Chicken Run 2000 film
Now playing on Peacock, a free Comcast channel through Xfinity internet.
10/10 stars. This is an adorable kids’ film about cooperation, ingenuity, and kindness, all on a British chicken farm.
Back in the 1990s there was a period of claymation films. These are animated films with clay figures. Some were pretty awful. This one was the exception.
As the film opens, we see the hens on the Tweedy Chicken farm attempting to escape. They are led by Ginger. When they are caught trying to escape, the hens are put back in the chicken pen and Ginger is put in an isolation box. After a few days, Ginger is put back into the pen with the other hens and plots a new escape. They are caught again. And she is back in isolation again. The third attempt also ends with Ginger in isolation with a new catch. The hens cover for each other and make sure that every hen has at least one egg in her roost when Mrs. Tweedy checks the hen house. Because Mrs. Tweedy kills the chicken that is no longer producing eggs. Since most of the hens produce more than one egg, especially Bunty, this isn’t a problem. But while Ginger was in solitary for the third escape attempt, Edwina forgot to tell anyone she needed an egg. The hens are called to attention and Edwina is singled out and taken to the chopping block where she is killed (off screen).
That afternoon as Ginger is contemplating her latest plan, she sees a rooster flying through the air who lands in the chicken pen and injures his wing. An advertisement flyer falls to the ground beside him with his picture as the famous Rocky the flying rooster. Later that night, a circus van shows up looking for Rocky and Ginger realizes he escaped from the circus. So in exchange for not revealing Rocky’s presence while his wing is healing, Rocky agrees to teach the hens to fly so they can escape.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Tweedy orders a meat pie machine which will mass produce chicken pies and make them rich. But once the machine is installed, she’ll need to butcher ALL the chickens to complete the first run of pies. Once the hens hear this, they speed up their deadline to fly out of there.
The only rooster in the pen is Fowler, an old RAF flyer (Royal Air Force). So Rocky’s appearance has all the hens lovestruck, but he’s stuck on Ginger. Ginger, however, is sick of Rocky’s fondness for lying and deception. That changes when the Tweedy’s meat pie machine becomes operational and Mr. Tweedy picks Ginger for the test run. She is put into the meat pie machine and Rocky is the one who goes in after her and helps her escape. But for five terrifying minutes we get to see what it would be like to be cooked alive. Rocky plugs the gravy dispenser with a carrot and breaks the machine, saving Ginger’s life. But now that the machine is ready, Ginger demands that Rocky demonstrate flying to them so they can see what it is they’re doing wrong. Besides, she’s starting to wonder if he can fly at all. Rather than telling them the truth–that he can’t fly–Rocky flees.
At this point, we realize that it’s easy for one chicken to escape the farm. The point is that all of them can’t leave at once. And Ginger refuses to leave without the others. These elaborate plans are so they ALL can escape.
After Rocky flees, Ginger finds the bottom half of the flyer that advertised Rocky the flying rooster. The bottom half depicts a cannon shooting Rocky into the air. He’s not flying. He never flew. At least not the way she thought. So Ginger has Mac, the smart Scottish hen, draw up plans for a crate (airplane) to help them escape. This crate will be powered by pedals from bikes. The hens pay two rats, Fetcher and Nick, to bring them the supplies they need in exchange for chicken feed and the promise to take them.
As they get closer to completing the crate they also realize that they don’t have enough runway, so they build a ramp. On the night of their escape, Rocky returns just in time to save Ginger a second time and they all escape to an island in the middle of the countryside (it’s in the middle of a lake). Watching them fly out of there is the perfect ending.
10/10 stars. This is one of those films that keeps you laughing out loud through the entire film. Bravo. Well done.