For the past several years, I’ve attempted to watch as many Oscar-nominated films as possible, and for the past two years I have written reviews of each film and posted them to this blog. Alas, I always run out of time and cannot see everything. This year’ ceremony has been delayed, and I started reviewing before nominations were announced, giving me a decent chance at wide coverage. Today we cover…
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
[1 nomination for Best Animated Feature]
Oh Thank God, this movie was exactly what I needed. After soooooo many super depressing total nominees, I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure if I could handle one more sobfest in a row. Enter the marvelous world of everyone’s favorite claymation studio, Aardman Animations, here to save the day!
Like all of their movies, this film was absolutely phenomenal and worthy of any and all praises. I was smiling the whole way through and just laughing my head off. It’s nice to know that it’s possible to make a legitimately, solidly GOOD movie without having to resort to be super depressing. Sure, it’s a kids’ movie. But it’s a damn good kids’ movie, and one with plenty of jokes for us geezers.
As an animation-school dropout, I’m constantly blown away by the craftsmanship and skill that goes into executing these Aardman movies. The level of detail in every frame was just extraordinary. But beyond that, the story itself was simple but engaging. When a UFO lands in a remote English village, everyone goes wild with Alien Madness. Shaun the Sheep and his woolen buddies make friends with the newly-arrived extra-terrestrial, the oafish farmer sees dollar signs, and a secretive government agency moves in to shut everything down. Hijinks ensue! For me the highlights were still the visual gags with the farm animals themselves. We start strong with the sheep trying to stave off boredom with increasingly rebellious and dangerous schemes, all to the consternation of the hardworking and fun-hating sheep-dog. Later this same crew is enlisted to construct an alien-themed theme park, resulting in a fantastic montage of stupid sheep botching every task on the construction site. The pigs are good for a couple god laughs. The farmer himself was my absolute favorite. Every appearance by him had me in stitches. If there was one element I wasn’t as stoked about, it was the design on our alien himself. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t too into it. It looked like a rabbit head jammed onto a Christmas tree skirt. But this complaint was minor.
The attention to detail extended to every element of the film. It was jam-packed with references to other alien movies and shows. We caught references to X-Files, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dr. Who, Wall-E, E.T., and even Toy Story. Presumably there were more. So keep your eyes and ears peeled, kids!
This film was an all-around good time that everyone and their mother should enjoy. And it makes a great palate-cleanser. Highly recommended.