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Overall Rating
4.27

Awesome50.88%
Worth A Look: 34.5%
Average: 8.19%
Pretty Bad: 3.51%
Total Crap: 2.92%

11 reviews, 105 user ratings


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Chicken Run
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by Erik Childress

"The Great Chicken Escape"
4 stars

The animation wars between the studios has been a fun topic for reporters to write about during the blockbuster seasons of summer and winter. Disney used to be the lone duck in the pond of animated blockbusters, but other studios have made their attempts to dethrone the King. Fox got some critical acclaim with Anastasia and Titan A.E. and Warner Bros. has had little success outside of Space Jam and the critical, if not box office, success of The Iron Giant. But the big studio that could, Dreamworks, has really grabbed the reigns with the terrific Antz, The Prince of Egypt and now, Chicken Run, poised to be one of the year’s favorites.

Imagine the Great Escape with a cast full of chickens and you know all you need know about the story. But for aesthetic purposes, you’ve got a coup of chickens in England, living the life of produce eggs or die. None of the chickens are very happy about it, but some have come to accept their fate. Ginger is not one of those chickens. She is intent on busting out, using every method from disguise to digging tunnels. Her unsuccessful attempts lead her to eventually welcome the American rooster, Rocky, who is on the run himself. Ginger agrees to hide Rocky in exchange for flying lessons for her and her fellow hen. As the chicks welcome and equally doubt their chances for escape, their captive, Mrs. Tweedy decides to retool her failing egg operation into a chicken pie factory, cutting the window short for our heroes to get over the fence.

What’s so much fun about Chicken Run, is that it’s consistently fun. There’s not a moment for 85 minutes when you are not laughing, smiling or are excited. There’s a real wit to the writing here, with in-jokes laced (without dominating) throughout of everything from WWII escape movies (the hens occasionally meet in Hut 17) to Monty Python gags. But this is a script that calls attention to its own absurdity. We’re watching a cartoon here, so, naturally, suspension of disbelief is in full effect watching talking chickens plot elaborate escape attempts. This leads to some big laughs as Mr. Tweedy thinks he’s going crazy witnessing the chickens organize. And the biggest laugh of the picture relates to this premise for the response that patriotic chicken Fowler (who constantly recalls his days in the Royal Air Force) gives when he’s asked to fly the chickens off the farm. The action is first-rate too with a breathtaking escape from a pie machine up to the climactic final attempt at flight. Maybe it’s time that these modern-day music video graduates-to-action-films start studying animated films like Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and now Chicken Run with how to create, choreograph, and carry out action sequences. The climax of this movie is more exciting than anything in Mission: Impossible 2 or Gone in Sixty Seconds.

Using stop-motion animation here, the most amazing aspect is how Peter Lord and Nick Park (Britain’s Aardman team responsible for the amazing Wallace and Gromit shorts) manage to put so much personality and expression-filled emotion in the faces of the chickens. There is more character in these characters (especially Ginger) than the great majority of big releases that come out each year. Mel Gibson is an inspired choice to voice Rocky the Rooster, getting a chance to parody his own self-image as a ladykiller as well as toss out some inside humor about Braveheart. After all – what are the chickens after? FREEEEDOMMM!!! But Julia Sawalha provides a great heart to the voice of Ginger, strong enough to lead her fellow chickens to the Promised Land, yet with just enough fear to doubt her good intentions. And that fear is instilled in the audience too, for as opposed to Disney’s Dinosaur, Chicken Run doesn’t shy away from the fact that sometimes animals do, in fact, die as part of the grand design.

