As simply as I can put it, ignore The Biggest Little Farm: The Return on Disney+ and go find the original on Hulu or Amazon. Apparently hard up for material for Earth Day, Disney makes a brilliant decision to re-visit Apricot Lane Farm. Of the 29 minute documentary, twenty minutes is a mere re-hash of The Biggest Little Farm. It’s hard to put in words how disappointing is The Return. The genuine article is one of the best documentaries you will ever see. Who wouldn’t want to revisit John and Molly, Emma and Greasy? Four years later, how is the farm doing?
A trip back to Moorpark California, in Ventura Park finds the Chesters as optimistic, and realistic, as ever. They recount their vision of regenerating the tired, worn-out soil. John reminds the viewer of the variety of organisms necessary to “create” life. By year five, they grow 160 different crops. But, they also remember the difficulties. Birds attacked the orchard fruit, coyotes snatched chickens, ducks polluted ponds, and snail smothered trees. Then, they dealt with drought, wind, and fire. Still, all we notice is the wondrous transformation. Yet, as amazing as all this is, we’ve seen it all before. With little more to offer, I give only 3.0 Gavels to the The Biggest Little Farm 2. It does receive an early 7.3/10 IMDb score, probably from folks who didn’t see its predecessor.
After ten years, the Chesters are asked what is now different. For the onlooker, we see Beaudie, the quality control specialist. This young lad makes certain all the fruit is top quality. His skill has a limitation. The blueberries are so good that few, if any, make it to market. And, new dog Blue seems to have an affinity for chasing those darn rabbits. But, for John Chester, he laments that some animals, pets if you will, are now aging. The unspoken rule of farming is that the animal must serve some purpose, or it must go, painful as that might be.
In my earlier article, I mention the persistence of John Chester and the infectiousness of Molly Chester. Both are still present, even in this truncated version. However, the limited set-up allows little get-to-know-you time. By the way, whatever happened to Greasy? Did he end up in the frying pan? Did I mention how maddeningly short this effort is?
Proudly, Molly mentions that John never stopped filming since the 2018 documentary. If so, frustratingly, we see darn little of that new film in The Biggest Little Farm 2. Are we saving it for some bigger event in the future? If so, why bother with this teaser?
“The tight 29-minute running time just doesn’t give a lot of room to develop the story . . . ” Common Sense Media
“This documentary . . . is almost an introduction to the farm, which, will soon be getting its own Disney+ series.” What’sondisneyplus.com
There it is! The Biggest Little Farm 2 is nothing more than an ad for a new series. Why didn’t they just say so?