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93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2000
"Chicken Run" (the latest from Aardman Studios, the makers of the 'Wallace and Gromit' films) is simply the most delightful, visually amazing, and FUN animated movie since Disney's "The Lion King." Other studios (notably Warner Brothers) have tried to take a bite out of Disney's pie-share of the kid-movie market, but Aardman and Dreamworks have done it best in this charming, hilarious, and edge-of-your-seat thrilling animated fantasy about a group of hens trying to break out of a chicken farm. Running the farm with an evil eye and an iron ax are the villainous Mrs. Tweedie and her henpecked (literally) husband, who's sure those chickens are plotting escape. The voices are perfect, from Julia Sawalha and Joan Horrocks from "Absolutely Fabulous" as chickens to Mel Gibson as the "flying" rooster Rocky. I want to recommend that every parent take their kids to see this one: unlike many other recent cartoons, this one is completely suitable for all but the very youngest children (there's some tense moments in a chase at the end, and a little threatening to the chickens with an ax), but even better, this will delight and amuse the adults with its clever animation, perfect voice-casting, witty visual allusions to famous movies like "The Great Escape," "The Bridge over the River Kwai," and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and Indiana Jones-type thrills that range from a chase inside an automatic chicken pie-making machine to a dramatic and climatic escape that is reminiscent of, but even improves on, the high-energy chase sequences of Aardman's "Wallace and Gromit" films. The moral lessons (you can succeed better with teamwork; stand by your friends) are pointed but gentle, without hitting kids over the head. I can't recommend this one highly enough, folks, whatever age you are. And if you head out of the theater and go eat a chicken pot pie, you have a much, much, harder heart than mine!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2000
Format: DVD
Poultry in motion ! What a great movie, there's more entertainment in the opening credits than most movies have in total.
I was totally impressed by the entire movie. The characters are fanastic, the plot is really funny and the stop film animation is superb.
Ginger keeps plotting to escape the Tweedy's egg farm. Mishap after mishap mirror Hogan's Heroes. There's even the coal box outside the Tweedy's where Ginger spends her time in the "cooler" after each failed escape attempt.
Rocky the 'flying' Rooster arrives to "save the day". That's as much as I'll say about the plot. EGGselent family entertainment!
The extras are pretty cool too! Truly an EGGsquisite dvd.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2000
Format: DVD
There are not many movies out there that can equally entertain thirty-somethings and toddlers, but this one does! Grab your popcorn and get ready for pure, wholesome family fun.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2000
Format: DVD
Well, what an absolute joy and surprise this movie turned out to be. I was dumb-founded from start to finish as to how the animators actually created this magical stop-motion picture. In the past three days I have watched this disc over and over again, not tiring of it at all. The story (ala "Stalag 17" and "The Great Escape") is simple yet effective. A group of English hens constantly plot and scheme to escape from their chicken farm, run by the tyrannical Mrs Tweedy (the voice of Miranda Richardson), before they are turned into chicken pies. Their only hope comes in the shape of a cocky, plucky American rooster named Rocky Roads (Mel Gibson in his best performance to date). "Chicken Run" is filled with great adult one-liners and jokes and is packed with every war/escape movie cliche know to this genre. It will also appeal to the little ones. The disc is great value. The DTS soundtrack is pretty awesome and really kicks into power when the chicken pie oven blasts into action....WOW! The video transfer is crystal clear, which adds an extra dimension to the clay models. The extras are fun also. The "Chicken Panic" button is very cute, "The Making Of" docos (there are two) are VERY interesting and informative, and there is great information about the movie hidden throughout the menus....you have to find them! The highlight of the disc is the voice of Jane Horrocks ("Little Voice" and Bubble from "Ab Fab") who steals the show as Babs the dumb hen! She's hysterical. Make sure you buy this disc for your DVD library. You won't be disappointed! If this movie doesn't win an Oscar at next year's Academy Awards....I'll give up poultry for life!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
CHICKEN RUN is a great movie. It is one of the best movies of 2000. It is a film that contains a lot of humor for both children and adults. The movie is made by the people responsible for WALLACE AND GROMIT and if you enjoy those films, you will probably enjoy CHICKEN RUN.
