Published Jun 01, 2000Chicken Run is a World War II prison movie, an army training flick and a love story - all set on a chicken farm. It's a formulaic movie with a brilliant twist guaranteed to elicit laughs. The movie, the first feature by famed Wallace & Gromit creators Peter Lord and Nick Park, borrows heavily from such classics as The Great Escape and cult hits as The Shawshank Redemption (the chickens, one of them points out, have been imprisoned mentally as well as physically). Ginger (Julia Sawalha of Absolutely Fabulous fame) is the leader of a group of chickens imprisoned on a chicken farm by the cruel Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) and her bullied husband (Tony Haygarth). If the chickens stop producing eggs, the gluttonous and overbearing Mrs. Tweedy takes them out to the woodshed and serves them up for dinner.
In desperate attempts to avoid this fate, the chickens try again and again to escape from the farm - they dig tunnels and try going under the wire like their counterparts in the Great Escape. But they aren't quite as skilled. Ginger decides they must all get out at once. When Rocky, a rooster voiced by Mel Gibson, comes flying over the fence and crashes into the farm, Ginger has her plan. She asks the rather arrogant Rocky (with whom all the chickens, except of course Ginger, fall in love) to teach the chickens how to fly. Like all good comedies, Chicken Run deals with some rather harsh realities. It has a dark side to it which makes the antics of the chickens all the more endearing (and which is likely to turn at least a few viewers permanently off chicken). If Chicken Run has one fault, it's that it's predictable - there's never any doubt about just how the movie will end. But watching the chickens get there is still well worth it.