Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) John Sparkes, Justin Fletcher, Kate Harbour, Richard Webber, Jo Allen
Written by: Charles Hodges, Gareth Owen, Ian Carney, Chris Parker, Christopher Sadler, Sarah Ball
Directed by: Seamus Malone, Richard Webber, Lee Wilton
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 45
Date: 03/18/2013

Shaun the Sheep: We Wish Ewe a Merry Christmas (2010)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Where There's a Wool, There's a Way

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Shaun the Sheep first appeared in Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit short A Close Shave (1995). In 2007, Aardman Animations aired Shaun's own TV show, consisting of six-minute individual episodes. Wallace and Gromit are nowhere to be seen, and Nick Park is here only in an executive producer capacity. Now Shaun lives on a farm with his friends. A farmer (with glasses, and no eyes) runs the place with a sheepdog, Bitzer, at his side. The pigs are the troublemakers, though trouble can come from anywhere. There's barely any dialogue, except for grunts, giggles, and other sound effects. The humor is deadpan, but also slapstick, and the plots usually revolve around the animals trying to get a situation back in order before the farmer notices anything's amiss.

Lionsgate released this wonderful holiday collection of seven cartoons (running about 42 minutes total). It includes the Christmas episode -- which was the final one aired in December of 2010 -- entitled, "We Wish Ewe a Merry Christmas." It's the perfect combination of sweet, sentimental, and funny -- and not too long. In it, the farmer remembers the joyous Christmases of his childhood. He dresses up as Santa and leaves gifts for the animals, and they decide to do something wonderful for him as well.

There are also a couple of wintertime episodes, "Snowed In" and "Fireside Favorite" as well as another vaguely "chilly" episode, and "An Ill Wind." The other three are non-seasonal: "Bitzer's New Hat," "Chip Off the Old Block," and "Shirley Whirley." Extras include a sheep-shearing game, and a funny little "Timmy's Tune" music video.

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