This file was generated 2002-09-03 03:17 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2002-06-30.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> June 2000 >> Chicken Run
Aardman Animations has been producing amazing claymation for years now. The work of Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, has made Aardman more of a household name. I was first introduced to Wallace and Gromit when a friend showed me The Wrong Trousers. I then found the videotape three pack which also included A Grand Day Out and A Close Shave. All of them are heedless adventures into the extremely silly with two very charming protagonists and chillingly wordless antagonists.
Now, four years in the making, we have Chicken Run, Aardman's first attempt at feature-length claymation. For all the wonderful humor aimed well above the comprehension of most children, the movie isn't as cheerful as I expected. It is probably the depressing setting of a chicken farm that weighs the movie down. The movie never has opportunity to establish the characters as enjoying their life. Indeed, the introductory sequence is of Ginger (voice of Julia Sawalha of "Absolutely Fabulous") trying to escape, only to be cornered by Mr. Tweedy and his dogs. Of course, there's also a blatant "humans, especially the non- vegetarian types, are evil" thread.
Right! Sorry! Got carried away there. Chicken Run is a lot of fun and easy to recommend, even if it's not in the same spirit of its predecessors. Aardman's character design is always a joy to behold, and the chickens are no exception. The crowd scenes are miraculously detailed, bearing some similarity to the sheep in A Close Shave except even more amazing. Wallace may not be around to invent it, but the pie- making machine looks like his style, if a little violent. There are also a few rats who get some of the movie's best one-liners and are much more charming than their real-world counterparts.