Playing Chicken

A delightful animated feature, with a tight script and witty dialogue.

"Chicken Run" is the first ever feature-length claymation movie by the animation house that has delighted us earlier with "Morph", the "Wallace and Gromit" series, and "Rex the Runt". Superbly directed by the Oscar-winning duo of Peter Lord and Nick Park, "Chicken Run" is worth watching!

The film is about a series of escape attempts by the chickens of Tweedy's chicken farm under the leadership of Ginger (Julia Sawalha). However, all their attempts fail, and they begin to fear for their lives - the rule in this particular farm is that chickens which ail to meet their "egg quota" land up at the dinner table.

The chickens continue to swing between hope and despair till the arrival of Rocky, the flying rooster, who starts teaching them how to fly. Meanwhile, tired of the miniscule profits accruing from eggs, the farmer's wife, Mrs. Tweedy, buys a pie machine with the intention of making and selling chicken pies.

The movie depicts all the escape attempts in an extremely humorous manner; check out the roller coaster ride through the pie machine in particular.

It took two years and forty animators to come up with this movie, and I'd say the time was well spent. The claymation is superb, the voice-overs are also good (though I wish that Mel Gibson (Rocky) had been a tad better). A diverse bunch of well-defined characters are etched into the script, and they ensure that the audience's attention does not flag.

Written by Nick Park, the script is tight and well paced, despite being heavily interspersed with witty dialogue; there's even an odd bit of romance thrown in for good measure. The slick direction helps, and even the sets do not disappoint.

An ideal family entertainer, "Chicken Run" is a movie that will appeal to adults and children alike.

This article was first published on 19 Dec 2000.