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Chicken Run
File:Chicken run ver1.jpg
British theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Lord
Nick Park
Produced by Nick Park
Peter Lord
David Sproxton
Written by Peter Lord
Nick Park
Margaret French
Starring Julia Sawalha
Mel Gibson
Timothy Spall
Phil Daniels
Jane Horrocks
Miranda Richardson
Music by John Powell
Harry Gregson-Williams
Editing by Mark Solomon
Studio Aardman Animations
Distributed by DreamWorks (USA/International)
Pathé (UK/France)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (UK DVD)
Release date(s) Template:Film date
Running time 84 minutes
Country Template:Film UK
Language English
Budget $45 million
Gross revenue $224,834,564

Chicken Run is a 2000 British stop-motion animation film made by the Aardman Animations studios, the production studio of the Wallace and Gromit films. The film centres around a band of chickens, who seek a smooth-talking Rhode Island Red named Rocky as their only hope to escape from their certain death when the owners of their farm decide to move from selling eggs to selling chicken pies.

PlotEdit

The Tweedys, a middle-aged couple, run their chicken farm in Yorkshire, England. Mrs. Tweedy serves as the brains and temper, while Mr. Tweedy is rather slow but handles the manual work. The coop is run in the style of a World War II POW camp, with the chickens accountable for the number of eggs they lay daily. One chicken, Ginger, has attempted numerous plans to flee the coop, aided by contraband smuggled into the coop by two rats, Nick and Fetcher, but is always caught by Mr. Tweedy and his dogs, and is thrown into the solitary confinement numerous times.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Tweedy realizes that her farm is failing, and reads a catalogue on an ambiguous method of increasing profits at her farm. Ginger, realizing something is wrong, attempts to convince the other hens to speed up their efforts to escape. However, she soon comes to the conclusion that the only escape route is to go over the fence, something chickens cannot do. Later the same night, as a depressed Ginger sits outside, a Rhode Island Red rooster seemingly flies over the fence and accidentally crashes into the coop. The hens fawn over the new arrival, who introduces himself as Rocky, and keep him hidden from the Tweedys, except for Ginger, who is initially suspicious, til she finds the first half of a poster with Rocky on it. Showing it to the other hens and explaining how he came in, she claims that he can fly, and attempts to convince Rocky to help her and the other hens escape by teaching them how to fly. However, Rocky's wing was injured, and he cannot show them immediately. Instead, Rocky puts them through a set of exercises that seem to have no purpose while assuring them that all the chickens are making progress.

Meanwhile, a large machine arrives; Mr. Tweedy begins assembling it. At the same time, Mrs. Tweedy orders food rations doubled. Ginger unwisely proclaims that her intent is to fatten them up for something, causing a panic. However, the machine is now complete, and Mr. Tweedy kidnaps Ginger for its first test. Rocky follows Ginger into the machine and rescues her, sabotaging the machine and giving them more time to work on their escape. Fowler, an older rooster, gives Rocky his respect for rescuing Ginger and his old Royal Air Force (RAF) badge in tribute. Rocky decides to flee the farm the next day, leaving behind Fowler's medal and the second half of the poster, showing that he was a stunt rooster, only "flying" by being shot out of a cannon. This revelation outrages the other chickens, and a fight soon breaks out as morale falls. When Fowler arrives to restore order, he begins talking of his days in the RAF, leading Ginger to realize that she and the other chickens can build a plane made from Fowler's pictures and personal recollections. The chickens race against time to assemble their plane as Mr. Tweedy works to repair the pie machine.

The chickens finally finish their plane just as Mr. Tweedy completes the repairs of the pie machine and enters the coop to grab all the chickens. The chickens launch an open revolt, tying up and gagging Mr. Tweedy and readying the "crate". As the chickens start to take off, Mr. Tweedy gets free and knocks down the ramp. Ginger jumps down while Fowler turns the plane around, knocking Mr. Tweedy unconscious. As Ginger struggles to lift the ramp, Mrs. Tweedy arrives with an axe and attacks Ginger. However, Rocky, having had a change of heart, flies over the fence and hits Mrs. Tweedy in her face aboard a tricycle. Rocky and Ginger grab onto a string of lights caught on the plane's landing gear; Mrs. Tweedy awakens, and grabs onto the lights, weighing down the crate. Ginger heads down the string to cut it, but loses the scissors. Realizing the only way to cut the lights, Ginger tricks Mrs. Tweedy by using the hatchet to sever the string. Mrs. Tweedy falls, crashing into the pie machine and plugging her into the safety valve. This causes the machine to explode, destroying the barn and covering most of the farm with gravy.

The film ends as the chickens find an idyllic setting in a bird sanctuary, where they can live in comfort and raise their new chicks. Rocky and Ginger, having fallen in love with each other, become a couple. Meanwhile, Nick and Fetcher discuss their plans of starting their own chicken farm, so they can have all the eggs they could eat. Ultimately, though, they end up arguing with each other over whether the chicken or the egg came first.

