Week in Review: Shaun the Sheep Movie & London Has Fallen

WeekInReview

Happy Monday folks! Boy, in terms of weather, this is gonna be a darn near perfect week for us here in the Twin Cities! Highs in the 50s and 60s every day and it’s only the beginning of March! Well, I ain’t complaining, in fact I’m wearing short sleeves already today.

Well, usually I do a weekend roundup but I figure I should just make it a Week in Review instead so I can include some reviews from the past week. Well, it seems that I saw the BEST new-to-me film of the year, as well as the absolute WORST one. But hey, I hit a TV milestone in that I finally finished Jessica Jones! I’m REALLY s-l-o-w when it comes to tv watching, obviously. I should have my review of season 1 later this month.

So here’s my reviews of the two I saw last week:

ShauntheSheep

I’m a huge fan of Chicken Run, which was created by animators Nick Park & Peter Lord. I hadn’t seen the tv series version of Shaun the Sheep however, but when I saw the trailer for the movie version I knew I had to see it.

Just like Chicken Run‘s female protagonist Ginger, Shaun is a clever sheep who’s the leader of the pack. I LOVE the set up of the movie, how they just wanted a day off from the routine and have some fun… cooking, making juice, watch TV, etc. whilst they let their farmer master sleep in a caravan. Well, things didn’t go according to plan when somehow the van accidentally rolls away and leads the farmer to the Big City with amnesia. So it’s up to Shaun and the gang to rescue him and of course, as soon as they get to the city, hilarity ensues. The stop-motion animation alone is worth a watch, the shape of the sheep makes me laugh instantly and when they all dress up as humans I was on the floor laughing. The restaurant scene had me in stitches, I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time. I’m glad I didn’t see this on the big screen with a room full of strangers.

ShauntheSheep2 ShauntheSheep1

But what’s so delightful is the story has so much heart. The relationship between the sheep and the farmer and his dog Bitzer is well-developed that I actually teared up when they’re reunited. I love the plot involving the farmer at a hair salon, it’s just so clever and makes for some really amusing scenes. There’s a pretty funny villain in the form of a ruthless animal control worker and the prison-like shelter have some hilarious throwbacks to some classic films like Cape Fear, Silence of the Lambs, etc. It was unexpected but brilliant!

If you hadn’t seen this, I can’t recommend it enough. The animation style is a lot of fun to watch but it’s the heartwarming story and brilliant humor is one you’ll always remember. Glad that this was one of Oscar’s Best Animated Feature nominees, it’s certainly well-deserved.

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LondonHasFallen

Well, if Shaun the Sheep will likely end up in my best list of the year, London Has Fallen will undoubtedly be in my worst. It is the most idiotic movie ridden with action clichés and cringe-worthy moments. Seriously, it might as well be an episode out of BBC’s Spooks (MI-5) but without the clever writing and the gravitas of Peter Firth & the talented British cast.

There’s really no plot to speak of other than the reason POTUS Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is in London is because he’s attending the British PM’s funeral who died suddenly. So the supposedly ‘most protected event’ on earth is going down with a bunch of world leaders gathering in one spot. It doesn’t take long before all hell break loose, as police and even the members of the royal guards suddenly open fire at people in the middle of the changing guard pageantry at Buckingham Palace. But of course his loyal henchman secret service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is always there to save the president the only way he can.

It should tell you something when the only positive reaction I had after seeing the movie is this:

In any case, if you get a kick out of seeing London engulfed in flames and Londoners shot to bits, this is a movie for you. The fact that it’s set in London doesn’t really have any bearing on the plot, it could’ve been set in other big European city like Paris or Berlin [oh boy let’s hope this doesn’t become a trend w/ this franchise w/ Paris Has Fallen and so on].

I have to say the SFX is slightly better than in its predecessor Olympus Has Fallen, which is odd as it actually has slightly smaller budget than the first one. It doesn’t matter though clearly there’s no spare left for the writers. I really can’t recommend this even to action fans as even though there are endless shootouts and car chases, none of it is really memorable as it’s been done better (and in a more meaningful way) in other action movies. It’s relentlessly violent and bloody, and the movie somehow made Banning appears even more bloodthirsty than even the Middle Eastern terrorists.

LondonHasFallen1LondonHasFallen2

Some critics have said that this is the perfect movie for Trump’s America and y’know what, I couldn’t help thinking that as I was watching it. There’s a xenophobia vibe in the way Banning cruelly dismantles his enemies. I mean, what else are you supposed to make of lines like “Go back to Fuckheadistan, or wherever the hell you’re from!” At one point, president Asher remarked ‘Is that really necessary?’ after witnessing the brutal way Banning executed one of the terrorists, to which he casually replied, ‘no.’  Is sadistic behavior supposed to be funny? It’s really tough to even sympathize with a character like that. There’s not much we know about the protagonist to begin with, other than the fact that he’s about to be a dad but even the scene of him with his expectant wife has no emotional resonance whatsoever. That whole bit about him wanting to retire from his job and stuff is so corny and irritating because of course he won’t retire because Butler wants to keep this franchise going.

