'Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon' a delightful watch

Film: Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon

Cast (Voices): Justin Fletcher, Amalia Vitale, John Sparkes, Joe Sugg, Chris Morrell, Andy Nyman, Kate Harbour

Directors: Will Becher & Richard Phelan

Rating: *** 1/2

The phrase ‘black sheep’ refers to somebody who does not fit in with his or her family. You could apply it to the titular farm animal who is quite fearless and quickly befriends a creature from outer space. Docile, innocent sheep are also characterised as followers but Shaun has leadership qualities.

That’s the salutary message of this delightful stop-motion sequel to Shaun the Sheep movie that you can break the mould and that friendship isn’t determined by one’s origins. Moreover, messages about empathy and teamwork embellish the story which moves from the bucolic rural life to space, the final frontier, and back.

All this, accomplished without bombastic language as humans know it. The animals (models made of clay) and aliens communicate with pure sound, call it gobbledygook if you will but the thing is, they understand one another.

The humans mostly mumble; viewers though will easily read their emotions from hairline to chin and enjoy the snappy musical soundtrack and Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) and company’s adventures in the heavens and on Mossy Bottom Farm on Earth while trying to get the better of the farm dog, Bitzer and evade the clutches of Agent Red (Kate Harbour) who is obsessed with capturing the pizza loving extra terrestrial, Lu-La (Amalia Vitale).

For all her superpowers, Lu-La, who only wants to go back to her home planet, isn’t intimidating at all. Agent Red is, but even she has a backstory which is designed to elicit sympathy from viewers.

Grown-ups will also enjoy the cultural references: E.T and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Interestingly, the adults are the most clueless. Still, the doofus farmer is commercially savvy enough to set up a theme park on his farmland and fleece customers.

That said, let me confess to being mystified by the title Farmageddon because the toon is not at all about doomsday. About real life though, one could do a pessimistic reading of current affairs and sigh apocalyptic times are nigh.

ronitatorcato@gmail.com

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