Chicken Run is the perfect example of family entertainment. Young kids will love the story and the characters, while adults and older kids will dig the jabs at other films and its excitement. Chicken Run is yet another title in the recent animation explosion to hit the big screen that lends weight to the theory that animated films boast better scripts, because with the pain-staking time it takes to visuals, there’s more time to put some thought and intelligence into the written word and the story. Chicken Run is bound to end up somewhere on one of my year-end best lists. It ranks with the best of animation in recent times, proving that Dreamworks is certainly giving King Disney a run for their money.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1904&reviewer=198
originally posted: 06/16/00 08:17:50
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/15/12 roscoe some fun, but i did not like any of the characters or the voice work. 3 stars
10/26/09 Mr.Carrot75 There is nothing wrong with brining the Taleban on the program, but I, too, wonder how fort 5 stars
10/26/09 Arnold61 Anything I choose to do instead of hanging out with my husband and four children better be 2 stars
10/25/09 Loy22 Made me realize that pretty much every generation thinks that when they were kids it was so 3 stars
10/23/09 GanjaBoy99 To answer the following question from Mr. , 3 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT THERE'S SELDOM A LULL IN THE ACTION. NOT BAD 3 stars
2/09/07 Soranos It was boring, I would rather watch "The great excape" which is like this, but more "mature 2 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca A bit boring. 3 stars
1/31/07 chicken love, DONT HATE ME CAUSE I'M DIFFERENT! down with hollywood and all its cgi incarnations, little bitches! 4 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
9/02/06 Chad Thomas Great, fun movie! 5 stars
5/20/06 Kcaj Yeahhhhhhhh it's getting there 3 stars
3/30/06 nasma distgusting 1 stars
12/21/05 Littlepurch An absolute classic! Loved it all my life. Need I say more?! 5 stars
10/28/05 Daveman Nick Park's worst film but still good for technical artistry. 3 stars
6/02/05 Chris Great!I've lost my taste for pot pies! 2 stars
5/29/05 susee chicks!!! amd more chicks!!! really entertaining 5 stars
3/23/05 clinger26 it's so beautiful 5 stars
1/20/05 Keaton the Black Jackal Clever, original, and has talking chickens. What more can you ask for? 5 stars
8/19/04 Anon this movie has a setting and is a must see for mostlittle kids I thought the moviewas great 5 stars
8/19/04 anonomous this movie was fucked in the head 3 stars
7/25/04 John Thepious Truly outstanding entertainment 5 stars
7/18/04 Nobody Great for kids 4 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva slow 3 stars
6/12/04 Raymond Lee very entertaining movie 5 stars
6/01/04 whatevr This movie makes me want to smack colonel sanders 4 stars
5/18/04 Jen Dreifort loved this adorable movie! gotta love the chickens! 4 stars
5/17/04 DM Made me want more stop-motion animation movies 5 stars
5/15/04 y2mckay The animation is fun, but the story is nowhere near as good as a Wallace & Grommit episode. 3 stars
4/07/04 Alex What can i say i like the farm 5 stars
11/03/03 samantha cool 4 stars
6/03/03 Virgil Anyone for chicken pot pie? This was great! 5 stars
4/01/03 Jack Sommersby Excrutiatingly awful. 1 stars
3/29/03 NYTRANSIT417 Kids Loved It! Would ReccomendA++ 5 stars
2/03/03 name 1 of the best animated movie 5 stars
10/23/02 Charles Tatum Any film that lampoons "The Great Escape" deserves a look 5 stars
10/17/02 P.Rodriguez Anything With chickens gets my full vote!!! 5 stars
7/15/02 ! Really funny story, nice graphics, just enjoyable! 5 stars
7/12/02 ralph Workman I wet the bed and i love chickens OHHH 1 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi pretty kewl, tho i like wallace and gromit betta 4 stars
6/01/02 Jiz Nick Park's best work to date, very enjoyable. 5 stars
3/11/02 Emilia A warm watch..need some flavour though..hmm how about some gravy? 4 stars
2/23/02 Beyonder A good lesson for walt disney 4 stars
11/14/01 Zizzerzazzerzuzz Nick Park is a certifiable genius! The chickens aren't quite as charismatic as W&G, though. 4 stars
11/01/01 Andrew Carden Makes You Yearn For An Episode Of Spongbob Squarepants. 1 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Very enjoyable movie! 4 stars
8/30/01 Henry Ginsberg I love how the coops are set out like in a concentration camp. 4 stars
8/23/01 Babybelle Too good for the kids, keep in adult section for quick smile occasions 4 stars
8/14/01 Monday Morning Cluckin'-A, this is funny. 5 stars
7/28/01 Steve Quit comparing to W&G, it was good anyways! Fuck you if you didn't see it and 1-starred it! 4 stars
