- “There's nothing more determined than poultry with a plan.”
Chicken Run is a 2000 British-American-French stop-motion animation family film produced by Aardman Animations and directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. It was the first feature-length film to be produced by the Academy Award Winning creators of Wallace & Gromit and the first produced in partnership with DreamWorks, which co-financed the film (along with Pathé) and distributed the film in America. The film features the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Tony Haygarth and Miranda Richardson. Chicken Run received widespread critical acclaim and was a box office hit, grossing $224 million worldwide against its $45 million budget.
It is a pastiche of and homage to The Great Escape; the chicken coop in the opening shot deliberately looks like a POW internment camp, complete with what looks like a guard emplacement (it's actually a water tank).
The plot centers on a collection of British chickens who see a smooth-talking rooster named Rocky as their only hope to escape from certain death when the owners of their farm decide to move from selling eggs to selling chicken pot pies.
The Tweedys are a middle-aged couple who run a struggling British chicken farm somewhere in Yorkshire. Mrs. Tweedy is the malicious brains of the pair, while Mr. Tweedy is more dim-witted and believes the chickens are plotting against them, much to Mrs. Tweedy's exasperation. The chicken coop is run in the style of a World War II POW camp, with the chickens accountable for the number of eggs they lay daily. Their official leader Ginger has attempted numerous escapes to flee the coop, but is routinely thwarted by the Tweedys and their dogs. Ginger becomes increasingly desperate to find a plan of escape after Edwina, another hen, who has not laid any eggs for several days, is slaughtered for the Tweedys' dinner with a hatchet.
Seeing their income drop, Mrs. Tweedy finds an article in a magazine suggesting a new way to bring in more profits. Ginger attempt to rally the other chickens' spirits so they will speed up their efforts to escape. However, she soon comes to concludes that their only viable plan is to go over the fence, something that has not been tried yet. As she stands outside that night, she sees a Rhode Island Red rooster named Rocky, who flies over the fence and crash-lands into the coop, breaking his wing. After Ginger finds a piece of a circus poster, suggesting Rocky can fly, she agrees to hide him from his owners if he teaches them how to fly. Rocky reluctantly agrees, and begins to put Ginger and the other chickens through a set of exercises that seem to lack purpose, while assuring them that they are making progress.
The chickens are surprised by a large piece of equipment being delivered to the farm, following Mrs. Tweedy's order to double their feed rations. Ginger concludes that they are being fattened up for slaughter. Rocky's wing completely heals after a disco dance that evening. Ginger is then taken by Mr. Tweedy for a test of their new equipment, which is revealed to be a machine for producing chicken pot pies.
Rocky rescues Ginger from the machine, and sabotages it in the process so that they will have more time to work on their escape. Fowler, an older rooster who has been doubtful of Rocky's acts, gives Rocky his respect for saving Ginger, now begins to respect him and gives Rocky his old Royal Air Force badge in tribute. Rocky decides to leave the farm the next day, leaving behind Fowler's medal and the missing section of the poster, which shows Rocky flew by being shot out of a cannon, and in reality had no flying ability. Trying to rally the chickens, Fowler starts talking of his days in the RAF, which inspires Ginger to propose the construction of an aeroplane to fly all the chickens out at once after breaking up a brawl that ensues. The chickens race against time to assemble their plane while Mr. Tweedy works to repair the pie machine. Meanwhile, Rocky sees a billboard for "Mrs. Tweedy's Chicken Pies" and grows concerned about Ginger and the others.
The chickens finish their machine just as Mr. Tweedy completes repairs and enters the coop to grab the chickens. Led by Ginger, the chickens launch an open revolt, tying up and gagging Mr. Tweedy and readying the "crate". As they prepare for take off, Mr. Tweedy breaks himself free and knocks down the ramp. Ginger jumps down while Fowler turns the plane around, knocking Mr. Tweedy unconscious. As Ginger struggles to lift the ramp, Mrs. Tweedy arrives with an axe. Rocky, with a change of heart, flies in over the fence and lands on Mrs. Tweedy. Ginger and Rocky grab onto a string of lights caught on the plane's landing gear. Mrs. Tweedy soon wakes up and now in a burst of primal rage grabs onto the lights as well, weighing down the crate. Ginger heads down the string to cut it, but after losing the pair of scissors, tricks Mrs. Tweedy into using the hatchet to sever the string. Mrs. Tweedy ends up crashing into the pie machine, plugging the safety valve and causes it to explode, destroying the barn. The chickens cheer and continue flying to safety as Mr. Tweedy reminds his wife, "I told you they was organized." This only makes Mrs. Tweedy even more angry, but after finally having enough of his wife' abuse, a fed up Mr. Tweedy pushes the door onto Mrs. Tweedy.
By the end, the chickens have found an idyllic setting in a bird sanctuary where they can live in comfort and raise their new chicks, while Ginger and Rocky fall into a romantic relationship. During the closing credits, Nick and Fetcher discuss starting their own chicken farm so they can have all the eggs they could eat, but then end up arguing over whether the chicken or the egg came first.
- Mel Gibson as Rocky Rhodes
- Julia Sawalha as Ginger
- Imelda Staunton as Bunty
- Jane Horrocks as Babs
- Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Tweedy
- Tony Haygarth as Mr. Tweedy
- Timothy Spall as Nick
- Phil Daniels as Fetcher
- Lynn Ferguson as Mac
- Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler
- Main article: Chicken Run (Home Video)
A sequel to Chicken Run is currently in progress but a release date has not been announced.
- Circus Man (First appearance)
- Fetcher (First appearance)
- Nick (First appearance)
- Mr. Tweedy (First appearance)
- Mrs. Tweedy (First appearance)
- Mrs. Tweedy's dogs (First appearance)
- Fowler’s Cane (First appearance)
- Ginger’s Hat (First appearance)
- Ginger’s Machines for Escaping (First appearance)
- Mrs. Tweedy’s Axe (First appearance)
- Pie Machine (First appearance)
- The RAF Medal (First appearance)
- When Ginger presents Fowler's picture of the aeroplane, it appears to be an Avro 679 Manchester, a prototype bomber used during World War Two and what would eventually become the well-known Avro Lancaster.
- This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to have a female protagonist, followed by Monsters vs. Aliens, The Croods, and Trolls.
- This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to have a female antagonist, followed by Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
- This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to be released in June.
- This is the first feature film by Aardman.
- This is the first Aardman film to be distributed by DreamWorks Pictures.
- This is DreamWorks Animation's first stop-motion film, followed by Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to be rated G by MPAA.
- This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to begin with the opening credits, followed by Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Chicken Run was Aardman Animation's first feature-length production, which would be executive produced by Jake Eberts. Nick Park and Peter Lord, who run Aardman, directed the film, while Karey Kirkpatrick scripted the film with additional input from Mark Burton and John O'Farrell. Chicken Run was first conceived in 1995 by Aardman co-founder Peter Lord and Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park. Pathé agreed to finance Chicken Run in 1996 putting their finances into Script Development and Model Design. DreamWorks officially came on board in 1997.
- Chicken Run at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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