CHICKEN RUN directed by Nick Park and Peter Lord

Film / Video Reviews
CHICKEN RUN directed by Nick Park and Peter Lord
Nov 21, 2000, 06:46

CHICKEN RUN directed by Nick Park and Peter Lord; Aardman Animations/DreamWorks SKG, 2000

Chicken Run does for poultry what Babe did for pigs. It injects enough heart and soul into feather heads to make them more than merely breasts, thighs, and drumsticks on a plate. In the process, claymation masters Nick Park and Peter Lord deliver one of the year's most transcendent films. Set on an English farm, it follows a gaggle of hens who fly the coop before they end up landing in the chicken pot pies their captors have cooked up. It's a basic premise, but one full of complexity and nuance; hardly children's film fare.

The setting is Dickensian, from the downtrodden faces and harsh characters to the dreary feel of the concentration camp-like farm. And the script never clucks. It's full of smart allusions to flicks such as Stalag 17 and stuffed with characters that lampoon the cultural divide between American and European. The American is the naive optimist; the Brit is the ruffled, eccentric coot, and the English rose is well-mannered and intelligent. Seeing Chicken Run won't just warm the cockles, it'll make you scream fowl next time you see a KFC.

-John Petkovic

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