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Movie Review

Chicken Run

Reviewed by: Josh Johnson
CONTRIBUTOR

Good
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Animation Family Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 24 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
June 21, 2000 (wide)
Copyright, DreamWorks click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Scene from Chicken Run.

freedom

paradise

death of friend

animals and birds in the Bible

chicken farms

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Featuring: Phil Daniels … Fetcher (voice)
Lynn Ferguson … Mac (voice)
Mel GibsonRocky (voice)
Tony Haygarth … Mr. Tweedy (voice)
Jane Horrocks … Babs (voice)
Miranda Richardson … Mrs. Tweedy (voice)
Julia Sawalha … Ginger (voice)
Timothy Spall … Nick (voice)
Imelda Staunton … Bunty (voice)
Benjamin Whitrow … Fowler (voice)
John Sharian … Circus Man (voice)
Jo Allen … Additional Chicken (voice)
Lisa Kay … Additional Chicken (voice)
Laura Strachan … Additional Chicken (voice)
Director: Peter Lord
Nick Park
Producer: DreamWorks SKG
Pathé
Aardman Animations
more »
Distributor: Dreamworks Pictures

“Escape or Die Frying”

Summer films are usually either big-budget action flicks or annoyingly cute children’s films. Fortunately, this summer of 2000 brings us “Chicken Run” as a great alternative to other films.

“Chicken Run” (from the makers of “Wallace and Gromit”) is a claymation film about chickens living in a 1950’s English egg farm who decide to escape. Rather than lay eggs all her life and then get eaten, Ginger, the leader of the chickens, constantly thinks up unusual escape plans that always fail. When a circus rooster named Rocky flies in, he gives Ginger another idea. Rocky will teach the chickens how to fly so they can simply fly over the fence to freedom. This results in a race between the chickens and the farm owners, who decide to buy a pie-making machine and start selling chicken pies.

Scene from Chicken Run

This is one of the rare films that adults and children can enjoy. While there are many memorable gags, the script of “Chicken Run” is hilarious and does not rely on sight gags for its laughs. The animation is flawless and the plotline clever. Whether or not you enjoy “Wallace and Gromit”, “Chicken Run” is sure to please.

This film offers no foul language or sexual situations. Some mild violence is present, but mostly off-screen. Some scenes may scare younger viewers. (For example, early in the film a hen that doesn’t lay many eggs is eaten by the farmers. But older children shouldn’t have a problem with such parts.)

