Chicken Run

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Chicken Run
Chickenrunposter.jpg
Genre: Stop-motion
Comedy
Photography: Color
Running Time: 80 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
United States
Release Date: 30 June 2000 (United Kingdom)
June 23, 2000 (United States)
Directed by: Peter Lord
Nick Park
Written by: Karey Kirkpatrick
Distributed by: DreamWorks Pictures
Starring: Phil Daniels
Lynn Ferguson
Mel Gibson
Tony Haygarth
Jane Horrocks
Miranda Richardson
Julia Sawalha
Timothy Spall
Imelda Staunton
Benjamin Whitrow
Next film: Chicken Run 2 (in development)

Chicken Run is a 2000 stop-motion animated comedy film produced by the British studio Aardman Animations. This is the studio's first feature-length film and it was directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. It was co-financed by DreamWorks Pictures.

Plot

Telling the story of a band of chickens doomed to a life of egg-laying on a Yorkshire chicken farm. When a flamboyant American rooster arrives on the scene, the hens hope he can teach them to fly to freedom. However, when a chicken-pie making machine is installed, their need becomes urgent and they must devise other means of escape.

Why It Rocks

  1. Hailing from the animation house that brought us Wallace and Gromit, resulting in its colorful and lively stop-motion animation that only Aardman can produce.
  2. The lead characters are deep and endearing enough for you to care about what happens to them.
  3. The interaction between them is natural and believable, all the more amazing considering that Mel Gibson never even set foot in the same recording studio as the other actors, reading his lines in a studio in America instead. 
  4. The dialogue is loaded with puns that work so well with the British slang.
  5. Neat homages and parody to prison escapist films like 'The Great Escape' with it's plot and storytelling.
  6. Amazing set pieces hand-crafted by stop-motion animators, like the pie machine set piece.
  7. The film's plot is steady, solid, and knowing; it portrays a series of events that gradually build tension eventually inducing an exciting climax that is both conclusive and tense. 
  8. Having an American actor (Mel Gibson) in an Aardman production is just pure gold.

Bad Qualities

  1. For such a tight script and plot, the film still uses the 'liar revealed' trope.
  2. The characters are a little stereotypical.
  3. Mr. Tweedy is treated as a huge punching bag by his wife because of his intelligence such as thinking he turned it off and his wife hit him with a pie

Reception

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 97% approval rating and an average rating of 8.1/10 based on 170 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular." The film also holds a score of 88 based on 34 reviews on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim."

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave three and a half stars out of four, writing: "So it truly is a matter of life and death for the chickens to escape from the Tweedy Chicken Farm in Chicken Run, a magical new animated film that looks and sounds like no other. Like the otherwise completely different Babe, this is a movie that uses animals as surrogates for our hopes and fears, and as the chickens run through one failed escape attempt after another, the charm of the movie wins us over."

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