In this colorful sequel, Shaun gets a Space Odyssey.
Maybe it was for the best that “Missing Link” took home the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, because lately stop motion films have been bombing at the box office. Either it’s the ad campaign or the fact that movie goers aren’t appreciating them the way they shared their love for “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Wallace & Gromit,” and “Chicken Run.” I, myself, endorse these films for their pure invention and sense of humor.
To put it bluntly, the latest feature from Aardman (the distributer behind “Wallace & Gromit” and “Chicken Run”) is “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, the sequel to the 2015 Indie hit, based on the BBC series and based on the character from the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit” short “A Close Shave.” And it’s obvious that since it was only promoted in its homeland, the United Kingdom, and not in American theaters, you probably haven’t heard about this sequel.
But coming on the success of “Klaus” (I’m going to have to assume), it managed to book a spot in Netflix’s 2020 schedule, and it’s a cute film for little kids and parents. Yes, there are too many Sci-Fi movie references from “E.T.,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Arrival,” “Signs,” “Alien,” and “Wall-E,” but it’s innocent in its ways of envisioning Tom & Jerry or The Pink Panther meeting E.T.. Just as long as you don’t give them another direct-to-DVD sequel in that notion.
As always, the gibberish talk replaces dialogue, but relies on the comedy and situations to tell the story of a little alien who arrives on Shaun’s farm, and wants to reunite with her parents before the alien task force takes her down. When the first movie came out in 2015, a friend of mine got annoyed by the lack-of-words, but bare in mind, some of the best cartoon characters didn’t need them to be brilliant. They needed to be themselves.
This alien, named Lu-La, is adorable, because of how she mimics reactions like screams and mumbling in the exact tone as theirs, eats candy in a market with her arms and legs, glows bluish, and makes objects float with her ears. At least I think those are ears, arms, and legs. And I really admire her chemistry with Shaun, who doesn’t follow those typical cliches about teaching her about life on Earth. They’re able to adapt to their situations at the right time.
There is a tired subplot, involving Blitzer the farm dog setting rule sign rules for Shaun and his flock. I know it’s supposed to be old fashioned cartoon antics, but it ends up being exhausting. And the Sci-FI puns are either flexible or obvious, depending on how the movie plays them out. Some of them are surprising, while other tend to wear out their welcome.
Aside from those negative aspects, “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmegeddon” has more ambition and fun than other animated “E.T” wannabes like “Escape From Planet Earth” or “Home.” It has a sweetness in both the protagonists and antagonists, its British humor is silly and ticklish, and its animation is inventive and delightful.