Film review by Jason Day of A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, the Aardman animated movie about the title character who helps an alien get home before a sinister organisation get their hands on her.
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Head sheep Shaun leads a flock of rowdy ruminants, the most mischievous mammals on Mossy Bottom Farm. They refuse to be shepherded into a corner by the steely eyed sheepdog, regularly breaking ranks to throw a frisbee, go ballooning or cook up a BBQ.
But when a UFO lands nearby, Shaun steps up and becomes all serious to help lost alien Lu La, especially when a mysterious organisation appear who are intent on capturing her.
Review, by @Reelreviewer
One small step for lamb.
Close encounters of the furred kindTaglines from A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019)
Hard to believe it’s now 30 years since animator writer/producer/director Nick Park released A Grand Day Out starring his most famous creations, clumsy inventor Wallace and his smart, mute mutt Gromit. It won him an Oscar nomination for best Animated Short Film (his other one, Creature Comforts, went on to win the statuette).
Time and innumerable anime, Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks productions have since past, each steadily developing animated film technology.
But Parks’ Aardman Animations – commendably – remain rooted to the antique, painstaking, stop-motion with continually charming concoctions created.
Shaun is a silent sheep and his adventures are wordless escapades that appeal to a silent film fan such as I and have universal appeal, especially to audiences with young children and toddlers getting a grasp of language.
Amidst the grunts, growls and gibbering of the other characters, the only entity who speaks any discernible sense is Lu La the lost alien, who speaks her name, her home planet of Tupa and, most adorably, refers to her UFO as “Zoom Zoom”.
This leads to a fantastic, phonetic finale. As the evil scientist clambers to the top of the Farmageddon sign to snatch Lu La, the letters of the sign are dropped on to her. She screams the sound of each letter as they land on her in sequence. As the final two are lobbed, toppling her, she screams “NO!” and crashes to the ground.
Sound is further brought to the fore with a great soundtrack that includes The Chemical Brothers ‘Outta Control’.
There are some grand gags throughout – the Farmer’s jam is made by Roswell’s, as in the city where a UFO allegedly landed in the 1940’s; Lu La gets high on E numbers during a supermarket sweep – but this isn’t top drawer Aardman, in terms of fun or animation.
You get the feeling that the script was plotted out on a fag packet and the gaps filled in as the cameras started to roll – it’s fun, but a rushed, punk job.
Still, as I said before, the young ones will be delighted but the adults will be hankering for Wallace and Gromit.
Cast & credits
Directors: Will Becher, Richard Phelan. 1hr 26mins/86mins. Aardman Animations/Amazon Prime Video/Anton/StudioCanal. (U)
Producer: Paul Kewley.
Writers: Joe Brown, Mark Burton.
Camera: Charles Copping.
Music: Tom Howe.
Camera: Matt Perry.
Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Kate Harbour, David Holt, Amalia Vitale, Chris Morrell, Joe Sugg.