One of my favorite things about the film is to trying to figure out all the different parodies and allusions made to other films, televison, and pop culture. The basic plot line of the story is taken from THE GREAT ESCAPE. There are a couple of great scenes, and lines for that matter, stolen directly from STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Other films that are alluded to include STALAG 17, BRAVEHEART, SCHINDLER'S LIST, along with the television series STAR TREK.
The movie's pace is fairly quick and the characters are more substantial than the normal cardboard cut-out characters of many other animated films. All in all, CHICKEN RUN is a film that gives you a run worth your time and money.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2000
The creators of the British animated classic "Wallace and Gromit" bring their magic to a full length feature. It's an ingenious little adventure that follows the hopes and dreams of a chicken named Ginger (Julia Sawalha). Her dream is to escape Mrs. Tweedy's chicken farm. She claims she can do it on her own but what bewilders her is that she is afraid for all her fellow fowl within the coop. So their plan focuses upon all of them in one huge jail-break. Ginger's prayers seem to be answered when a "flying" rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) drops into the coop after escaping a traveling circus. Meanwhile Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) develops a plan to turn her little farm into a massive "chicken pot pie" factory forcing Ginger and Rocky to teach all the others to fly before they become pies. What makes "Chicken Run" so ingenious was how the animators made us want to be apart of the chicken world. We fall head over heals involved with these chickens and their daily lives. Coupled with that involvement, "Chicken Run" also cleverly delivers us into a "prison breakout" movie filled with humor, and excitement. "Chicken Run" is a pure delight. For many people this will be their first experimentation with a full length animated feature involving clay. The clay for me helps reflect the tones and dimensions of the characters. In some ways I think it aids a lot in the audience's involvement in the chicken world. Placing aside the claymation and those magnificent machines, "Chicken Run" also brings back a lot of classic Hollywood moments in the films setting. There are scenes which remind us a lot of the classic World War 2 prison movies. Films like the "Great Escape", "Stalag 17" and even the misadventures of "Hogan's Heroes". What I liked about those film references here is that they weren't here to poke fun at the films but to play homage. The references also aid the audience in diving deeper into the film and its delight. If you remember "Wallace and Gromit" then you may recall all their huge machines which helped enchant their everyday lives. From the rocket-ship to the sheep shearing machine, "Chicken Run" has these kinds of machines which have always amazed me in their transformation and assembly. How do they dream up these wondrous machines? (4.5 of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I'll admit I almost became a vegetarian after witnessing those poor yet engaging chickens starring in the excellent (yes, I decided against the bad pun, EGG-cellent) movie "Chicken Run." I think I was expecting something brainless yet less offensive than the other fare when I chose this movie, but I'm glad I did. It's only fair that I say one of the major appeals of this movie was it's spoofing of "The Great Escape," one of my favorite WWII movies. However, even if I had never seen that classic, "Chicken Run" would have been highly appealing. Clay animation, quality clay animation is under-represented. Visually, this movie was astounding. The humor was appropriate for all levels of comprehension, without boring an adult audience. In fact, an adult might find this movie far more amusing than a child, but let's not deprive anyone of the priveldge of seeing this film. The voices were very well chosen (I love the accents), including a surprising Mel Gibson. One reason I enjoyed this movie was because I did not immediately recognize a voice and associate it with the person, as happens when celebrities provide the voices for other animated films. In this, the voice was that of the character, which kept my distractions down. The plot was really very original, despite the spoof quality. Overall, GREAT movie... and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This movie was fantastic. I have never seen anything like it. While taking place on a small English farm in a Stalag 17 style, a hen house of chickens warm your heart and make you laugh at the same time. After reading the other reviews, I won't waste space describing the plot. Being only an hour and a half long, Chicken Run is able to capture your attention and hold it all the way through. The attention to detail is awesome! Although I was startled at first to see a chicken with teeth, after viewing the movie I must admit that was one of the details that makes the film so refreshing and funny. Even in the slow parts (there aren't many) it is entertaining enough to listen to chickens with British accents. Priceless! A must see!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This charming and funny film was the surprise hit of summer 2000 and deserves a place in every home. "Chicken Run" deals with the troubles of a flock of chickens on Tweady's Farm, which is about to be mechanized for greater profit. Evil Mrs. Tweady has just invested in an enormous machine which will kill the chickens, skin them, and make them into Mrs. Tweady's "homemade" pies.