I wish I could say the movie has some redeeming qualities, but really there’s none. Even as good actors like Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett showed up, I kept thinking how much they got paid to keep doing this kind of rubbish. There’s no memorable catchphrases or anything resembling wit or good humor. In fact, the better title for this movie should be ‘Gerard Butler Has Fallen: How Low Can You Go’ [face palm] Suffice to say this will end up in my Worst of the Year list.

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So did you see anything good this weekend? If you’ve seen any of these movies, I’m curious to hear what YOU think. 

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33 thoughts on “Week in Review: Shaun the Sheep Movie & London Has Fallen

  1. I can’t watch something like London Has Fallen as I don’t find anything amusing or pleasurable in seeing common people be killed like that. That is just obscene to me and all this bullshit that is going on about all of those supporters of the Fascist Asshole is just starting to scare me right now. Plus, I often wonder if Gerard Butler has a brain into accepting this kind of bullshit knowing that it will offend pretty much everyone. He really needs to get his ass kicked.

    1. I wish I had skipped the press screening! Man it was excruciating. It’s free but that’s 2 hr I’ll never get back. Yeah, the Trump supporters are scarier than Trump himself. Well I think Butler is the producer of these ‘Fallen’ movies, so that should tell you something about how low he’s gone.

  2. I love Shaun The Sheep and very familiar with the series. They used to play it a lot in here. I used to laugh a lot watching those no-narration episodes, with my nephew and niece (who couldn’t understand the animated story yet) just watching it for the cute visuals. I’m going to see it if it’s available on cable.

    1. Hi Andina! Oh if you like the tv series then you should check out the Shaun the Sheep movie. It’s so delightful and hysterical. I don’t mind watching this again for sure!

  3. I spent most of my weekend binge watching new episodes of House of Cards, but I was able to enjoy the nice weather yesterday. I’m afraid this nice weather we’re getting might be too soon and we’ll have another big snow storm before March is over.

    I almost went to see London Has Fallen this weekend but then I remember how much I hated the first one, glad I skipped it. Sounds like the sequel is no different than the crappy first film. I’m all for good old shoot’em up action pictures but these Fallen films are just mean spirited and have sense of fun and took itself way too seriously.

    1. Hi Ted, I actually didn’t hate the first movie, but really this sequel shouldn’t even have been made. It’s SOOOO awful, don’t even bother renting it. Yep, it is mean-spirited and not entertaining at all.

    1. Shaun The Sheep is loads of fun! I think you’ll enjoy it Zoe, but London Has Fallen is the worst thing I’ve seen in a long time!

  4. Yeah, the restaurant scene in Shaun the Sheep was my favourite, really hilarious.

    Went to the cinema this morning to see London has Fallen and even though it is a ridiculous film with a huge number of flaws I still was able to enjoy it.

    1. There are really a ton of hilarious scenes in Shaun the Sheep, but that restaurant scene is still a highlight. Ahah you just love action flicks don’t you? Well I’m curious to read your review if you decide to write it.

        1. I just left a comment. Well suffice to say it’s not something I’d ever go near again. Gerry Butler’s not even an actor I want to watch anymore, boy have time’s changed since a decade ago when I was nuts about him. But he REALLY should choose better movies.

  5. Just saw a trailer for London Has Fallen, and good god does it look bad. The SFX in the trailer even look crap. And “Go back to Fuckheadistan, or wherever the hell you’re from!”?!?! Really?? Christ Hollywood can really churn out some garbage when it wants

    1. Hi Jordan, it’s truly atrocious. Avoid it if you can man. The most terrible part is he’s one of the producers so he only has himself to blame for churning out THIS garbage.

    1. Hi Adam! Shaun of the Sheep is fantastic, something I can watch again. But London Has Fallen is not just a bit rubbish, it’s rubbish all the way. Best to avoid that if you can.

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    1. Awww really? Those sheep are too adorable for words! Ahah, yep and I feel stupid going to the press screening, that’s two hours I’ll never get back!

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  9. Dan

    Hi Ruth, I’ve sought out your London Has Fallen review after finally seeing the film on DVD this weekend. I hated it and have just wrote about the reasons why. I was wondering what you thought of it so scrolled down to your score. I was so pleased to see a one-star rating. My thoughts towards the film tally with many of yours. I love your backhanded compliment about the terrible CGI being slightly better than Olympus. And some of the lines – the “fuckheadistan” thing is bad enough but Morgan Freeman’s intro with that line about seven-pound fish amde me laugh. He looked embarrassed to be there. Yes, there are no redeeming qualities but I did manage to find the images of desolate London streets visually arresting if only for a brief moment. What I can’t believe is that this film made quite a lot of money at the box office and sports a half decent 5.9 on imdb.

    1. Hi Dan! Oh man sorry you watched that movie, I was warning people to stay away from it, ahah. It’s soooo terrible I can’t even begin to describe it. I think my 1/5 rating is still pretty generous. It’s so xenophobic it’s revolting and Gerard Butler looks like he’s about 60 years old! It pains me that the movie still made money, that means we’ll get more of this drivel!

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