The word sheep is often to describe people who are dependent on others.
However, in Nick Park’s ‘A Close Shave’, the sheep play a crucial role in the plot and also caused much of the humour in the film. Without the sheep, the films would not be as effective and the jokes would not be as funny. The film opens with Gromit knitting in the evening, Shaun dropping out of Preston’s truck and Wendolene’s shop selling yarn suggesting that sheep and wool are central to the animation.Shaun is a small and thin sheep who was named by Wallace after being shorn. Here, a pun is used because the two words are homonyms and this makes Shaun stand out from the other sheep because he has a name and because he looks different. At first, Shaun appears to be an irritating sheep.
For example, when Shaun first arrives at Wallace’s house, he eats anything he sees such as leaves of a plant, part of Wallace’s newspaper, and the stuffing of a chair. By eating so many non-edible things, the whole house becomes ruined.Even though Shaun is responsible for destroying his house, Wallace still takes him in and gives him a wash which accidentally turns into shave. After most of his fur has been shorn, Shaun looks very pathetic and trembles because he is cold. However, by the end of the film, he has transformed from only a simple character to a hero by swinging himself on a weight and saving Gromit, Wallace, Wendolene and the sheep’s lives.
But after the victory, he is still being a nuisance by...
eating Wallace’s cheese. Throughout the film, the sheep do not speak, but instead make occasional ‘baas’.Nick Park makes Gromit more like a human being by giving him human qualities, such as reading newspapers, flying planes and doing jigsaw puzzles while he makes the sheep normal animals. The majority of the sheep show no expression at all, but, when Gromit is left alone in Preston’s truck, Shaun closes his eyes during his ‘baa’. This indicates that he feels sorry for Gromit. Also Shaun may not show as much human intelligence as Gromit does but he shows his emotions through his body language and movement of his eyes.
For example, when he is cold after being shaved by Wallace’s Knit-O-Matic, his legs shake to show the machine has made him feel cold. At times he also does seem to show intelligence too. For example, he pauses and seems to read the word ‘push’ on the dog flap before entering Wallace’s home for the first time. Later, after he knocks Preston into the grinding machine and saves everyone else, his ‘baa’ and his half closed eyes make it obvious that Shaun is happy and proud of his heroic achievement. The sheep help both Wallace and Gromit in the film and, by doing so, they become more likeable characters.
For example, when Gromit goes to jail, the co-operation between Wallace and the sheep helps him escape from jail. After helping Gromit escape from jail, Wallace accidentally slips on a bar of soap lying on the ground. This causes Gromit
and all the sheep, standing on top of each other’s shoulders, to tumble down. Here, a ‘point of view’ shot is taken so we see what Wallace sees after he falls onto the ground, creating a comedy because the audience can imagine how painful it will be for Wallace as all the sheep land on top of him.Also, during the chase in ‘A Close Shave’, the formation the sheep made is amazing and this shows that the sheep are clever and creative, and not just simple stupid creatures but very skilled acrobats.
Even though the sheep eventually assist Gromit in escaping from his prison cell, Shaun was actually partly responsible for Gromit being in jail. Preston uses Shaun as bait to make Gromit think that the sheep is in danger, leading Gromit to the hole in the wall where his picture is taken and then used as a piece of evidence of Gromit killing sheep.However, to make up for this, Shaun not only looks after Wallace while Gromit is in jail but also helps rescue Gromit. Furthermore, the sheep imitate Wallace a lot in the film. For instance, when Wallace weeps day after day because Gromit went to jail, the sheep cry too as a group.
Also, during the chase, when Wallace salutes to Gromit, all the sheep do so too. This makes the film more humorous by displaying the fact that sheep are animals that copy one another. However, as well as humour, Wallace’s emotions are also exaggerated.For example, when Wallace cries, the sheep crying along with him emphasize Wallace grief. Even though sheep are often thought of as clumsy and stupid animals, Shaun seems to be quite clever. After Preston begins driving the truck with both Shaun and Gromit in it, Shaun immediately tries to jump out of the truck and then attempts to cling onto the truck looking at Gromit sympathetically.
When Gromit is in jail, he is the sheep who saws open the bars to help him escape. This suggests that Shaun is bright because he is only a sheep but can use an electric saw.When Wallace opens the back of the truck Preston is driving, he is the first to get on Wallace’s motorcycle. This may show that he is a brave sheep and understands that Wallace wants to save them. When Wallace, Wendolene and the sheep are about to get dumped into the bath, Shaun seems to foresee this and holds on to the edges of the cart before it tips over.
When Wallace is being sucked into ‘Preston’s Knit-O-Matic’, Shaun helps Wallace out and adjusts it so Preston would get sucked in instead. Nick Park uses all these situations to illustrate Shaun’s intelligence.Overall, the sheep are crucial to the film. By making sheep, characters that are usually regarded as daft animals, play a vital role and look cute, Nick Park has produced a film that hooks its audience well.
Shaun saving the day but then being a nuisance by eating Wallace’s cheese makes sheep seem like clever animals that can be lively and become a burden. A lot of the comedy in the
- A Doll's House
- Black-And-White Films
- Debut Albums
- Tess Of The D'urbervilles
- The Play
- Thomas Hardy
- Three Witches
- Time Travel
- Tragic Hero
- Waiting For Godot
- sports event
- The bell
- Thank You
- Classical Concert