When it comes to pioneers of the medium of stop motion animation, Aardman easily ranks as one of the best. They first became household known when they released "Wallace and Gromit" on television screens and took home two Oscars for their results. They then debuted into theaters with their debut film "Chicken Run" in 2000 which showed they also could make fantastic animated movies as well. Since then, they have put out several more movies with each of them being charming in their own unique way. I have admired all of their films, especially the ones they put out in the last decade with the standout film being "Shaun the Sheep Movie". It was such a pleasant film featuring funny humor, great use of visual storytelling, and made it a delightful watch. Now five years later, they've made a sequel with "Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie" and it's honestly even better. It takes what the first movie did so well and steps it up in a big way. I honestly think this might be one of my new favorite films from Aardman.
On the Mossy Bottom Farms, Shaun and the rest of the sheep are trying to enjoy dangerous past times only to be stopped by Bitzer the farm dog who goes as far as to ban all activities around the farm so it won't get him in trouble with the farmer. However, one day an alien spaceship supposedly lands near the town of Mossingham and the farmer instantly sees the potential to make money off the amusement by building an alien theme park to try to buy a new harvester. It seems all like fun until Shaun discovers the alien that landed in the town named Lu-La who explains that she got lost on Earth and needs to return home to her parents. Hoping to get her home, Shaun sets off on an adventure to find Lu-La's ship while trying to avoid the agents at the Ministry of Alien Detection and their leader Agent Red.
As many of you may know, this film did take a while to get released in the United States. While it was released in Aardman's home country of the UK and the rest of Europe back in October thanks to distributor StudioCanal, it took five months for it to finally get an American release. The reason why might be that Aardman wanted their films to find a bigger audience here in the US as their last two films were not huge financial hits due to being distributed by Lionsgate which was a big step down from their last two American distributors, DreamWorks and Columbia Pictures. Instead of having the film released by Lionsgate and almost certainly flopping at the box office again, Aardman instead decided to release their film on Netflix and while I do miss not being able to see this film on a big screen, I feel that releasing it there was the right decision as more people would see the film through the streaming service. I really hope people do because this film simply is fantastic. Like the first film, the story relies on visual storytelling and it's simply fantastic. It takes the chance not to spoonfeed the audience information with dialogue and presents the film simply through the visuals. I wish we got more animated movies like this because it's handled exceptionally well. I also really appreciated the humor of this film. There are some really funny gags in the film relying on the mischief of the characters and the situations they get themselves into that I'm not gonna spoil here. I also found some hidden jokes in the background that you might not catch on first viewing which I thought was very funny. As far as the animation goes, it's fantastic. Aardman has come a long way with the stop motion and they continue to prove why they are masters at it. They really up their game with the work done in this film experimenting with new technologies and tricks with effects that probably wouldn't have been possible a decade ago. Not to mention, the lighting in this film was exceptionally well done. I really liked some of the shadows and the colors reflected on the characters in this film and the lighting artists on this film should be praised for their accomplishments. Also, I really liked the characters in this film. I liked seeing the old faces of Shaun, Bitzer, the farmer, and the rest of the sheep again, though I think the new characters stole the show for me. Lu-La was really adorable and had a very cute design and a fun personality. Given that she is a baby, she's very naive when it comes to seeing things on Earth and her interactions with Shaun were simply cute. I also thought Agent Red was a very good antagonist. You understand why she wants the alien and what she goes through to get her goals and you can definitely feel her frustration when it comes to working with her stupid henchman. She was a very well written character. As far as problems go, I thought some of the songs placed in this film felt unnecessary. They didn't add anything to the film unlike the first film and just felt tagged on like other animated movies. I think Aardman shouldn't have added them.
Overall, I thought "Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie" was an excellent sequel. The story was fun and had some hilarious moments, the animation was excellent and showed how their work is evolving, and the characters are a lot of fun with the new ones being the highlights of the film. I really highly recommend this film for any Aardman fan or even for those wanting to watch a fun animated movie. It's certainly worth your time and worth watching on Netflix. I'm eager to see where Aardman goes from here because it certainly shows they aren't stopping anytime soon.