Aardman Animations has been adored by many since 1989, when Wallace and Gromit blasted off to space in A Grand Day Out. So it seems fitting that we return to the cosmos now, in 2019, for a brand new adventure.
Since his appearance in A Close Shave, Shaun the Sheep has become a national treasure, and is even the star of his own eponymous children’s series. His big screen debut came in 2015, simply titled Shaun the Sheep Movie, and I loved every minute of it.
So you can imagine I had high hopes for his return to cinemas, in A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. It was refreshing to see that Aardman had come up with a brand new story, as the sheep had already visited the big city, so it was time for an adventure on a much larger scale.
This time, Shaun and his group of friends meet an alien creature who crash landed onto Earth. The creature, known as Lu-La, ends up on the farm after she sneaks into the back of a pizza delivery moped and eats everything in it.
Naturally, Shaun and the flock were surprised by this as they were expecting pizzas, and ended up with Lu-La instead! She’s an incredibly mischievous character who delivers plenty of laughs as she tries to get to grips with things on Earth. I was utterly charmed by her character in a matter of minutes, as she’s so lovable.
Once again, Aardman have stunned with their animation process, and the attention to detail in Farmageddon is just as good as its predecessors. As ever I found myself thinking “How on earth have they done this?!” throughout the film. Not only did they have to create a farm and a town, but they also brought space to life once again.
It’s visually stunning, the soundtrack is great, and it’s impossible to look away from the screen. Something just draws you in to the fun, whimsical world of the farm and its surrounding areas. You never want it to end.
Whilst this is marketed as a family film, there are plenty of things to keep adults entertained too, due to its array of cultural references and idioms (just wait for the ‘bull in a china shop’ moment – brilliant stuff!) Its humour is suitable for all ages, which is truly the magic of Aardman.
There’s a lot going on in Farmageddon, but the pacing means we’re able to see three different stories going at at once without it feeling too cluttered. The first sees Shaun attempting to help Lu-La get home, the second sees the Ministry of Alien Detection trying to kidnap Lu-La, and the third sees the Farmer attempting to profit off the town’s UFO sighting by building a theme park.
The farmer’s sheepdog Blitzer has a bigger role this time, ending up in a sticky situation involving the Ministry of Alien Detection. This was absolutely brilliant, and is possibly one of my favourite things about the film.
As well as being hilarious, this film has so much heart to it. I have no problem admitting that a film about animated sheep made me burst into tears, which is truly a testament to how well it’s been written. You’re really encouraged to connect with the characters.
Farmageddon is the family film of the year, due to its incredible ability to connect with and amuse audiences of all ages. I went to see this as a 24-year-old and had the best time, and I’m sure other adults can say the same. I walked out of the cinema feeling so glad I’d caught it on the big screen.
In fact, I found Shaun’s second big screen appearance to be just as good as the first, and it’s proof that audiences everywhere are still captivated by the misadventures of these farmyard animals. Everyone involved has done an exceptional job. Long may it continue.