A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019)
Dirs: Richard Phelan & Will Becher
When was this released?
This sequel to the first Shaun the Sheep Movie, which was a big international hit, was out in the UK a while before it hit other places. I watched it about a year ago, but it was later on the U.S. release so it qualifies for this year’s Oscars. It was a much smaller box office success than it’s predecessor, largely because it went straight to Netflix in the states.
What is ‘Farmageddon’?
It’s a pun, don’t worry, there’s no world-ending catastrophe here, it’s still very much a family-friendly comedy. Though something crashing to earth from outer space does cause some localised, fun, chaos.
Who is causing this chaos?
It’s a baby alien, who has ended up stranded on earth. Though it’s pursued by an alien-hunting agency, this alien is not an antagonist. Soon, the friendly little extra-terrestrial finds itself befriended by Shaun and his ovine companions.
Why don’t any of the characters speak?
For a start, they’re all animals (and one’s an alien). Secondly, they have never spoken, this is a feature of this series and characters, a smart move for easy international distribution. There are a couple of puns and written gags, not just the title, but also in signs and other things, which work perfectly for me as a British viewer, though I don’t know how they’ve been translated for other languages. Aardman has been known to adjust elements of their films to appeal to or make sense for other markets in the past so I expect there are variations to enjoy elsewhere.
How chaotic does it get?
As with many Aardman films, it sets up lots of clever jokes throughout, referencing many sci-fi classics along the way, and by the end bringing characters together in a relentlessly funny final act. It’s quite emotional in parts, and there’s some mild peril, but it’s written to appeal to all ages, and I think they manage to do that.
Where can I watch this?
It’s on Amazon Prime Video here in the UK and I believe on Netflix in the U.S. If not you can get it on VOD elsewhere and it’s a really fun film that, especially if you enjoyed the first Shaun the Sheep Movie, you’ll probably enjoy this one too.
As with the first film, this sequel has been nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. The Academy often nominate stop motion animation as their relevant branch appreciates the hard work that goes into them, and Aardman is the best in the business, something this film yet again proves. Sadly though, Shaun will again lose out to a Pixar film directed by Pete Docter, though the mischievous sheep already has an Oscar win from his first appearance in 1995 short ‘A Close Shave’.