The first Shaun the Sheep Movie was no doubt a witty and endearing comedy gold of feature-length claymation from the Aardman Animations studio. The movie was a huge financial hit, making back four times its US$25 million budget at over US$100 million in the worldwide box-office. It also went on to secure a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, even though it ended up losing to a more popular Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out.
Despite the global success, it sure took them long enough to return with a sequel and the result is four years of a wait. This time, the Shaun the Sheep Movie sequel subtitled Farmageddon sees the titular mischievous sheep (voiced by Justin Fletcher) finds himself caught in a latest (mis)adventure involving a colourful little alien creature who introduces herself as Lu-La (Amalia Vitale). Apparently, the alien is looking to find her way back to her home planet after accidentally crash-landed on planet Earth (or more specifically, near Mossy Bottom Farm).
Like Shaun the Sheep Movie, the sequel retains most of the same family-friendly British charm and slapstick antics that runs at a breezy 86 minutes. Kids will most likely enjoy all the wacky hijinks while adults can spot some of the sequel’s numerous nods to past and recent sci-fi classics ranging from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) to TV’s The X-Files and even Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival (2016).
And yet, Farmageddon feels like a missed opportunity. This is particularly evident with the way the story is told this time around. The whole “Shaun the Sheep embarks on a mission to help Lu-La getting back to her spaceship” premise feels less inspiring than the first movie’s simpler but funnier setup that sees the animal gang from Mossy Bottom Farm tries to locate their missing farmer-owner (John Sparkes) in the big city.
Don’t get me wrong. Farmageddon still has its few worthwhile moments but given the high standard set by the first Shaun the Sheep Movie, it is natural to expect the sequel would keep up as well.
As for the rest, the Aardman Animations studio has once again succeeded in bringing everything to vivid life using their amazing stop-motion wizardry. The claymation is top-notch while it’s nice to see the recurring characters — particularly Shaun the Sheep himself — back on the big screen after all these years.
Remember not to leave your seat just yet since there will be mid-credits and post-credits scenes.