Harry Potter (Book 4)
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Directed by Nick Park and Peter Lord
Running Time: 1:24
Rated G

I'll admit, I was a little wary when I went to see Chicken Run. I didn't know if I could sit through an hour and a half of claymation. But you know what, after a while you don't even realize you're watching clay move. Every chicken takes on its own personality and you get lost in the story.

On a chicken farm in England, the chickens are revolting. I don't mean they're nasty, I mean they're trying to escape. Ginger, the lead chicken, realizes that the chickens who get taken away for not laying eggs aren't going on holiday, they're being slaughtered, and she doesn't want that to be her life. So with the help of the other chickens (and one rooster) she tries to find ways to escape, only to be foiled at every turn. But one day her prayers are answered, as a rooster named Rocky comes literally out of the sky. Turns out he's escaped from a circus, and together they try to help each other escape the lives that they lead, and get to paradise.

I find the key to these kinds of movies is to have a good story. If you saw my review for the latest Disney offering, Dinosaur, you know that the reason I didn't like it was because the story was something I had seen before. While the animation was incredible, the feeling of awe and amazement went away quickly, and I was left with a movie I had seen before. In that vein, I liked Chicken Run because it was a story I hadn't seen before. Sure elements of the movie were taken from other famous films, but who can say they've seen a movie dealing with chickens trying to escape from a chicken farm? Again here, the animation was amazing. The directors have the ability to make hundreds of chickens all look basically the same, but make them all completely different. From the brainy one with glasses, to the ditzy one who knitted all the time, to the powerhouse one who took no crap from anyone. Everyone had their own distinct personality which made you enjoy the characters. Which is important once you get past the animation. Even the greatest animation in the world is only amazing for the first few minutes, then you start to get into the movie itself. And this movie was a lot of fun.

Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha and Miranda Richardson were among the various voices used in the film, and I thought they all matched their characters very well. The animation, as I said before was amazing. The opening shot you can't tell if it's real or if it's clay. Nick Park has done some amazing things with clay, winning at least 3 Academy Awards along the way. He has mastered the ability to create creatures you care about, and not just ones that look good. The story they came up with was certainly different. The idea that chickens would band together to fight the evil farm owner isn't something you would normally think of. And the two rats were by far my favorite parts of the film. Those guys were very funny. I also liked how they included references to other movies, including some very funny Star Trek moments near the end.

So overall, I found Chicken Run to be good, clean family fun. It had a good story, some amazing animation, and characters you could cheer for. It had some funny moments, and some touching ones. So if you're looking for a movie for the whole family to enjoy, this is definitely the best choice out there.

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Release date: August 29, 2000

Text Version

reviewed 06/24/00

© 2000 Wolfpack Productions