Director: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Without any doubt, this is the greatest claymation poultry adventure ever! Kidding aside, “Chicken Run” is a wonderfully well conceived, amusing and feel good movie. It’s the work of directors Nick Park and Peter Lord and their Aardman studios, the same guys who made the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit” shorts. It’s astonishing what they produce little figures of clay and stop motion photography. It took them 18 months to make “Chicken Run”, and it shows: this is one visually jaw-dropping flick! But like the “Toy Story” movies, what really makes it special, more than the impressive animation, is the endearing characters and involving plot.
In a few words, this is the story of a bunch of chickens trying to escape greedy Mrs. Tweedy (voiced by Miranda Richardson) and her dim-witted husband’s (Tony Haygarth) farm in the English countryside. For if they don’t, they’ll soon all end up filling chicken pies! But Ginger (Julia Sawalha), their brave leader, won’t have any of it. “We’ll either be free chickens, or die trying.” Relentlessly, she and her chicks scheme to find a way to escape, but no matter how ingenious the plan, it always fails. And it’s back to the very strict routine of life as farm chicken. All day and all night laying eggs, or else it’s the chopping block for you! Ginger starts to lose hope, but then arrives Rocky the Rhode Island rooster (Mel Gibson), a macho American chicken who’s actually capable of flying! If he could only teach it to the whole bunch of them, then they could just fly above the damn fence that separates them for freedom…
So basically, Chicken Run revolves around a Great Escape type plot, but the film is about more than that. The real appeal of it is a bit like in “Babe”; the characters are farm animals, but they have really human hopes and aspirations. The film actually makes you root for these chickens, they’re developed into characters you care about and really want to escape! That sounds absurd, but it’s true. Even more ridiculous, I found the growing romantic attraction between Ginger and Rocky more engrossing than what you’d get in the average romantic comedy. And through skillful use of editing and music and sound, Park and Lord craft some truly exciting action scenes, like the Indiana Jones-style rescue scene and the uplifting climax. The film also packs plenty of witty, very British humor, and it will have you giggling throughout. Here’s a true family film that all will enjoy.