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Chicken Run

Directors:Peter Lord and Nick Park
Writer:Karey Kirkpatrick
DreamWorks; G; 89 minutes
Release:6/00
Voices of:Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks

If you've had the pleasure of viewing the Wallace and Gromit series, then you're well aware of the talent and whimsy Peter Lord and Nick Park can generate with a few lively lumps of clay. Chicken Run is their first Hollywood full-length feature, but it never departs from the British humor, lovingly crafted scenarios, and stellar claymation that puts computer generated images to shame. There's a, well, humanity here just not possible with drawn or rendered images.

The plot is witty and well-paced, involving a coop of chickens faced with a future of gloomy egg-laying and worse (there's an automatic chicken pie machine that smacks of Wallace and Gromit). Valiant, intelligent Ginger (voice of Sawalha) tries ceaselessly to escape the farm, generally being thwarted by her plodding fellow birds. A wayward American circus chicken (voice of Gibson) flies in and envisions teaching the chickens to fly to safety. Much like their previous animation endeavors, Lord and Park manage to be funny and sophisticated (sporting a smart range of movie satires) and a pleasure to watch, a rare film that really is for the whole family.


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