03-14-2020, 02:10 AM
A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Directors: Will Becher and Richard Phelan
Voice cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Kate Harbour and Rich Webber
While most animated features starring anthropomorphic animals tend to resort cliched topes to keep things interesting, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon doesn’t even attempt to pull wool over your eyes that way.
No, this is a movie about a sheep, his flock, a dog, and a farmer who mostly communicates with grunts and ‘Ah ha!’. And boy will it have you bleating with laughter.
Although it is a sequel of sorts to 2015’s Shaun The Sheep Movie, Farmegeddon pretty much stands alone in terms of story. Here, a UFO lands in the town of Mossingham and the mysterious alien that comes out winds up in Shaun (Justin Fletcher) and the Flock’s barn.
Shaun then befriends the alien, called Lu-La (Amalia Vitale), and decides to help her get home to her planet, with the help of Bitzer the sheepdog (John Sparkes). But a group of alien-hunting government-types in black suits are hunting the alien as well.
Meanwhile, the Farmer (also Sparkes) hatches a plan to turn his farm into an alien-themed park called, you guessed it, Farmageddon, so he can earn money to buy a new harvester.
Does that mean the world is going to be destroyed by a farm?
Shaun The Sheep has always stood out amongst the flock. After all, this is a franchise that stars a stop-motion animated sheep with close to no dialogue at all. Shaun was first introduced in Oscar-winning animated short film A Close Shave in 1995, one of Nick Park’s Wallace And Gromit shorts. Shaun then spun-off into his own hugely successful series, as well as two other feature-length movies.
If you’re familiar with Shaun, you’d know what to expect from this movie – lots of bleating, grunting, sighing, barking, oinking, and very little spoken dialogue. There are also plenty of scenes that would seem silly and flippant if done by other shows, but which somehow seem completely hilarious when executed by a clay stop-motion animated sheep.
Perhaps the lack of dialogue helps – without someone to spout exposition or crack a memorable quip, the directors Will Becher and Richard Phelan really have to rely on the visuals to convey a message or joke, and they do so brilliantly. I don’t think I’ve laughed as loud as I did over a sheep hitting his head on a metal bar than I did in this movie.
Get away from her, you sheep!
As expected, the UF, sci-fi and alien Easter eggs are peppered all over the place, with nods to Dr Who, E.T., The X-Files, Close Encounters With The Third Kind and many more for geeks to spot. These Easter Egg moments, as well as some ingeniously animated action sequences, help to pad the film to its desired feature length, though by the time you reach the end of the almost 90 minute movie you'll be dying to have a conversation, any conversation, with someone just so you can hear an actual word being spoken instead of being grunted or bleated.
All in all, Farmageddon is a fun enough family movie that is worth rounding up the flock, I mean, family for, especially during these school holidays. Don't worry if you are not familiar with Shaun and the Flock in the first place – you'll still enjoy this because of the shear craziness of it all.