WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Who would have thought that a movie about a bunch of Play Doh chickens would have garnered such positive critical acclaim? Countless movie critics fell in love with its endearing story and quirky characters. Thereís actually talk of Dreamworks actively campaigning to have this movie nominated for Best Picture at this yearís Oscars! With that having been said, Chicken Runís DVD release features great picture quality and a number of terrific extras that are sure to please.
A rebellious hen (voiced by Julia Sawalha) dreams of one day grazing the green hills of the English countryside. Cooped up in her stall, she schemes and plots with her fellow hens in hopes of finding a way to escape the confines of the chicken farm. One fateful day, a smooth talking rooster (voiced by Mel Gibson) appears and promises to show them the way to freedom.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Iím not exactly a fan of childrenís movies but boy, this one really won me over. Those chickens were so damn cute and colorful, not to mention their pearly white smiles. I will admit though, that I was a little disheartened by the beginning of the film and its concentration camp like atmosphere. For a supposed kids movie, some of the themes were a little harsh. But after that, I sat in surprised amusement at how sharp and witty the writing was. Mel Gibson does a terrific job as boisterous free minded Rocky the rooster. Despite his big name involvement, the supporting cast of characters were the real stars of this movie. From the geeky scientist to the airhead knitting nanny, youíll love their bubbly personalities and hilarious escape attempts. I eggspecially (I couldnít help but use one egg reference) liked the two shyster businessmen rats and their great one liners. Fowler, the kooky military veteran rooster, was a real charmer too. I also appreciated the fact that none of the chickens spontaneously burst into any elaborate song numbers (a la every Disney movie). Kudos to the animators for their exceptional work in breathing life into these clay chickens. This is simply a wonderful movie which will please both kids and adults, guaranteed.
Chicken Run does a nice job of throwing in some fun little extras. The first, "Poultry In Motion", is a 20 minute featurette which provides a behind the scenes glimpse at how much work went into making the movie as well as provide a look at the people behind the voices of the chickens. (Cool factoids: Each day of shooting on the set only produced about 2.5 seconds of actual screen time! The movie features over 110,000 shots) The second featurette, "The Hatching of Chicken Run" is a 15 minute look at the history of Nick Park and Peter Lordís claymation movies like Wallace and Gromit and provides interviews with members of the crew. A Mission Impossible 2 themed trailer (C:R-1), a Gladiator inspired TV commercial and the original trailer are all included and definitely worth a look. A 17-minute read along allows kids to follow the movieís abridged story. Production notes are also supplied too. The discís menus feature the scoreís military inspired theme and look like the battle plans the hens designed. A cool feature throughout the menus is the "Panic Button", press it and youíll see the hens run around screaming, itís a funny little option.
A terrifically fun release from start to finish. The extras do an adequate job of explaining the nuts and bolts of the movie and the commentary track was great too. The DVDís real strength, though, is its fabulous transfer which at times is simply unbelievable. Chicken Run gets my seal of approval, itís a great rental and for fans of the movie, worth buying