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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 34.3%
Average: 8.14%
Pretty Bad: 3.49%
Total Crap: 2.91%

11 reviews, 106 user ratings

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Chicken Run
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by EricDSnider

"Show me a better Claymation film, and I'll eat a live chicken."
5 stars

From the British folks who brought us the daft "Wallace & Gromit" Claymation cartoons comes "Chicken Run," a full-length adventure about a group of hens trying to escape from Tweedy Farms. The chickens who produce the fewest eggs get axed, and, to make matters worse, the Tweedys have now decided to turn ALL the chickens into chicken pies via an enormous machine, the insides of which lead to one of the film's greatest, funniest sequences.

Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha) is their leader, a plucky (sorry) gal with a never-ending list of schemes aimed at getting the whole bunch over the fence and into freedom. They all fail (one of them involves digging with an eggbeater -- just one example of the film's mildly subversive deviltry), and for her efforts, she keeps getting tossed into solitary confinement -- or "on holiday," as the preciously dense, constantly-knitting Babs (Jane Horrocks) puts it. ("We haven't tried NOT trying to escape," Babs offers as a suggestion.)

Then along comes Rocky the Rooster (Mel Gibson), a cocky (sorry) American who says he can actually fly! In exchange for hiding him from the circus whence he came, he agrees to teach the ladies this skill. But he may not be everything he says he is, and the crusty old retired military rooster Fowler (Benjamin Whitrow) has his doubts, as does Ginger.

The greatness of this film is in its details. There are references to other movies and pop culture, as is the trend among animated films in this post-modern age -- but they're all subtle, typical of the dry British wit we Americans love so much. The story line is understated and deftly handled, too: When Rocky comes clean about his past and leaves the group in shame, he doesn't do it in a tearful letter, as would be expected. Instead, he leaves behind the missing half of his circus-promotion poster -- the half that tells the whole story with no sentiment or melodrama whatsoever. Beautiful.

Another great thing is that the film reminds us, occasionally, just how ridiculous it is. We know the chickens are organized. We know Ginger is their leader. We accept this, because it's a cartoon, and things like that happen in cartoons. But when Mr. Tweedy tells his wife (Miranda Richardson), "They're organized, I know it. Ginger, she's their leader, I reckon," we laugh at the stupidity of such an idea. Organized, indeed! With a leader, even! The chickens!

This is a whimsical, clever film that entertains the young ones as well as the grown-ups as much as any Disney film has ever done. With memorable characters and one great scene after another -- there are swing-dancing chickens in this movie, for crying out loud! -- there's never a moment that comes across as anything less than wonderful.

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originally posted: 07/01/03 16:01:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/27/18 Louise Fabulous fun, with heart & soul, and and very clever. Who could not love this?? 5 stars
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
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
2/01/01 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
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