Chicken Run was a film I grew up loving, so when I saw it on Netflix I thought I’d see if it is still any good. Happily it is, it is still one of my favourite kids films, not without it’s flaws, for a number of reasons. It is created by Aardman Animations, the genius stop-motion studio behind Wallace and Gromit, and staring Julia Sawalha and Mel gibson. The film follows the Chicken Ginger (Sawalha) and the other Chickens of the Tweedy’s egg farm in Yorkshire as they try to escape. The farm is styled more like a prison camp and the chickens are treated like prisoners of war, and eventually executed when they fail to meet there egg quota by Mrs Tweedy (Miranda Richardson), a greedy and abusive woman, and her simple husband Mr Tweedy, who is obsessed with the chickens, believing they’re organised despite Mrs Tweedy telling him it’s all in his head. All seems hopless for the Chickens after many failed escape attempts, until Rocky (Mel Gibson), a flying Rooster, crashes into the farm and brakes his wing, and promises to try and teach the Chickens to fly so they can escape over the fence. The film is a lot of fun and amazingly created, the stop-motion is very well done, I feel it’s much more personal than computer animated films as you can see the work gone into creating it and you are actually looking at something someone created! The review may have some small spoilers but nothing too much.
The films characters really make this stand out as a great kids film. Ginger is a great strong female lead, she’s not motivated by love or looks like disney princess’ tend to be, but instead she is driven by a desire to try and save all the Chickens from inevitable death. In fact this film is dominated by it’s female charcters, the chickens are all female (obviously haha) and they are the ones that lead the film and eventually organise the escape. Babs, Bunty and Mac, the other lead Chickens, are funny are very funny and each very unique and important to the Chickens escape. And Mrs Tweedy is still one of the scariest kids film villians I have seen to this day, I mean she is really horrible! And while the film sets it up that the Chickens will have to rely on Rocky to save them, he turns out to be a fake and lyer and runs out on them rather than admit he can’t fly. The other male charcters are either stupid like Mr Tweedy, Old and senile like the old rooster Fowler or sneaky con artists like the black market dealing rats Nick and Fetcher. The female characters dominated this film in a very inspiring way which I think more kids films need. I mean this is like Orange is the New Black mixed with the Great Escape for kids, It’s women allowed to be woman and not just be badass for the sake of it.
Speaking of the Great Escape, Chicken run starts with a montage of attempted escape that play a great homage to the Great Escape, from the music to the tally chart on the sollatary confinemeant. Its a lot fun and there’s also star trek references which I didn’t get as a kid but I thought it was hilarious now.
The story’s great, but there’s one annoying thing, and thats the romance between Ginger and Rocky that happens at the end. I dunno it just feels kinda forced as for the first half they hate each other, then Rocky abandons the Chickens, and sure he comes back but it still doesn’t feel like they would get together at the end. It underminds the whole feminist thing the film had going for it as Ginger was a very strong independant Chicken and making her end up with Rocky just for the sake of it is a bit annoying.
The films is still great though and you can easily just ignore the romance as it happens just at the end.
P.S. My sister named her guinea pigs Babs and Bunty haha random fact there.