CastEdit

  • Julia Sawalha as Ginger, the ringleader who is determined to save her fellow chickens from their impending doom on the Tweedys' farm. She is usually the one that comes up with the ideas and is generally smarter than the other chickens. When Rocky crash lands at the farm, she convinces him to help them, and though she initially views him as self-centered, she eventually develops feelings for him.
  • Mel Gibson as Rocky, a rooster who crash-lands into the farm's chicken coop after fleeing from a circus. Believing he can fly, Ginger asks for his assistance in helping her cohorts escape. He falls in love with Ginger.
  • Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Melisha Tweedy,[1] a cantankerous egg farmer who decides to convert her farm into a chicken pie factory solely for monetary reasons.
  • Tony Haygarth as Mr. Willard Tweedy,[2] Melisha's henpecked husband. He regularly tries to convince Mrs. Tweedy that the chickens are secretly organized, but to no avail.
  • Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler, an elderly rooster who regularly prattles about his Royal Air Force experiences.
  • Timothy Spall as Nick, a portly rat who, along with his partner, Fetcher, aids the chickens in their quest to freedom, in exchange for eggs. He is the brains of their operation.
  • Phil Daniels as Fetcher, Nick's slow-witted partner.
  • Jane Horrocks as Babs, the fattest of the chickens with a dim-witted innocence and a love of knitting.
  • Imelda Staunton as Bunty, the group cynic who is the most skeptical of Ginger's escape plans. She is annoyed by Fowler's RAF stories, but when it comes to escaping in their aircraft, she expresses her faith in him to fly it.
  • Lynn Ferguson as Mac, Ginger's brainy Scottish assistant and chief engineer.

ProductionEdit

Chicken Run was to be Aardman Animations' first feature length production, which would be executive produced by Jake Eberts. Nick Park and Peter Lord, who run Aardman, co-directed the film,[3] while Margaret French and Jack Rosenthal scripted the film. In December 1997, it was noted that David Sproxton was to also produce. DreamWorks secured their first animated feature with the film, and they handled distribution in all territories except Europe, which Pathé handled. The two studios both co-financed the film. DreamWorks also retains rights to international merchandising. Pathé and Aardman had both been developing the film since 1996, whilst DreamWorks officially came aboard in 1999. DreamWorks beat out studios like Universal Studios and Warner Bros. and largely won due to the perseverance of DreamWorks co-chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who as a company were eager to make their presence felt in the animation market in an attempt to compete with Disney's dominance of the field.[4]

Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell, composers in the artist pool of Media Ventures, were in talks to compose the film since January 1999.[5] In January 2000, the release was revealed to be for 23 June 2000.[6]

ReceptionEdit

The film has received critical acclaim from critics upon its release and currently garners a 96% "Certified Fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 140 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10 and the critical consensus: "Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular."[7] The film also holds a score of 88 based on 34 reviews on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim."[8]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Group Category (Recipient) Result
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Best Individual Achievement in Directing (Nick Park and Peter Lord) Nominated
Best Individual Achievement in Writing (Margaret French) Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best British Film Nominated
Best Visual Effects Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Best Animated Feature Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Best Animated Feature Won
Empire Awards Best British Director (Nick Park and Peter Lord) Nominated
Best British Film Nominated
Best Debut (Nick Park and Peter Lord) Nominated
European Film Awards Best Film Nominated
Florida Film Critics Best Animated Feature Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Best Animated Feature Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Best Family Film Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Best Animated Feature Won
National Board of Review: Best Animated Feature Won
New York Film Critics: Best Animated Feature Won
Phoenix Film Critics: Best Animated Feature Won
Best Family Film Won
Best Original Score (John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams) Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture - Animated or Mixed Media Won
Best Sound Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Best Film Nominated

Box officeEdit

On opening weekend, the film grossed $17,506,162 for a $7,027 average from 2,491 theatres. Overall, the film placed second behind Me, Myself and Irene. In its second weekend, the film held well as it slipped only 25% to $13,192,897 for a $4,627 average from expanding to 2,851 theaters and finishing in fourth place. The film's widest release was 2,953 theaters and it closed on November 2, 2000, after grossing $106,834,564 domestically with an additional $118,000,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $224,834,564. Produced on a $45 million budget, the film was a huge box office hit.

MarketingEdit

Reel.com received exclusive right to hosting the official site for the film and designing, for which Canned Entertainment were chosen.[9]

Video gameEdit

Chicken Run is a stealth-based 3-D platformer based on the movie. The game is a loose parody of the film The Great Escape, which is set during World War II.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Chicken Run | Mrs Tweedy". Telepathy LTD. Retrieved on January 13, 2012.
  2. "Chicken Run | Mr Tweedy". Telepathy LTD. Retrieved on January 13, 2012.
  3. Rex Weiner (10 April 1997). "Aardman on 'Run'". Variety. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
  4. Dan Cox (4 December 1997). "D'Works' feat of clay". Variety. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
  5. Robert Koehler (21 January 1999). "Zimmer's Ventures in music is a factory in the (tune) making". Variety. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
  6. Christian Moerk (21 January 2000). "Showbiz was schiz in 1999". Variety. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
  7. "Chicken Run Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2011-02-07.
  8. "Chicken Run Movie Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2011-02-07.
  9. Marc Graser (3 April 2000). "D'Works hands Reel 'Chicken'". Variety. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.

External linksEdit

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