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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a stand-alone stop-motion sequel to Shaun the Sheep Movie and a spin-off of Aardman Animation's short-form TV series. Brimming with positive messages -- teamwork, friendship, and inclusiveness -- and with a sci-fi twist, it's a great pick for the whole family. As with the first movie, there's no spoken dialogue, just expressive sounds from Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) and his friends, interspersed with a musical soundtrack. Violence is slapstick and cartoonish -- characters are hit in the face with food and a flying disc, etc. -- but there are some moments of peril, danger, and separation (from parents) that may frighten very young viewers. Agent Red (Kate Harbour) is deliberately sinister as the movie's villain who's determined to capture the alien, Lu-La (Amalia Vitale). But even her behavior is later explained sympathetically. A van, a harvester, and a UFO all crash at different points in the movie, but no one is harmed. Lu-La is separated from her extraterrestrial parents, which may cause distress to some. There is some toilet humor, such as when Lu-La belches so loud that she's heard across the globe. The end credits include a brief a glimpse of the Farmer's (John Sparkes) buttocks, and a photo shows two nude adults with their sensitive areas covered by carefully positioned fingers and thumbs.
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What's the story?
In SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON, Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) and his animal friends get a huge surprise when a long-eared alien (Amalia Vitale) arrives on their farm. Although the creature is more trouble than it seems, they quickly form a friendship, and it becomes up to Shaun to save them all from meddling UFO hunters.
Is it any good?
Aardman Animations' charming adventure is further proof that few studios do family entertainment better. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a joy from start to finish -- stay seated until the very final credit -- with the stop-motion animation so good that you soon forget you're watching models made of clay. Shaun maintains his cheeky appeal, but it's the introduction of Lu-La, a cute, blue, dog-like alien, that steals the show. The relationship between Shaun and Lu-La is genuinely touching. It's great to have a sheep and alien remind you that friendships can blossom no matter your background or where you come from -- in this instance two entirely different planets.
As with so many of Aardman's creations, there are plenty of cultural references to look out for. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial is the most obvious, but there are also nods to The X-Files, Doctor Who, and even Alien. There's even a blink-and-you-miss-it joke on the label of a jar of jam. These in-jokes are just a small part of why A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon warrants repeat viewings. The real reason is that this is a movie that it can be enjoyed together by the whole family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the positive messages in A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. Friendship, teamwork, and inclusiveness are all prominent themes in the movie. Why are these important character strengths?
Talk about the movie's lack of dialogue. How do the characters communicate? Is it easy for viewers of all ages to understand?
What were Agent Red's motivations? Did your feelings toward her change as you learned about her past? Can you think of any similar examples in real life when your view of someone has changed?
What makes Shaun and Lu-La's friendship so special? How did you feel when they had to say good-bye to each other?
Did you spot any references to any other movies? What were they?
- On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2020
- Cast: Joe Sugg, Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes
- Directors: Will Becher, Richard Phelan
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Horses and Farm Animals, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Compassion, Empathy, Teamwork
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 12, 2020
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