Friday, July 29, 2011

097 - Chicken Run (2000)

DVD Box
Chicken Run is the story of a group of chickens that try to make a daring escape as their farm changes from producing eggs to pies.

Ginger is the leader of the chickens on Tweedy's Farm. She is often punished for attempted escapes, but keeps devising more plans with help from boffin Mac.

She cares for her friends - from the headstrong Bunty to the dippy Babs and old-fashioned ex-RAF based rooster Fowler - and when Rocky, a young American rooster, flies in over the fence, she dreams up the perfect plan for escape away from Mrs. Tweedy's automated pie maker.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Circa 1996. Aardman Animations are considering releasing their first full-length feature clay model animation. Nick Park is watching the television in the background which is showing Steve McQueen riding a motorbike frantically trying to escape a rowdy bunch of Germans. Jake Eberts and Peter Lord are sitting down discussing with excitement on how to put Wallace And Gromit on the big screen having made three very successful television appearances with them already.

Eberts and Lord propose their idea to Park, who dismisses it, claiming he is bored with the two clay friends and outlandishly claims he would rather make a clay animation of The Great Escape featuring chickens instead of having to fiddle with those stupid cheese-loving critters. Eberts and Lord look at each other, a mutual, non-verbal understanding between them. Park, seeing this, immediately regrets his outburst. Who, in their right mind, would turn the great McQueen into a rooster?

OK, so maybe it didn't happen this way, but it might as well have done. As Aardman began to pen Chicken Run, they had no idea that it was to become the critical and financial success that it was.

The reason for Chicken Run's success is clear. Set around a backbone of humour and utterly unforgettable one-liners is a story that is both familiar and suitable for everyone. Aardman took everything they learnt from Wallace and Gromit and expanded it on a huge scale, creating a variety of characters with perfectly exaggerated human personalities.

A host of celebrities were introduced from the world famous Hollywood star Mel Gibson as Rocky the Rhode Island Red to a very British sitcom star in Julia Sawalha as the main chicken, Ginger. This variety helped Chicken Run to gain worldwide success - a huge achievement from a studio more used to British shorts. The commercial success of Chicken Run was also a welcome shake-up of an genre otherwise dominated by Disney.

The best thing to have ever been released as clay stop-motion animation.

StarStarStarStarStar

1 comment:

  1. Love this film. One of the few though where I preferred the Finnish dub though. (It's not common to dub here, they do it for kids, but always also show the original) The only other film where I prefer the dub is Lion King, but even Disney voted that as the best dub of the film.

    P.S. I'm updating my Blogroll and was wondering where your blog is based! : - )

    ReplyDelete