A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a Shaun The Sheep episode stretched out to a feature-length film made by the folks from Aardman Animations. The original TV show features slice-of-life comedy featuring smart-but-naughty sheep, a loyal but irritable sheepdog Bitzer who acts as the sheep’s comedic foil, and the oblivious Farmer. Expect more of these shenanigans and an overarching plot in Farmageddon, but with a budget to make everything look nicer yet authentic.
The story revolves around Shaun and the flock encountering a cute alien with telepathic and voice mimicry powers who crash lands near the Mossy Bottom Farm. It’s up to Shaun to help the alien get home before it gets captured by the Ministry for Alien Detection who are led by a Woman In Black-type agent, shades and all. Along the way, Shaun learns a valuable lesson in taking responsibility for his shenanigans and actions.
That’s the only moral lesson that exists in the film, and that crops up at the last bits of the film. Everything else is visual gag after visual gag, and they mostly work. Standout moments include a shopping centre incident and anything involving Bitzer and his “space” quest to help his master’s plans in getting money for a new harvester.
Since there’s no actual dialogue in the film -just grunts, barks, and short VO adlibs- the film relies heavily on its visual slapstick comedy, and it’s reminiscent of a Warner Bros. 50s short if it had British countryside sensibilities and tone. It really works, as I did get a couple of giggles out of the comedy and pop-culture references (for both kids and adults), while also appreciating the little bits of camaraderie happening between Shaun and his new alien friend.
Beyond that, there’s nothing else to expect from this standard kid film. It has a short run time so at least the rest of us won’t feel like we’re trapped with our nephews and/or children as they get their jollies from seeing a bunch of sheep attempt to build a space-themed carnival for their owner, right down to them donning yellow safety helmets.
To sum up this review: it’s a Shaun The Sheep extended episode with a bigger budget and a slightly longer runtime. If you expect anything more than kid-level slapstick humour, a few sappy moments that usually pop up at the end of the film’s second act, and overall quaint harmless fun, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.