Short Attention Span Review™
Though slowly paced at times for our tastes, Chicken Run is a fun, humorous, and entertaining claymation classic for audiences of all ages. References to other film (and television) classics are numerous throughout, so be sure to pay attention as these brave chickens try to spring the coop and not end up as tonight's dinner.
The text below the break is part of a theatrical review originally published on June 17th, 2000.
Here are some updated thoughts: I remember this being a pretty good weekend for movies. We saw both Titan A.E. and Chicken Run, both animated movies that turned out to not suck . . . which doesn’t happen often at the modern cinema. This was back in the day when I was writing for a burgeoning movie website that was part of the IGN Network, and we would often watch multiple movies during the weekends. Now we’re old and have a good enough theater in our rural home that driving 2 hours to see a movie isn’t that appealing anymore.
I seem to have fonder memories of Chicken Run than our review score indicates. I was almost certain we’d given this higher scores than just “Good.” It must have had something to do with our perception that parts of the movie were slow, and watching them fail over and over with the coop breakouts got old. I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that between now and then star Mel Gibson turned into a trashy, batshit insane old man. Not surprised. Welcome to Hollyweird.
Two animation offerings in one weekend, must be a first. To the best of my knowledge this is the first mass market, mainstream claymation flick to come along in a LONG time. We popped into this sneak peak right after getting out of the great action-packed Titan A.E., and the pace is much slower in Chicken Run. Though not as much pure fun as watching Titan A.E., Chicken Run is also a feast for the eyes and great entertainment.
The cool thing about this movie is that it borrows from a spectrum of other works, and makes no attempt to hide it. From Ginger bouncing what looks like a Brussels sprout inside the coal bin (mimicking the “cooler” scene from The Great Escape), to her snagging her hat from underneath a closing door just like Indiana Jones did in Raiders of the Lost Ark . . . the references are varied and numerous. Other movies/shows borrowed from are: Stalag 17 (main barrack is #17), Star Trek, Hogan’s Heroes, and many others I probably didn’t even pick up on.
You know, I have to love a movie that has lines like “I’m giving her all I’ve got, Captain!” and “It’s a cling-on!” Another movie reference that Neal missed was when Rocky (voiced by Mel Gibson) was initially flying over the farm, he cried “Freedom” a la Braveheart! Although the movie was slow at times and a bit repetitive with each failed escape attempt, I thought the animators and actors did a great job in creating such a variety of unique characteristics for each chicken. The two rats where hilarious all the way to the end, so make sure you stay through the credits when you go see this movie.
One thing that bugged me about this film was the closing credits. I know it’s a little thing, but I just feel that they should take more care in how they present the people who worked so hard to bring us these films. Besides that, it makes my eyes all buggy trying to read a shaking screen.
The claymation is done by Aardman Animations, the same group who brought us the wonderful Wallace & Gromit, and it is state of the art. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into crafting this film. As I’ve mentioned, the story lacks a lot of originality other than it borrows from every war escape movie to portray chickens trying to escape the coop, instead of POWs trying to escape a compound. But that’s okay, it’s still fun, slow at points, but fun. This is definitely one that is much more geared towards the kids. If you have little ones, I recommend seeing Chicken Run. If it’s just you, go see Titan A.E.. If you love movies like we do, go see both . . . but see this one first as it will tend to feel REALLY slow after watching Titan A.E..
Other than that minor complaint, I thought that this movie was very fun and well suited to younger audiences with a great message of never giving up on your dreams no matter the obstacle. I also thought that it was very fitting that when Neal and I went out for dinner after the movie that we ate stuffed chicken at the Olive Garden! I know, I have no heart. You should have seen what we ate after watching Babe: Pig in My Tummy . . . I mean Pig in the City!
Note: I’m revisiting and re-posting many older articles (almost 200) I’ve written (or contributed to) over the years, either for my own purposes or as contributions to other sites now long digitally decayed and dormant. These reviews/articles will appear in their nearly raw, unaltered form, with a few updated thoughts at the beginning of each.
He Said, She Said was a movie blog (before blogs were a thing) where Amy and I would go to movies and write short and easily accessible compare & contrast reviews. Sometimes we agreed . . . and sometimes not. Above all we never took the movies, or ourselves, too seriously.