June 10, 2010

Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind (2010)

I TRY TO MAKE IT a personal policy to review only full-length feature films at this blog (hence its name).

However, I’ll make an exception on the rare occasion – which is exactly what I’m doing today by reviewing a brand-new collection of episodes from Aardman Animations’ Shaun the Sheep, entitled Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind.


Currently seen in the US as 5-minute vignettes between shows on the Disney Channel, Shaun the Sheep features the adventures of Shaun and his flock of followers on a farm. While these sheep act like plain ol’ sheep when their farmer’s around, they do very non-sheep things when he’s out of sight – such as walk on hind legs, play games, use tools, operate machinery, or hatch wacky plans to solve prickly predicaments.

Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind includes six episodes:
  • Shaun Encounters – the farm is invaded by two little aliens who cause trouble for Shaun and the gang.
  • The Bull – the farm’s bull sees red in various items on the farm, much to the chagrin of the sheep but to the delight of the farm’s three mischievous pigs.
  • Hiccups – Shirley, the biggest sheep in Shaun’s flock, gets an incurable case of the hiccups.
  • Bitzer Puts His Foot In It – Bitzer, the farmer’s loyal dog and sheep wrangler, must guard the farmer’s newly set cement from the sheep’s antics.
  • Save the Tree – Shaun and the sheep try frantically to prevent the farmer from chopping down their favorite tree.
  • The Visitor – an alien’s spaceship breaks down on the farm, and the sheep try to help him get back home.

Don’t let the fact that Shaun the Sheep airs mainly during Disney Channel’s preschool-age programs fool you – its comedy appeals to all ages, including adults.

Not a word is spoken in Shaun’s shorts, not even by the farmer (who just grumbles and yells in unintelligible gibberish) – the comedy is all done through silent-movie-type sight gags and gestures, often with very funny results.

And while kids will eat up the wacky situations and laugh-out-loud payoffs, parents will appreciate the subtle jokes the team at Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run) has added for grown-ups, including hilarious nods to Spinal Tap and Riverdance.

The next time you’re looking for something to share with your kids, be they toddler or tween, check out Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind. Ewe won’t be disappointed.


What did Dash think?
While I couldn’t get Dash to pinpoint his favorite episode on the DVD, he did say that “they’re all funny.” He also walked around with the DVD box for days following our first viewing, and he now wants the theme song on the next CD mix I make for him.

Will your kids like it?
Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind should appeal to viewers of any age in your house. That being said, depending on your sensitivities, be aware there’s one brief shot of the farmer’s naked derriere, and in one episode the solution to a problem is sheep dung. (Then again, what child doesn’t laugh at poop and butt jokes?)

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
I think she’d find it fun viewing, and a good opportunity to share a laugh with the kids.

Say, “Probe!”

Buy Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind from Half.com >>

Rent Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind from Netflix >>


James (SeattleDad) said...

Cool, we are looking for short episodes on video to show Lukas and this sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the heads up.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

These are very well done. I agree that the silent visual nature of the comedy makes it appealing to everyone.

My favorite one ever is the one where Shawn had to go into the house to retrieve the baby sheep's favorite stuffed animal from the sleeping farmer all the while trying to outwit the house cat.

The final solution - where he takes wool from his own body to make a yarn ball to distract the cat (and the look on the cat's face which goes from evil to unbelievable joy) is the best kind of slapstick comedy around.

Gemma said...

Awww... this sounds like my kind of viewing. Hope to see this w. the boys soon.


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