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Chicken Run (2000)
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Review Date: June 17, 2000
Director: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick
Producers: Peter Lord, Nick Park, David Sproxton
Actors:
Mel Gibson
Julia Sawalha
Miranda Richardson
Plot:
A bunch of British hens laying eggs in a chicken farm for a living decide that it's time to escape their inevitable fates. They organize several attempts of flight from their coops, but none turn out successful. Just then, an outside American rooster pops into their lives and raises their hopes of escape.
Critique:
A cluckin' good time! A wonderful production featuring impeccable clay animation effects, a witty and original script, an infectious and booming score, and the cutest l'il chickens you'd ever want to meet. Chicken has always been my favorite of the "white meats", but after seeing this movie, I may have to reconsider ever eating chicken again. They're just so cute and cuddly! Seriously though, the film is a delight on so many different levels. It's fun to look at, it's loaded with many funny one-liners, it moves along at a hardy pace, and overall, it just makes you smile and love movies so much more. It's also short and sweet, which is always welcome in so-called "children's movies". The audience I was with seemed to love the film even more than I did, with many of the attendees laughing out loud on several occasions. I personally enjoyed much of the film's smart humor, but mostly I just chuckled and smiled a lot. The British hen accents were also a very cool and pleasant addition, as well as the hip turn by Rocky the Rooster, perfectly voiced over by none other than mega-star Mel Gibson.

Any major problems with the film? Not really. Perhaps the addition of a couple of snappy songs might've added to the proceedings, but any film featuring a boisterous chicken dance sequence as well as an all-out muddy cockfight, certainly has enough filling on its plate as it is. I also loved the movie's many prominent homage scenarios, including the film to which this one derives its most obvious influence, THE GREAT ESCAPE (just replace the humans in that movie with chickens). There are also a couple of really cool action sequences, one reminiscent of INDIANA JONES, and the other bringing to mind the last 20 minutes of TOY STORY 2 (8/10), two films which certainly aren't chicken feed on their own right. And if you really pay close attention, you will note a famous shot from THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION done with a chicken standing in the rain here. Pretty funny. I don't like making predictions either, but this film certainly could be one of the biggest hits of the summer (a sleeper, some might say), simply because of its ability to hit many of the tones that people look for in a quality movie. It's got a great look, a rousing score, plenty of goofs, inside pranks, emotional scenes, a touch of romance, action, adventure, memorable characters and just an overall solid feeling of chicken-loving-fun. So drop the chicken wings, grab the kids, tow the better half along, and prepare yourself to be entertained for 85 minutes of cluckin' fun! And who can't love those darn chicken teeth!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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