When things look their worst, a Yank hero (voice of Mel Gibson) comes cannonballing into their avian roost. Gibson is the never-say-die type and he convinces he can teach the chickens how to escape by flying away. By the end of the movie the chickens do fly, literally and metaphorically, but not in the way you'd think.
"Chicken Run" is not a computer-generated movie. It was filmed in stop-action, a painstaking process similar to claymation, where inert figures have to be moved a tiny, tiny amount and photographed one frame at a time. This film took years to produce, but the quality is up there on the screen.
Don't think that "Chicken Run" is just a kid's movie. There's a lot of throwaway wit that adults (and even grandparents) will enjoy. For example, the most heroic chickens inhabit coop (stalag) 17. And while Mr. Tweady can see the chickens planning their escape, every time he gets Mrs. Tweady to take a look she only sees the birds clucking and pecking. (Think of Gladys Kravitz on "Bewitched"!) All in all, a superior film.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2001
Format: DVD
"Chicken Run" may very well be the best movie of 2000, and most certainly the funniest and most awe-inspiring. It contains all the needed elements to make a children's movie, but what makes it so much better is that it still has a high adult-pleasing quotient, using lots of wit and humor that most small children would not pick up on. The story is as exciting and entertaining as any action movie this year, and the characters inspire pure humor and laughs. The movie is supposed to make you laugh, and it hit the spot for me.
The story is strikingly similar to "The Great Escape," the 1963 film in which a group of P.O.W.s try different tactics to escape a Nazi prison camp. "Chicken Run" takes the basic structure of that film and replaces its protagonists with poultry, the prison with a poultry farm, and the Germans with a chicken farmer whose greed for money is the danger the chickens may face. It's a basic remastering of the plot that incorporates a fresh plot full of humor and delight in its characters and development.
The movie centers around Mrs Tweedy's chicken farm, and the antics of one chicken, Ginger, as she tries various ways of escaping the clutches of their devilish owner. One by one, the plans fail, but they become more determined to escape when one of their own is taken to be killed because she laid no eggs. As the chickens begin to panic, in comes Rocky, an American rooster who finds himself surrounded by swooning English chickens that can't wait for him to demonstrate how they can escape by flying out of the coop. There's only one thing: Rocky doesn't really know how to fly, but is afraid of telling the chickens for fear that Ginger will turn him in to the circus he escaped from. This is the point at which the movie picks up a lot of momentum and comedy, which mostly involves the plans of escape. Once the chickens realize the awful truth that they are going to be turned into pot pies, the race is on to try and find an escape route from the coop.
I found myself laughing at so many different things this movie has to offer, but mostly at the irony of the chickens themselves. Chickens, in reality, are not smart creatures, but the movie portrays them as intelligent and quite witty, coming up with plans of escaping that end in hilarious results. Each separate character has his own stereotype of a different social attitude: Ginger embodies determination and strength, which holds the rest of the flock together. Rocky is the cocky rooster who knows he can get away with a lot just by making the ladies swoon, but he ultimately ends up a good guy. Babs is the anti-intelligence of the group, and it is her simple-mindedness that makes for most of the laughs in the movie, while Mac is the logical thinker who wants to make sure every aspect of each plan will work.
More of the laughs come with the situations the chickens get involved in. As Rocky begins his training of the coop to get them to fly, there is so much comedy to be had as they go from imitating martial arts moves to flying into fences and the ground with the help of a catapult. Screaming chickens aren't something you ever really think about being funny, but trust me, it does take a load off your mind. There is also a lot of wit and humorous dialogue that many small children will not pick up on, but that's okay, because it is more there to keep adults entertained for the movie as well. The remarks and comments are witty, intelligent, and make us laugh at just the sheer humor in the entire situation.
Claymation is all the rage in this film, and is some of the best work for animation of this sort that I've ever seen. Once you realize how much work actually goes into making a movie of this sort (each movement is shot frame-by-frame), you cna fully appreciate the work that goes into this movie. This technique of filmmaking sets it apart from regular animation and gives it a unique, 3D feel that makes it fresh and exciting.
"Chicken Run" deserves more than just critical praise; it deserves a place in the movie hall of fame for being able to make us laugh like no other movie can. This movie breaks all the rules and proves to us that laughs don't come solely from gratuity and gross-outs. It proves that a children's movie can appeal just as much to an older audience, and it does so by combining sparkling animating techniques with sharp phrases and an easily appreciated story that is delightful and completely satisfying.
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