully unaware of his predicament after a knock on the noggin leaves him wandering the streets.

The city may be no place for a sheep, but the group adjusts to urban life nonetheless, bundled up in human clothes, careful to avoid the watchful eye of a psychotic animal control officer (Omid Djalili).

Of course, when you want to keep a low profile in a restaurant full of people, it's probably best not to eat the menus and belch like you have a year's worth of gas.

The big screen adaptation of Shaun's TV adventures — in itself a spin-off of "Wallace and Gromit" — employs all the charm of stop-motion animation with the high energy that today's viewers crave.

The trends of high profile celebrity voices and increasingly flashy designs have their place, but there will always be a place for good old-fashioned cartoon shenanigans. Simple plots, silly outcomes and sweet interludes are something that everyone enjoys when they're done correctly, and the team at Aardman Animations — also responsible for "Chicken Run," "Arthur Christmas" and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" — may have their greatest work yet here with a consistently hilarious and altogether entertaining romp for all ages.

If cartoons like "Inside Out" are the future — and that's not a complaint — "Shaun the Sheep Movie" reminds us of the style of Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and other classic characters while still being fresh enough to appeal to the younger generations. No one paying for a ticket to this is getting fleeced.

Sorry, but you knew a pun like that was coming sooner or later.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @TheBocksOffice.

If you go…

“Shaun the Sheep Movie,” rated PG

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars

Running time: 85 minutes

Starring the voices of: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili and Kate Harbour.

Now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.

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