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Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie

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Another great British institution in the filmmaking world is the world renowned Aardman Animation Studios based out of Bristol. Just like the portrayal of the plucky inventive Brit in the classic war films, Aardman has slowly built a name for itself over the past few decades by their incredible attention to detail and top-quality filmmaking. Since their first feature length effort in 2000 with Chicken Run they have only released 7 more films, but every single one of them has been a top-quality joy to watch. Unlike any other animation studio (including the gold standard of Pixar), Aardman is the only studio that has never made a bad film according to myself and the vast majority of critics around the world. The latest film from the studio is their first ever feature length sequel, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. Later on in this section will be a review of that new film, but firstly we have to talk about its predecessor. 

Without beating around the bush Shaun the Sheep (2015) is my favourite animated movie of all time, beating out a lot of stiff competition from the giants of the industry such as Dreamworks and of course Disney. Without a single word of dialogue throughout its entire runtime the filmmakers created fully realised characters who struck an emotional bond with the audience just through the use of clever sound work and impeccable stop motion animation work. Not only was it a heartfelt story full of well-developed characters, but above all this film is on another planet when it comes to humour. Having seen this film numerous times with numerous sceptical friends I cannot recall a single one who didn’t regale in laughter throughout. It specifically played well to British humour with some great slapstick moments, as well as a number of running gags throughout the film which all worked tremendously. This was a film I could genuinely find no fault with at all, it’s a perfect blend of family fun and you can have an amazing time watching it whether you be 4 or 54, I’ve always believed that the best kids films also work when watched as an adult and by that standard Shaun the Sheep ticks all the boxes. You can therefore imagine my excitement when I found out earlier this year that a sequel would finally be hitting our screens…

So, let’s talk about Farmageddon, a sequel four years in the making. After all the hype I’d built up for myself I thought it’d be incredibly hard for the product to live up to the expectation, thankfully it was a delightful experience that almost (but not quite) matched the first film in terms of quality and entertainment. The basic premise of the film follows Shaun and the gang attempting to help an extremely cute lost alien find a way back home, whilst evading the sinister attempts of a Men in Black style villain throughout. Throughout the entire runtime I had a smile on my face and uncontrollably laughed repeatedly as joke after joke was thrown at the audience with each creating a phenomenal response amongst the entire audience. Slapstick done well is a joy to watch, especially when seen in the context of a silent picture, and once again the creative team at Aardman absolutely nailed this. Moreover, the writers clearly had an amazing appreciation of the sci-fi genre, as they cleverly spoofed moments from classic films such as Alien and 2001. Once again, this film aimed at children is hilarious for anyone of any age and I cannot recommend it highly enough, without using hyperbole I can safely say that this is not only the best animated film of the year so far but also by far the best comedy of 2019.  

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Michael Shiels

Film Editor | 19-20

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