Aardman set the “baa” so high with the first Shaun the Sheep movie. It really was a marvel of silent(ish) slapstick and visual invention to rival Keaton and Chaplin.
Which is why the latest from the stable is a bit of a disappointment. Set on the farm, it’s an alien contact movie riffing hugely on ET (pizzas, going home, levitating objects) in which Shaun helps a lost little creature rebuild the rocket that will take her back to her parents’ planet.
Meanwhile, the farmer spots an money-making opportunity to turn Mossy Bottom into a theme park for the visitors who flock to the area following reported UFO sightings.
There are plenty of gags for young and old and the stop-motion animation is as much of a marvel as it always is to me. However, the alien itself is unimaginative and its relationship with Shaun never quite develops an emotional inter-dependency that would have deepened the experience.
The science-fiction movie references are fine, but not really funny enough in themselves (I think they did war movies better in Chicken Run, and horror films in the WereRabbit).
Still, don’t let my bleating and woolly thinking spoil a fun family frolic. You won’t feel fleeced.