Chicken Run

Dom Robinson reviews

Chicken RunThis ain’t no chick flick!
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  • Cert:
  • Cat.no: P 8990 DVD
  • Running time: 81 minutes
  • Year: 2000
  • Pressing: 2000
  • Region(s): 2, PAL
  • Chapters: 24 plus extras
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: English (for the hard of hearing)
  • Widescreen: 1.85:1
  • 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: DVD 9
  • Price: £19.99
  • Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Teaser Trailer, “Chicken Impossible” Trailer,Chicken Run game trailer, Aardman archive, Featurette: “Chickens go inpies come out”, Fowl Play: The Making of Chicken Run, DVD-ROM material,Directors’ Commentary, Audio Description, Animated Menus

    Director:

      Peter Lord and Nick Park

Producers:

    David Sproxton, Peter Lord and Nick Park

Screenplay:

    Karey Kirkpatrick

(from a story by Peter Lord and Nick Park)

Music:

    Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell

Cast:

    Rocky Rhodes the Rhode Island Red Rooster: Mel Gibson
    Ginger: Julia Sawalha
    Babs: Jane Horrocks
    Fetcher the Rat: Phil Daniels
    Nick the Rat: Timothy Spall
    Mac: Lynn Ferguson
    Mr. Tweedy: Tony Haygarth
    Mrs. Tweedy: Miranda Richardson
    Bunty: Imelda Staunton
    Fowler: Benjamin Whitrow
    Circus Man: John Sharian
    Chickens: Jo Harvey Allen, Lisa Kay, Laura Strachan

In a homage, or is that ‘rip off’, to The Great Escape,Chicken Run is the first full-length feature film from Aardman Animationsand sees a whole coop of chickens attempting to escape their confined quarterswith disastrous results.

There’s a strict regime down on the chicken farm and if you’re not up toscratch in the egg-producing department, you’re, literally, for the chop,meaning this is probably the only U-certificate film to feature a beheading,even if it is just off-camera.

Led by Ginger (Julia Sawalha), they are helped when Rocky Rhodes the Rhode IslandRed Rooster (Mel Gibson) drops in and agrees to assist once they save him from beingcollected by the circus. Time is of the essence as farm owner Mrs. Tweedy (MirandaRichardson) has bought a Chicken Pie machine, which instantly does the necessaryand will boost the farm’s profits considerably.

The celeb cast also features Julia’s AbFab co-star Jane Horrocks as thedim-witted Babs, plus Phil Daniels and Timothy Spall as two wheeler-dealerrats, Fetcher and Nick, respectively.

The film contains many cliches, film references – such as Indiana Jones snatching backhis hat in Raiders of the Lost Ark – and quips, such as when Ginger has had enoughof being caught out when trying to escape, she says, “I was in solitary confinement!”,to which Babs replies, “Well, it’s nice to get a bit of time to yourself.”.



I have no complaints with the picture. Presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio, artifactsare non-existent and the bold, muddy colours of the chicken far are rendered perfectly.The average bitrate is a brilliant 7.8Mb/s, regularly peaking over 9Mb/s.

There’s a few choice split-surround moments including some escape attempts and the timewhen Rocky and Ginger find themselves inside an oven. Aside from those, the soundtrack iswell-used, but not as often as I expected. The sound is available in both Dolby Digital 5.1and DTS 5.1. The Americans beat us here with Dolby Digital 6.1 EX sound and DTS 6.1 ESfor the Region 1 DVD.



Extras :And plenty of them, beginning with four trailers – 3 for the film in anamorphicwidescreen, including a “Chicken Impossible” trailer and you can guess what that apes,plus one for the computer game. The Aardman archive contains clips from many ofAardman Animations’ features including the Wallace and Gromit trilogy.

The featurette, “Chickens go in, pies come out”, runs for 15 minutes and concentratesof the pie machine, while Fowl Play: The Making of Chicken Run, takes a look atevery aspect of the movie, mixing film clips with cast and crew interviews. TheDVD-ROM material included has scores more background information about the film andeven gives you a chance to play director by moving clips around on your PC to suit yourself.

Finally, we are graced with a feature-length Directors’ Commentary and anAudio Descriptive track that also runs for the entire length and is narrated byOnly Fools and HorsesGwyneth Strong.

There are 24 chapters over the 81 minute film which is excellent and the subtitles arein English for the hard of hearing. All the menus have animation and music within.



The animation is first rate, although the whole is a bit less than the sum of its partsdue to moments where the film slows down the pace. It’s still enjoyable fun for the wholefamily and Pathe have done a superb job with all the extras.

FILM CONTENT
PICTURE QUALITY
SOUND QUALITY
EXTRAS


OVERALL
Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2000.Visit the officialChicken Runwebsite.

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Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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