Chicken Run

Thursday 12th February 20047:00 PM

This film has come from the makers of the "Wallace and Gromit" and "Creature Comforts" animations as seen on television. This film is mostly based on the film "The Great Escape" and you will definitely be able to tell as you watch it. Released in 2000, this film was one of many new films inspired by the new depths of animated feature films.

Chicken Run is set in a 50's Yorkshire chicken farm where the chickens are forced into laying eggs everyday or they get the chop. After one of the chickens becomes dinner for the farmer the other chickens decide they need to escape. They try desperately hard to think of a plan to escape but the farmer's wife is ruthless, and the guard dogs aren't something they want to get on the same side of the fence with. Opportunity arises when a Rooster named Rocky (voiced by Mel Gibson) appears and the chickens are delighted as they recover half a poster with Rocky flying in the air. What a better way to escape than to fly? Rocky cannot fly with a broken wing and chickens begin having flying lessons from Rocky. What the chickens don't know is that Rocky cannot fly without a broken wing either...

Possibly not considered as good as the other animations we are also showing this week in the union cinema, but nevertheless it is still a film worth watching. Having numerous crashing chickens is somewhat funny and a nice touch is added with the local trading rats and show very good animation sequences at the end of the film.

with help from imdb.com

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Nick Park has already won three Oscars for his short animated films Creature Comforts, The Wrong Trousers, and A Close Shave, the latter two starring the Wallace and Gromit characters. Here he teams with co-director/producer Peter Lord and expands his Plasticine world into an 85-minute feature filled with artistry and wonder.

The hens at the Tweedy's Egg Farm are in a bind – if they don’t produce eggs, they end up as dinner. Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha) is determined to break out, but so far all her attempts have met with failure. The situation becomes even bleaker at their concentration camp-like compound when Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) decides to take her business in a new direction. She's bought a machine that inhales chickens at one end, and spits out chicken pies on the other.

Enter Rocky (Mel Gibson), a brash Yank who literally drops in from above - he's a famous flying rooster, escaped from a circus, and calls himself "The Lone Free Ranger". He soon has Tweedy's flock intrigued by his promise to teach them all to fly, and enable them to escape their fate as food.

This is a film that can be appreciated on many levels. It is appealing and instructive - we see Ginger and the flock trying increasingly imaginative ways to escape, some ingenious, all of which are funny. There's a large dose of dry humour and a wealth of scenes where Chicken Run parodies and pays homage to other films - there's enough references to warrant a second viewing to try and catch them all. Fragments of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Star Trek, The Shawshank Redemption and The Great Escape are all there just waiting to be discovered.

A team of 300 (including 40 animators) worked for over two years to produce Chicken Run. Its use of the "claymation" type of animation is particularly impressive, given that there are 12 double frames per second of film time, and that each character needed to be moved minutely by hand for each new frame. It is refreshing to find a production that uses decidedly low-tech methods to produce such impressive results. This is a film that has used technology as the servant of its story, not the master. Chicken Run may not use the highly technical methods favoured by the animated film makers of late, but despite this manages to achieve a fantastic blend of humour, ingenuity and charm that can’t help but leave you smiling.

With help from www.bbc.co.uk/films/

Rotten Tomatoes Score:

96%

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