The United States got out dose of the Shaun the Sheep Movie a bit later than some other countries, with our theatrical release on August 5th and the DVD/Blu-ray release coming up this Tuesday, November 24th.
Thanks to Lionsgate Home Entertainment, I was granted an early release copy of the [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD] edition that arrived last week and I took time to watch last night.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to catch the film in the theater during the short time it was there here in the US, you’re in for a treat! The premise of the film is that Shaun and his fellow farm-dwelling sheep friends want to take a day off from the typical routine. After a series of calamities, this plan for a day off takes all of them, the Farmer and Bitzer the dog into The Big City where much of the movie takes place. There, the sheep try to blend in with city life, while trying to avoid Trumper, a power mad Animal Containment Officer. The Farmer unintentionally tries his hand at a new career and it’s up to Shaun, Timmy and the rest of the sheep to make sure they all get home.
The box reports an estimated running time of 85 minutes, and astoundingly the film moves along quickly and humorously with no dialogue. Sounds from the animals and people, plenty of the character expressions that Aardman is famous for to make the characters come to life, but aside from the amusing songs throughout the film, there are no real words in the film. It was quite an impressive feat, and as far as I know, a new one for one of Aardman’s big theatrical releases. Chicken Run and the Wallace & Gromit films all have dialogue.
The special features and beyond
The box came with two disks, a DVD and a Blu-ray copy of the film, as well as a voucher with a code for the Digital HD Edition.
Making the Shaun movie: This was a making of documentary about the film that lasts about 12 minutes, with comments from various members of the production team and even some words from Shaun (and Wallace and Gromit!) creator Nick Park himself. The making of takes you through script writing and story, model making, set building, animating, voice recording, music and reviewing the final cut.
Meet the characters: In approximately 5 minutes, this segment introduces you to several characters in the film: Shaun, Slip, Timmy and Trumper.
Join Shaun behind the scenes: In 3 minutes of original content (not lifted from earlier Making), you follow Shaun from how the claymation characters move to a quick explanation of how different models are built, learning how the humans and sheep characters are different.
Meet the crew: If you saw the earlier Making short, you can likely skip this one, as the commentary from the crew is duplicated here. But you do get great perspective from the crew if you just want to watch this one on its own, or are looking for a quick behind the scenes refresher.
Parody Poster Gallery: In this little feature, you can page through several parody movie posters based on other blockbusters that were in theaters around the same time as Shaun the Sheep. Enjoy little Timmy on the cover of Ant-lamb, the sheep crew as they star in Fantastic Flock or catch death-defying Shaun featured on the poster for Mutton Impossible: Rogue Bacon.
Digital HD Edition
While waiting for the Blu-ray to load up, I took the opportunity to pull out my Android tablet and download the Digital HD version from Vudu. The process was straight forward, and by the time the Blu-ray menu popped up, I was on my way to downloading it to my tablet as well. It’s really great when the offer for a digital copy works so well.
If you’re outside the US, you’ve probably had the opportunity to pick up the film already, but if you’re in the US your chance comes up this Tuesday, November 24th. You can likely pre-order it already from your favorite vendor, or hop out on Tuesday to pick it up directly. I highly recommend it, I’m sure I’ll be watching it again really soon.