‘A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon’ Review

To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a 2019 British stop-motion animated sci-fi comedy film directed by Richard Phelan and Will Becher (in their feature directorial debuts) from a screenplay written by Mark Burton (Gnomeo & Juliet) and Jon Brown. Featuring the voice talents of Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Kate Harbour, Rich Webber, Amalia Vitale, David Holt, and Chris Morrell. It is a stand-alone sequel to Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and the third feature film in the Wallace and Gromit franchise. The story follows Shaun and his flock as they try to prevent an alien with extraordinary powers from falling into the hands of the Ministry for Alien Detection and return her home.

In Mossingham, Farmer John and his dog Bingo leave Forest Fast Foods after picking up a bite to eat. Bingo notices something in the distance and runs into Mossingham Forest. A bright light appears in the sky and a spaceship lands right in front of the pair. The ship opens and an alien figure appears frightening Farmer John and Bingo. As they run away the man drops his French fries on the ground. A small alien finds the fries on the ground and begins to eat them.

At the Mossy Bottom Farm, The Farmer (John Sparkes) drives his combine through the field as Shaun (Justin Fletcher) plays frisbee with his flock. The frisbee gets caught in the combine and when released hits Bitzer (John Sparkes) in the mouth. Upset, Bitzer bans the sheep from playing frisbee. The flock then attempts to do other fun yet dangerous activities including but not limited to bicycle stunts, hot air ballooning, archery, and indoor grilling. All of which are banned by Bitzer. Later that evening Shaun sneaks into the house and orders pizza from Forest Fast Foods using The Farmer’s laptop. When the pizzas finally arrive Bitzer intercepts Shaun and takes the pizzas to The Farmer. Keeping one box hidden Shaun opens it and finds no pizza inside. Bitzer returns upset and takes the flock’s food as punishment. The next morning after missing out on breakfast Shaun notices a trail of pizza leading to the barn. Following the pieces inside, he finds Lu-la (Amalia Vitale) a blueish-purple bunny-like alien hiding beneath the stairs.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is the first feature-length sequel ever made by Aardman. This is interesting because even though Shaun the Sheep Movie did well, it did not reap the same box office success as Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. However, it does have a popular television series under its belt and that is probably what attributed to the studio moving forward with a sequel so quickly. Either way, I am glad the sequel was made with the writers coming up with a brand new original story that isn’t derivative of the first movie.

Aardman Animations once again does a fantastic job animating the movie. The characters are all still breathtaking to look at. It’s just amazing to see the care placed in building Shaun, Lu-la, Bitzer, and the others. Each of the characters has a distinct personality that makes them relatable. The writers craft a good lesson within the story. The villain of the piece, Agent Red, is not one note like Trumper in the previous movie. She is holding on to trauma from being ridiculed as a child. This past trauma drives her to capture the Lu-la and prove her existence to the world. Much of this is explained in a single flashback, but that’s all that is needed to explain why she wants to prove it so bad. I’m happy to say her arc comes to a satisfying conclusion. Shaun is once again helping someone in need no matter the cost. As the leader of his flock, he is usually the one to come up with ideas to make their lives not as mundane and when the opportunity comes to help Lu-la he doesn’t hesitate. Bitzer of course is always trying to keep the peace and just do his job. Even though he is friends with Shaun, somebody has to keep him in line. I love how consistent his character is throughout the franchise

There are also Easter eggs scattered throughout the film. The farmer eats Roswell’s Jam, The combine cuts a crop circle in the field, Agent Red whistles the theme from X-Files, M-U-G-G-1N5 looks and sounds very similar to WALL·E, etc. Dropping these nods throughout the film gives parents something to pick up on and explain to their children if they choose. Once again there is no dialogue in the film but Mark Burton and Jon Brown write the story in such a way that no information is wasted. Early on it is shown that Lu-la can mimic any sound and that ability is integral to the plot, helping Shaun and Lu-la throughout the movie.

Again, without the music, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon just would not work. Since none of the characters speak actual words, the score is all there is to convey the emotions of the characters. Tom Howe (Lost & Found) composed all the music for the film after previously working with Aardman Animations on Early Man. He captures the same heart and joy as the previous film while infusing tunes heard in the television series as well. Occasionally a song with words will play that also helps with the mood of the scene and it doesn’t feel out of place.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is not as good as the first film, but is still a fun watch for children and adults. The characters are filled with personality and the story is enjoyable. I give A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon a Decent 8.1/10. I would like to see this franchise continue and can’t wait to see what they do with the upcoming untitled Wallace and Gromit sequel.

Leave a Reply