Ovine excellence

Claymation stop-motion master Nick Park and Aardman Animation studios have since the late 1980s given us such memorable delights as Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Creature Comforts, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. They’ve never made a bad movie and have four Oscars to back that up. 

Shaun the Sheep, as you probably know, is a TV series featuring the title ovine troublemaker and his farmyard flock of woolly pranksters, usually causing havoc for Bitzer, a bossy canine martinet, and Farmer John, the perennially clueless owner of Mossy Bottom Farm. 2015’s Shaun the Sheep Movie expanded the concept to feature length, of which this is that most rare of cinematic events: a welcome sequel.

The fun starts when a flying saucer crash-lands on the farm, revealing inside an impish alien being named Lu-La, who apparently has a weakness for pizza along with a few extraordinary superpowers. While Farmer John sees a lucrative opportunity in harnessing the resultant Roswell-like mania in the form of a cheesy UFO theme park (see title), Shaun and the flock concentrate on helping little Lu-La, um, phone home, as it were, to summon a rescue ship before she is nabbed by the shadowy Ministry of Alien Detections (MAD).

The film is chock full of Aardman pleasures; hundreds of sight gags (loved the bit about how crop circles are formed), pop-cultural references (be on the lookout for Wallace and Gromit), sly humor, superb comic timing and madcap antics. And since there’s no dialogue, it’s the perfect cross-cultural date movie.

86 min, Dec 13