If you’ve been following ccpopculture for a while, you might have noticed that kids’ films are rarely reviewed here. That’s not an accident; I’m simply aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a critic, and writing about children’s entertainment is most definitely a weakness.
When it comes to Shaun the Sheep, for instance, I can praise its dialogue-free humour, built out of silent-film-esque anarchic slapstick rather than cheap pop culture references (which are limited to an allusion to Silence of the Lambs and a very brief appearance of the ‘doge’ meme); a pleasant improvement on Aardman Animations’ overly-talky Chicken Run. Equally, I can shower plaudits on its gorgeous, tactile stop-motion animation, and note how closely its depiction of the ‘big city’ hews to my own childhood fantasies.
The critic’s main task is to share their own personal reaction which, in my case, boils down to: it was fine. I smiled. I laughed a couple times. But while Shaun the Sheep has plenty to offer adults, the only thing that matters is whether it entertains kids. I can’t speak with any confidence – I’m neither a father nor a psychic – but the children at my screening seemed to enjoy it well enough.