Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chicken Run

Chicken Run; animated comedy, UK, 2000; Nick Park, Peter Lord, S: Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall

Ginger is one of the many chickens in a caged coop run by an egocentric old lady and her assistant. Since those two cook every chicken that does not lay eggs, Ginger already tried X-times to escape from the farm. When a circus rooster, Rocky, falls into their property after he was shot from a cannon, Ginger erroneously concludes he can fly and tries to persuade him to teach chickens the same. Rocky pretends he has a broken wing, but in the end tells the truth. Still, they build an airplane and escape anyway.

The first feature length animated movie by Nick Park, distributed even by DreamWorks, turned out paler than expected. Warm, childish characters brought to life via claymation lean obviously towards Park's previous short film from the legendary "Wallace and Gromit" series, the excellent "Wrong Trousers", except that this time his sharpness was left out. "Chicken Run" is an ordinary kids film. Compared to "Wrong Trousers", where every scene mattered, it seems as if it was directed by Park in his sleep. One cannot say that the box office gross and the critical acclaim (nominated for a Golden Globe as best picture - musical or comedy) were unjustified since Park's continuity and shrillness of the story are still palpable, yet there is simply a lack of highlights. The best parts of this compromised fun that spoofs prison outbreaks are occasional outbursts of charm of the chicken characters, whose higher quantity would have been welcomed.


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