This week's film reviews

A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON (U)

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 2:38 pm
A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Bristol-based Aardman Animation looks to the stars and the twinkling constellation of Steven Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial for a second breathlessly paced stop-motion adventure in the company of mischievous sheep Shaun and his flock.

Co-directed by Will Becher and Richard Phelan, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon takes one giant leap for lambkind by introducing a rainbow-coloured alien to the tranquil surroundings of Mossingham.

Gentle family-friendly humour arises from the clashing cultures of the eponymous ruminant and a stranded otherworldly visitor, who mimics the bleats, whoops and oinks of the wild.

The sequel is lighter on visual gags - a local supermarket stocks jars of Roswell's jam and signage for H.G. Wheels Autos is a cute nod to The War Of The Worlds - but action set-pieces are orchestrated with brio.

Prepare for a charming close encounter of the furred, fleeced and feathered kind.

OFFICIAL SECRETS (15)

A British spy risks her freedom "to stop a war and save lives" in the slow-burning thriller Official Secrets.

Based on the true story of whistleblower Katharine Gun, who leaked top-secret information to the press in 2003 as Tony Blair prepared to take Britain to war in Iraq, director Gavin Hood's picture bristles with indignation at a political establishment willing to manufacture a narrative to justify military intervention.

Keira Knightley delivers a compelling lead performance as Gun and the script arms her with polished dialogue to refute allegations that she has betrayed her homeland.

"I work for the British people," Gun sternly asserts to a police officer under caution. "I do not collect information so that the government can lie to the British people."

Curiously, the fire in Gun's belly fails to ignite Hood's conventional dramatisation.

Rating: Three stars