July 31, 2008

Chicken Run (2000)

Chicken Run was the first full-length feature for Aardman Studios, creator of the Wallace & Gromit short films. It opens with an inspired homage to The Great Escape, comparing life in a chicken farm to being a prisoner of war. But beyond that, the film falls a bit flat, carrying a gray overcast both visually and in its tone.

It tells the story about a group of chickens led by Ginger (Julia Sawalha), who try repeatedly to escape their hatchery in gloomy 1950’s England. After several failed attempts, they’re about to give up when in lands Rocky (Mel Gibson), a “flying” rooster who’s trying to escape his traveling circus. Ginger agrees to hide Rocky from the ringleader paying visits to the farm’s owners, Mr. & Mrs. Tweedy (Tony Haygarth and Miranda Richardson). In exchange, Rocky must teach the chickens how to fly so they can soar over their farm’s fence to freedom.

Simply put, Chicken Run didn’t do it for me or my 5-year-old son. While it does have an egg-citing climax (sorry, couldn’t resist), it doesn’t redeem the previous 70 minutes. My recommendation: Watch Aardman’s more fun and far superior Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit.

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids like it?
If your kids are expecting zany action and laugh-out-loud high jinks, Chicken Run will disappoint. It’s got a handful of action sequences, but it’s also a bit heavy on dialogue for its short running time (84 minutes).

Some scary/objectionable stuff:
  • A chicken is beheaded off screen by Mrs. Tweedy (you hear the “chop”)
  • Mrs. Tweedy is quite menacing, always shot from below and sporting a wide, scowling grimace
  • Scary, growling dogs (is there a pattern here?)
  • A giant chicken processor is a bit scary, with sharp spinning blades and a hot oven
  • One chicken says to “kiss your bum goodbye”
  • A few innuendos which will probably go over most youngsters’ heads
Yet of all the things listed above, my 5-year-old makes the following observation right before the film’s climax…

“I don’t like this movie. You shouldn’t have taped it.”
"Why not?"
“It has the word ‘stupid’ in it.”

Will your FilmMother like it?
Moot point. Skip Chicken Run and rent Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit – especially if she likes bunnies.

Chicken Run
Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
* Screenwriter: Karey Kirkpatrick
* Stars:
Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Phil Daniels, Lynn Ferguson, Tony Haygarth, Jane Horrocks, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Benjamin Whitrow
* MPAA Rating:

Buy this movie for less at Half.com >>

1 comment:

Gemma said...

Why, thank you, son. I will know which to watch, and which NOT to watch when we are babysitting!! :)


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