The recent Ellon Cinema Day at the Victoria Hall featured two popular films which were screened to large audiences.
Ellon Cinema’s Vicki Morgan reviews both films.
Shaun the Sheep The Movie
Originally a spin-off from the Wallace and Gromit films made by Aardman Animation, Shaun the Sheep has been appearing in episode format on children’s TV for several years now and is an established favourite in our household.
It is always a gamble when a successful TV programme is graduated into a film and I did wonder if the magic and humour of the original TV series could be fully transformed onto the big screen and really hoped that our kids would not be disappointed, not least the two big kids who accompanied them. Thankfully, I need not have worried.
The opening scene takes us to the farm that we are already familiar with where we meet the characters we know and love from Bitzer the dog, the Farmer and the rebellious pigs to Shaun and the flock themselves.
Tired of the daily grind, the sheep decide to lull the farmer to sleep, and then plan for a day in front of the telly in the farmhouse eating popcorn.
Unfortunately the caravan in which the farmer sleeps begins to roll, ending up in the Big City and resulting in him suffering from amnesia due to a collision with a traffic beacon.
The hunt is therefore on to find the farmer and bring him home. However, the flock have to face the danger of being caught by a megalomaniac animal catcher and the task of helping the farmer remember who is, who has started a new life as a trendy hairdresser. Will the sheep succeed and get their lives back to normal? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
For me, its the intricate details of the plasticine animation which really appeals, not a piece of background is neglected from the rust on a bin created accurately to the detailed landscape of the countryside.
The ones laughing most and loudest in the cinema were us grownups and my husband and I certainly didn’t feel it a chore to take the kids to see this children’s film. In fact we’d go and see it again anytime.
I’d say go follow the flock and see it as soon as you can 10/10
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Following on from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this film once more takes us to the colourful, luxurious, decadent and often wacky world of a group of residents who wish to spend their golden years in a dilapidated Indian hotel.
It boasts the famous names of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton to name a few and with such benefactors, it can only really be a success like its predecessor.
This time the focus is not just on the expansion of the hotel, but the film also has a multi layer of plots concerning the love lives of the various residents.
On the hotel side of things, Sonny, the hotel owner, is wishing to expand by purchasing and renovating another rundown hotel, and is trying to win the support of an American chain of hotels.
This is thwarted, however, by a potential business and love rival.
On the romance side, the imminent marriage of Sonny and Sunina and the corresponding pressures of the big day is in the fore, with the blossoming relationships of Evelyn (Dench) and Douglas (Nighy), the search of nymphomaniac Madge(Celia Imrie) for the right husband and the need for monogamy in the marriage of couple Norman and Carol all run parallel in the background.
Throw into this American Guy (the lovely Richard Gere) wooing Sonny’s mum and you have a rather complicated story line and one, which I think, benefits from having seen the first film to understand the background to some of the plots.
Maggie Smith is wonderful and plays her character Muriel with wit, firing cutting remarks and clever one liners but always having a baseline of genuine care for her friends.
All the people staying at the hotel are elderly, but with age hasn’t come surrender. We see them all at the end, zooming off into the sunset on motorbikes and I loved that.
As someone who is approaching a “special” birthday soon, I often wonder what life will be like when our two leave the roost and my husband and I face these more mature years together. Not as good as the first, but well worth seeing 7/10
The next Ellon Cinema Day will be on Sunday, May 17, featuring Spongebob Movie, Cinderella and The Water Diviner.