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Chicken Run

Animator Nick Park and his cohorts at Aardman Studios, have quelled the myth! Chicken's have lips.

The creator of claymation stars Wallace and Gromit ( clever yarns about a lovable Rube Goldman style inventor and his house keeping dog) has brought you another gem. His Chicken Run.

If you understand the claymation process, watching CR is awe inspiring. They did 6 seconds of film a day. Each character is about 3 to 4 inches tall and each fluid motion took umpteen frames per gesture. If you could care less about the art, then CR is simple an adorable movie.

Story goes...Tweedy Farm has gone into the delightful business of making chicken pot pies.
Evil proprietress Mrs. Tweedy ( voice of Miranda Richardson she'll always be "Queenie" from Black Adder to me) will have her chicken pies and eat them too. Mrs. Tweedy is tired of minuscule profits one procures from an eggery. With the purchase of a chicken-pot-pie making machine she's ready to crack some sculls. There is not a compassionate (chicken) bone in this woman.

As Mrs. Tweedy's ingredients, the chickens of the "farm" , aren't too happy. They are keep ala concentration camps, complete with barb-wire and barracks circa 1932, like prisoners. Creepy. The Aardman folks give a feeling of oppression so dismal, the kids may be frightened.

That is until perky chirpy chicken Ginger (voice of cult fave Ab FAb's Julia Sawalha) boasts the spirits of the sentenced fowl. Ginger is a motivational speaker with high hopes and short arms. See, chickens can't fly. They'll all have to think of some other means of flying the coop, as it were.

After a sad series of thwarted escape plans, Ginger's nearly pluck out of chickeny cheer her gung-ho has done gone. Till, a hero lands clumsily, into their camp, er, coop via parachute (voice of Mel "Hey, I was here before Russell Crowe-what about me-remember me?" Gibson) is a flying rooster- or so says his circus poster he's got with him. Immediately the chicks of Stalag 17 are smitten with the cock.

Ginger wants him to teach her feathers in arms to fly the coop. So begins some exercises, and enjoyable parts.

Chicken run is decidedly British.Though loosely following the American classic , the Great Escape ( a Steve McQueen great). It's snide remarks attacking the Americans were keen as mustard in this patriot's ears! "Americans are always being late for a war." Hmm, makes you forget for a nanosecond your in 2000. Anti-American propaganda? No, just a ribbing.

The animators do, however take a liberty in regards to their countries warranted stereotype. Icky Teeth! The chickens all have pearly white Tom Cruise teeth. Not a cavity among them! Balderdash! The country is known for their deplorable teeth- scummy gray, crackly teeth, remember Austin Powers- that's not really a joke. Dear Moses! Get those people some Aquafresh Triple Flow with Tarter Control ™Prince Charles will ya?

Anywho, get out and see this if you enjoy British humor. It's smart and clever. Smaller kids may be scared...it has dark tones. But they have plenty of laughter and cheeriness to keep it a comedy. It really is quite funny.

Snack Recommendation: Chicken pot pie of course!
Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawahla and Miranda Richardson

Directed by: Nick Park and Peter Lord

 

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