“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” is a fun adventure for all ages

Aardman’s newest stop-motion adventure brings great visuals and an enjoyable story.

Courtesy of IMDb

Sammy Newcomer, Freelance Writer

Britain’s favorite stop-motion sheep gets a sci-fi spin in a new Netflix original feature film that  follows Shaun, Bitzer the dog and the whole gang of farm animals as they find Lula, a mysterious encounter of the third kind. From there, the animals must escape countless obstacles—the government, the farmer and the world at large—to return this young creature to its parents.

A CHILD-LIKE WONDER

It is clear throughout the film that the primary audience is children. “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” does not hold the emotional depth or complexity as Pixar greats, and it does not captivate viewers as much as other stop-motion films such as “Coraline” or “Chicken Run.” Nevertheless, the visual wonder and cute gags are sure to keep children entertained throughout the runtime. This is not to say adults will not be entertained—the film still has a few great laughs and characters entertaining enough to warrant the runtime.

The most incredible aspect of this film is its animation. Every stop-motion film inevitably reveals the care put into it simply due to the work-intensive nature of the medium, but “Farmageddon” takes this a step forward with an amazing balance of simple animation and complex set pieces. Because Shaun the Sheep is known for its simple and playful animation that perfectly matches its storytelling, putting the characters into a sci-fi setting comes at the risk of losing this simplicity. Yet, the movie strikes the perfect balance and applies this wonderful technique to new worlds. 

WORDLESS COMEDY

“Farmageddon” also impresses with its lack of dialogue. The film is entirely told through the characters’ actions, as no words are spoken in its runtime, leading to creative opportunities for visual and slapstick humor that is rare to come by in the 21st century. The jokes in this film truly refresh viewers. Rather than stooping down to immature humor as many children’s films do, “Farmageddon” delivers satisfying comedy without compromising on its heart.

HOMAGE-FILLED STORY

The film takes hints from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T.” and many other classic sci-fi films. Although the story is nothing entirely new, the clarity of its influences does not take away from the experience. It is very entertaining to see these old films given a new homage in a clever way. Not to mention, the returning characters are as funny as ever, and the new characters are equally engaging. On top of the obvious familiar plot points, the film makes countless nods to “2001: A Space Odyssey” and many other greats that will keep sci-fi fans smiling.

The film, while not life-changing, is delightful and enjoyable. While mostly suited for children, it provides enough laughs and charming characters to warrant the watch on Netflix. In an age of media competing for children’s attention, “Farmageddon” brings the nice, quiet charm many films lack.