Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shaun the Sheep

I have just left the movie theater after watching "Shaun the Sheep" with my nephew.  He has been introducing me to these new characters. I grew up on Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Super Mario, etc.  Anyhow, the movie was pretty good actually.  It has no bad words, in fact, the movie is a "silent movie." Characters make some sounds mimicking speech, but there is no direct nor intelligible dialog. The audience is left to interpret the movie and what is happening based on body language, the set up of scenes and the background music.  I believe that is great movie making!  Without the use of speech, the audience understood the movie. It can reinforce the idea that human beings can communicate in many ways and do not necessarily need speech.

The movie begins with introducing the characters by going back in time. We see the young "Farmer" character, "Shaun the sheep" and others and how they got to know each other. Then we see Shaun planning a bucket list of sort. He plans to escape the farm and visit the city. However, while planning it he causes the Farmer's trailer to become unbraked.  It rolls away. The Farmer's trusty sheepdog "Bitzer" goes after his master, but things seem hopeless.  The trailer goes rolling away into the city. The Famer is asleep and is unaware of it until he wakes up and notices everything is moving.  The trailer comes to a halt and the Farmer opens the door but is hit on the head with a lamp post causing him to pass out.  He is taken to the hospital as Bitzer followed but is unable to enter due to a no-dog policy at the hospital. While at the hospital, the Farmer is diagnosed as having "no-memory" or amnesia. Bitzer tries to enter by dressing up as a surgeon but gets discovered after the real surgeon enters the operating room he finds himself in.  He is caught and taken to the animal control center.  During this time, a doctor enters the Farmer's room with tools.  The Farmer gets scared and escapes from the hospital.  In the meantime, Shaun and the rest of the flock make an attempt to rescue the Farmer. They go to the city on a bus but come across a shady figure who works in animal control. His name is "Trumper." He at first notices something suspicious as the sheep try to hide. The sheep enter a clothing store and dress up as humans.  Trumper walks in but does not notice.  However, he does notice that one of the sheep posing as a human female drops a purse and taps the disguised sheep on the back to hand it back. However, the sheep think they were found out and breathe a sigh of relief when that is not the case.

The sheep enter a restaurant and begin imitating other guests by burping, knocking silverware and doing other things they believe are normal human actions.  Instead, they are just imitating someone at another table. However, Shaun is discovered when his sweater gets caught and unweaves. The animal control agent Trumper is called in and he captures Shaun.  Shaun is taken to the animal control center and is locked in a jail cell.  Other animals are also there. The rest of the sheep flock then make plans to go rescue Shaun. They do so by using the "woman" disguise to fool Trumper.  After capturing Shaun in the restaurant, Trumper recognized the sheep dressed as a woman who he handed the purse to back at the store and leaves her his business card.  This is how the sheep know where to go find Shaun.  Anyhow, at the animal control center they help Shaun and Bitzer escape. Trumper is locked in an animal cell and is livid.

After escaping, Shaun and the sheep try to find the Farmer. Little did they know that the Farmer ended up in a barber shop and was given a job after he gave a nice haircut to the man the sheep were imitating in the restaurant who appears to be a celebrity.  Shaun and the sheep find him at the barber shop and try to get him back, but he tells Shaun to go away using sounds and moving his arm in a "shoo go away" sort of way.  Shaun and Bitzer get emotional thinking the Farmer wants no part of them and leave.  They end up in a junkyard wondering what happened.  The Farmer then proceeds to give haircuts but hears singing from far away in the form of "bah's."  This singing came from the sheep at the junk yard who were trying to cheer up a baby sheep named Timmy.  The Farmer walks to a window to get a listen and seems nostalgic. He then pulls out his medical record that he had in his pocket which has his photo, the diagnosis as "no memory" and the name "Mr. X."  The Farmer crumbles up that paper and throws it out.  It ends up at the junk yard due to the wind and momentum. The sheep pick it up along with other trash and burn it in order to keep warm but Bitzer notices the Farmer's face and prevents it from burning.  They realize the diagnosis "no memory" on the paper and become happy because now they know that the Farmer did not reject them because he hated them, but because he did not remember them.

They then plan to rescue him by making a fake horse in the fashion of the "Trojan Horse" mythology. The sheep go to the barber shop and being to jump over a fence in order to cause bystanders to fall asleep by "counting sheep."  The Farmer also falls asleep and the sheep grab him and put him on the fake horse.  While they are doing this, Trumper is freed and is on a mission for revenge.  He goes out into the street to find Bitzer and Shaun. While doing this, he enters in the park and encounters the fake horse with the Farmer on top.  He gets convinced that nothing suspicious is going on until he noises some sheep shedding on the street and starts to inspect a hole in the horse's bottom and looks in.  He notices the sheep inside and gets upset.  However, he gets stuck in the hole and then pops out and begins to chase the sheep who go back into the trailer and latch onto a bus to head back to the farm. When they return to the farm they believe Trumper is gone but he was under the trailer. He goes after them as they try to hide in a toolshed, but Trumper uses a front loader and picks up the toolshed.  He tries to dump it into a quarry ditch but fails. The Farmer recovers his memory after Shaun puts some manure over his nose waking him up.  The Farmer then helps the sheep escape. Shaun goes into the front loader and pulls the toolshed away from the cliff.  However, Trumper appears and grabs Shaun and throws him in the air towards the quarry ditch but the Farmer catches him.  A bull then comes running and hits Trumper causing him to fly in the air missing the quarry ditch but landing in a pile of manure.  The movie then ends with the Famer, Shaun, the Sheep, Bitzer and others celebrating each other as a farm family.

Shaun the Sheep is a cute movie and fun to watch. unfortunately, when I went not too many people were present.  There were probably ten people scattered with me and my nephew in the front.  As stated before, the movie is a silent one but one can understand the storyline. The movie is overall a clean movie, but some might find the use of manure and the scene with the fake horse's bottom hole a bit vulgar. Nevertheless, this movie is great for kids and adults alike. The moral of the story is to appreciate your family and where you come from. Christians can use it to teach kids about the Prodigal Son who wanted to see the big city and lost his way only to come back to the forgiving Father.  The photo above was taken with my cell phone.

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