On June 28, 2000, Mel Gibson's The Patriot came to theaters, with lackluster results. But a week earlier, Mel Gibson's Chicken Run hit the big screen and it is a sight to behold.
From the guys who've made the "Wallace and Gromit" shorts comes Chicken Run, a claymation adventure about chickens trying to escape from their near-Nazi death camp prison. The leader of the revolt, Ginger (Julia Sawalha), tries every day to escape but without much success, since most of the other chickens are idiots. When an American rooster (Mel Gibson) that can fly drops in from the sky (that rhyme was not intended), new hope spreads through the farm. At the same time, Mrs. Tweedy, the owner of the farm, is planning on making money with chicken pies (yuck).
The first part of the comic genius is the look of the chickens. Half of them, at least, have buck teeth, which makes them look about as stupid as they really are. Mel Gibson's chicken has sort of a foolish playboy look, and Ginger's fits her persona as well. The funniest character out of the whole movie is the really moronic chicken (I don't know the name) that knits and says stupid things... Ginger says, "We can die trying or die in this farm," and then the other chicken says, "Are those our only two choices?"
The second part of the comic genius is the dialogue. The dialogue is smart and witty, and there are several references to things above and beyond most of the children in the theater (and some of the parents, too, because they weren't laughing). There's smart puns with cocktails and stuff like that. Honestly, I think my brother and I were laughing more than the little kids were.
Furthermore, Chicken Run is as exciting as it is funny. The chickens are put in peril time and time again and I was always curious as to how they'd save themselves. The scene in the pie machine is very marvelous, but that was only one of several segments.
Chicken Run is a funny, witty, and entertaining film. It rates higher than Mel Gibson's other June movie by a long shot, and over most others that have come out this year. There are a lot of jokes that the adults will enjoy more than the kids, but the kids will like it because it involves animals trying to break free. There's almost nothing that should deter parents from letting their kids watch this movie (unless they are opposed to chickens talking), and so there is no reason not to see it. Even if you don't have kids, you'll still enjoy Chicken Run.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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