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Before Shaun The Sheep starred in his first feature film, 2015’s Shaun The Sheep Movie, the cuddly little wooly friend from Aardman Animation’s stable of comedic genius had existed for a good 20 years. Starting out as a side character in the legendary Wallace and Gromit franchise, Shaun became a star of his own, and he continues to be one with the sequel, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.

Under the direction of Will Becher and Richard Phelan, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon tells the continuing adventures of Shaun (Justin Fletcher) and the rest of his barnyard friends in the traditional fashion of (almost) silent comedy, with mile a minute pacing of jokes and Easter eggs flying by on the screen.

This time, the overall story sees our fleece-covered protagonist making a new friend in Lu-La (Amalia Vitale,) an alien who has crash landed in the sleepy farming town of Mossingham. An unexpected visitor who’s just trying to get home, this friend from another world will need to be careful as government agents are on the case trying to intercept the creature before it leaves.

A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon reminds audiences why Aardman has been a leading force in stop-motion animation.

The canvas of stop-motion animation has always been an impressive feat to behold in the realm of features, and Aardman Animation has unarguably been one of its leading forces. Through a combination this delicate craft and touches of CGI, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon continues the rich visual traditions that both the franchise, and its studio have come to exemplify.

Being able to see both the fluid motion of Shaun, Timmy, and other sculpted creatures, as well as the varying fingerprints that come and go on their physical appearance, is something that roots A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon in a tactile reality that’s increasingly rare in kids films. While there are some computer enhancements to take everything to a far out level of adventure, there’s a craftsmanship that’s proudly displayed throughout that’s admirable. Even with the sound off you’d be able to clearly follow A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, though you’d still be missing out on some of the clever callbacks and nods to other classics of the sci-fi genre if you did.

The gags are fast and funny, with tons of jokey Easter eggs making up for no dialogue.

With deft visual flare, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is another top form delight to watch unfold, which is doubly important due to the fact that writers John Brown, Mark Burton, and Nick Park have crafted yet another film that relies on showing rather than telling in the action.

Every species speaks its own language, though the words that are “heard” by the audience are actually nothing but gibberish. No matter your audience’s age range, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is something that can be universally understood by anyone. Children will be able to enjoy the film for its colorful visuals and broad physical comedy, as A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon revels in this sandbox as its primary stock in trade.

The true genius, though, comes from a couple of off-color, but totally safe, gags that adults can understand, as well as heaps upon heaps of references to sci-fi properties like (but not limited to) Doctor Who, The X-Files, and even The Martian. By letting everyone in on the joke, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon becomes not just a children’s film, but a genuine comedy that reaches across generations.

A nice, gentle adventure for all awaits those who watch A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.

The plot that unfolds in A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a nice, gentle adventure that does include suspense and emotion, but doesn’t weigh too heavily on either side. If there’s a minor drawback to be had by this sequel, it’s that there’s been a bit of a trade-off between the emotional availability of the previous film in exchange for more humor.

Such changes only place A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon a slight step below its predecessor, but in the grand scheme of Shaun’s adventures there’s still plenty of the natural charm and laughter. Fans will not be disappointed by this new chapter in the barnyard antics of Mossy Bottom Farm’s residents, and with the wide availability through Netflix’s streaming platform, it’s arguably easier than ever to enjoy them.

A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon boasts Aardman’s trademark brand of warmth and humor, allowing the studio’s uniqueness to shine as bright as ever in this inspired sequel. More of a comedic romp than its predecessor, this shift only means that the film is more enjoyable and you’ll need fewer tissues to watch it straight through. Though you may want to keep some on hand anyway, as these animal hijinks just might make you cry from pure laughter.

9 / 10 stars
Rating: movie reviewed star rating out of five