Having been hopelessly repressed and facing eventual certain death at the British chicken farm where they are held, Rocky the american rooster and Ginger the chicken decide to rebel against the evil Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy, the farm's owners. Rocky and Ginger lead their fellow chickens in a great escape from the murderous farmers and their farm of doom.
The first full-length feature from Aardman Animation is immensely satisfying, a divinely relaxed and confident film that credits youngsters' interest in a cartoon more substantial than the standard bland musical. The movie employs modeled latex figures to tell the story of a group of chickens desperate to escape from a chicken farm before they are turned into pies. Nick Park, who also directed the fabulous Wallace and Gromit shorts, transfers all of the deftness and imagination of his shorter films into an artful big-screen realization. And this briskly paced epic uses Peter Lord's continuing satirical take on British modesty and balmy superiority. ''Chicken Run'' parodies cultural touchstones from ''Stalag 17'' to ''Star Trek'' to the loose-cannon heroics of Mel Gibson, the voice of Rocky, the matinee-idol flying rooster who is asked to teach the hens to fly. Finally, it shows that the hens can save themselves through the pluck of Ginger (Julia Sawalha) and doesn't make a big deal of this. — Elvis Mitchell
2000-06-21 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of Chicken Run