6/29/01 R.W. Welch Almost up to "The Great Escape" but not quite. 4 stars
4/14/01 I love movies sucked, man! how about making a full length 'Wallace & Gromit' cartoon? 2 stars
4/09/01 Gary Hilarious, cool animation, but really stupid! 4 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye If you've ever seen The Great Escape, check this out- you'll laugh yourself silly. 5 stars
4/02/01 moviegoer humorous, and meaningful, ever notice how the tweedy's represent the government? 4 stars
2/25/01 The Evil Penguin Nice,but there's no plot. 3 stars
2/23/01 Mart Dawg ARE ALL YOU GUYS FUCKIN GAY, THIS MOVIE JUST LOOKS GAY. FUCK OFF SUPERFLY FUCKIN HOMO 1 stars
2/01/01 Dan Waldman Best of Y2K. Most grown-up movie of the year 5 stars
1/22/01 Josh Stevens the movie was good it is most definetly for children.l 4 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 Those chickens fucking rocked. highly entertaining. 4 stars
12/28/00 Turtle Movie magic! I had my doubts at first, but this movie's one of the best! 5 stars
12/28/00 Tom What can i say, Brits can do genuine comedy, Yanks can't. It was great 5 stars
12/21/00 Connoisseur Nick Park should have stuck with Wallace & Gromit 3 stars
12/20/00 Fr. Ron Meyer, OMI Fun, funny, relaxing, really enjoyable with stuff to mull over. 4 stars
12/19/00 Destruction Worker See this movie. You ain't CHICKEN, are ya?!? 5 stars
12/15/00 viking Beats Disney by a mile 5 stars
12/11/00 Mic EvilPenguin: ever heard of spoofs? If Indy was the only reference you noticed, I feel for U 4 stars
12/10/00 matthew smith Delightfully hilarious. 5 stars
12/03/00 Phil I hope its nominated for best picture 5 stars
11/28/00 moviegoer hilariously delightful 5 stars
11/25/00 The Evil Penguin nice movie; there's one scene that is a rip-off of Indiana Jones. 3 stars
10/21/00 Johnny Figaro Funny, touching, exceptional craftsmanship... and some of the best action scenes of 2000!! 5 stars
9/08/00 Richard Wright Clever and well-animated tale, though putting in Mel Gibson was just a sop for the Yanks.. 4 stars
7/25/00 Lord Raymos Great for kids and adults (but only if they've seen classics like The Great Escape). 5 stars
7/23/00 Digitalus it was fabulous! 5 stars
7/17/00 PJ Good one Mac, I loved loved this movie is was funny wonderful, and perfect 5 stars
7/15/00 Maclay01 Those chics had great breasts! 4 stars
7/10/00 Marc I loved this movie! Best animated feature ever made! 5 stars
7/08/00 skye chapman fun! certainly worth more than a look. 4 stars
7/06/00 Matthew Bartley Enormous fun 5 stars
7/06/00 Jason Kallelis Easily one of the most entertaining movies this summer 5 stars
7/02/00 Blubberbot Good for kids. Boring for adults. I'm rating this for Adults. 2 stars
7/01/00 Bueller What do you do after Wallace and Gromit? Two words, "Chicken Run." Nick Park is brilliant! 5 stars
6/30/00 Heather The animation is fabulous, one of the summer's best! 5 stars
6/28/00 PhilmPhreak Don't crawl, don't walk - FLY to see this one! 5 stars
6/28/00 AVFred What a Great piece of entertainment. Don't miss this picture, it is the summer's surprise. 5 stars
6/28/00 furtively IF you got kids, its a 5 star. That simple. 4 stars
6/27/00 Overserved Great combo of animation and story. "The Geat Escape" with chickens. 5 stars
6/27/00 Greyjack Hysterically funny. Everyone I know loved it. Will even recommend to Mom! 5 stars
6/27/00 Poppacorn Hens also go for Mel Gibson 4 stars
6/27/00 Heather Keith Surprisingly grim, well crafted 5 stars
6/26/00 Michael Grimm great to look at, the story could have been better 4 stars
6/26/00 Guy Excellent, funny, eye-candy 5 stars
6/26/00 Socky Tocky The claymation world is breathtakingly beautiful. Ginger is the best heroine in long a time 5 stars
6/26/00 Captain Highcrime Absolutely charming. I've never cared for characters more. 5 stars
6/26/00 BillDog Go when people don't bring all the kids! 4 stars
6/26/00 Bubby Take away the clay and your left with shit. Next! 2 stars
6/26/00 Clare Fun & entertaining... some of the best jokes will go over kids's heads. 4 stars
6/26/00 Darren Shea Terrific fun 5 stars
6/25/00 "Persnickety" it's cute, the whole family can get a kick out of this movie! 5 stars
6/23/00 Bevan An awesome flick in the true, grandiose style of Wallace and Grommit 5 stars
6/23/00 frank one of the funniest movies i've ever seen 5 stars
6/22/00 Mike Not as good as the W&G shorts, but better than most of the stuff in theathers at the moment 4 stars
6/20/00 Jack Littlefield Way cool, go with a friend, but re-see the Great Escape first! 5 stars
6/18/00 cinesuerte one of the years best 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Jun-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Dec-2000




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