“Chicken Run” uses quality, not depravity, to make money. “Chicken Run” is highly recommended. It’s sure to be one of the best movies of the summer.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Clean family cartoon type movie. Lots of laughs! Even kept my 20 month old’s attention! Nice to go see a movie and not worry about what you may hear or see. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Pauli Campbell, age 35
Wonderful! Finally, a movie we can take our kids to see without worry! Our family loves “Wallace and Gromit”, so it was a treat to have a full length movie of this type of humor. You will enjoy this movie whether you’ve seen W and G or not, so GO SEE IT! Pre-school through grandparents will like this one. My Ratings: [5/5]
—C Rocca, age 39
From the opening scenes of a chicken “concentration camp” to the wild finale, I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the wacky humor, a lot of which I believe went right over the heads of my teenage kids. Small children will surely enjoy the slapstick behavior and silly-looking characters, adults will roar at the dialogue, which is filled with puns, references to old films, and so on. The plot is very predictable, no surprises here. But the movie is very clean, very funny, and I had a great time watching it. The only reason I did not give it a “5” on moral rating is that it was not explicitly Christian, but there was absolutely nothing offensive here. I recommend it highly. My Ratings: [4½/4]
—Reid, age 46
…really funny… Some moral themes found portrayed in the movie were; the chickens’ desire to be free from the tyranny of Mrs. Tweedy, who controls and rules their lives. We see that freedom is very costly. Ginger had many opportunities to be free, yet sacrificed her own freedom time and again to make sure ALL the chickens would be free together. It’s also brought out that people (or chickens, as the case may be) should not set out to lie and deceive others. Lying for one’s own gain is never right. The things that may seem offensive include some innuendoes about the rooster being in a barnyard full of hens. The demise of a “non-egg-producing chicken” was pretty harrowing, nothing is shown directly, but the idea is clear.your children may never want to eat chicken again. (The PETA people will love this movie.) Our family understands farm life, but I don’t know if all children viewing this movie will be able to comprehend why this happened, or if younger children will even understand what happened. My Ratings: [3/5]
—Cathy Frueh
Our family truly enjoyed this movie. We have children ages 7 and 5 and they enjoyed it as much as my husband and I did. The jokes and gags were great. The Hogan’s Hero’s similarities are a great flash back of when TV was fun to watch without the sex and violence we have today! Rocky and Ginger are great examples of being strong willed, but able to work things out in the end. The ending is a good one. Be sure to stay through all the credits. We waited until they brought the lights up and we thankful we did. Patience is a virtue and we got a reward for it! Bottom line is, take the whole family and enjoy the show! My Ratings: [5/5]
—Pamela
Nick Park is a genius. This movie was funny, clean, and not offensive at all. No swearing, no sex—not even alludes to it. The script was great. If you like Wallace and Gromit, you will love this movie. I forgot I was watching clay figures! I would recommend this to all audiences, but I think some children under 6 may get a little bored since it is 1½ hours long. My Ratings: [5/5]
—Tina Davitt, age 34
What a great relief! I think the adults may have laughed more than the kids at times. Movie appears like a war prisoner movie. You can see some similarities in “Stalag 13.” Only scene that partially bothered my 7 yr old was the “execution” of a chicken. All they showed was the shadow of an axe coming up and the sound, but there is no doubt that the chicken does not make it. Could bother small kids. The rest is hilarious. “Wallace and Gromit” maker does a great job with humor, context, and story line. The story line is good to show that you should never give up no matter what the consequences and what happens along the way. Biblically it reads a lot of how most of all the oppressed people had to keep fighting to get out of where they did not want to be. I was reminded again of Moses and the freeing of his people. The lead character (who shows good leadership) is always going back for more, and never giving up, not for one chicken, but for the whole barnyard. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Bill Powell, age 38
Clean family cartoon type movie. Lots of laughs! Even kept my 20 month old’s attention! Nice to go see a movie and not worry about what you may hear or see. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Pauli Campbell, age 35
Generally about once a year Hollywood gets a family movie right. Last year it was “Toy Story 2.” This year we got it a bit earlier with “Chicken Run.” Whether or not you’re familiar with Nick Park’s “Wallace and Gromit,” you can’t help but love this movie. It’s imaginative, clever, full of great characters, and just plain fun to watch. This is no computer generated, hands off animation. You can delight and be awed by the sheer task of pulling off claymation at this level of smoothness and complexity. The crowded house we watched it with at the first showing on opening night clapped and cheered at the end, and laughed throughout the movie. I will have to watch it on video to catch all of the humor because many lines were missed amongst the laughter. See this movie if you see only one this summer. We need to back these guys up and hope they continue to bring some magic back to the movies. My Ratings: [4/4½]
—Paul Hunter, age 34
This movie actually came as a surprise to me. It actually kept you interested and laughing without having to lower your standards. The claymation truly surpassed all past efforts I have seen. Only one comment from the rat pushed it from being “perfect” but wasn’t truly out of line. It was more a matter of taste. I have a 15, 11, and 5 year old and each one of them thoroughly enjoyed it. My 5 year old is sensitive to the anticipation of scary moments but even this movie’s more intense moments did not seem to bother him. Let’s hope for more good entertainment like this. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Tracy Langgle, age 33
I was pleasantly surprised to find a G-rated movie with nothing offensive in it. We took our 5 yo. to see it and he really enjoyed it. It was your typical predictable kid’s movie, but at least no one had a bad attitude toward adults, there were no references to the occult, and the bad guys were not demonic. I would recommend it as a good wholesome movie for any age child. My Ratings: [4½/3]
—Jo Ann, age 28
Positive—“Chicken Run” was an amazing movie. The chickens struggle very hard to obtain the freedom they desire. Nick and Fetcher were a bit crooked in terms of morality, but they are ultimately good characters who risk their lives for the chickens. Rocky starts out as an arrogant liar, but he soon learns the error of his ways; even before he learns a lesson, Ginger vehemently speaks against his ways of thinking. We need more protagonists like Ginger for the kids and less like Eric Cartman. When Rocky does return to help the chickens in the nick of time, Ginger sums up disapproval and forgiveness in a nice way: Just a quick disciplinary smack for leaving, immediately followed by an attempted kiss for coming back. It’s nice that Ginger does not drag her grudge on and on with an apologetic and repentant Rocky in the corner. Good is portrayed as awesome and heroic and evil is portrayed as greedy and insane. It’s nice that good is called good and evil is called evil in this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Neutral
This movie is definitely for kids. The humor is not at an adult level, but I found nothing objectable about it, other than it bored me as a parent. My son who is 5 years-old really enjoyed it and would like the whole family to go see this. I made no promises and just really don’t believe that I could sit through this again. If you decide to go, make sure you go to a matinee and this one could even wait until it comes out on rental. There is no bad language or in appropriate behavior.
—Jonda Heater, age 38
Movie Critics
…All of the charm of Wallace and Gromit… hilarious moments, and some truly incredible actions sequences… something for everybody…
—Kemmer Barnes, Ain’t It Cool News
Preview gladly recommends that you run out and catch CHICKEN RUN with the whole family.
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…Every moment… is rich with detail and movement.
—TNT’s Rough Cut
…near-perfection…
—Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today