Independent Films, Film Profiles
Chicken Run is a 2000 stop-motion animation British film made by the Aardman Animations studios (which produced the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit films).The Tweedys run a failing chicken farm in Yorkshire, England, the chickens producing fewer eggs than previously, and Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) kills those chickens that fail to make their quota. Mrs. Tweedy decides to change the farm's production, moving into the making of chicken pies instead of selling eggs. The chickens themselves live in a World War II POW-like fenced area, and one chicken, Ginger (Julia Sawalha), continues to try to escape the coop with the help of the other chickens and a pair of rats that help get them contraband for numerous plans, but always ends up getting caught and put into solitary confinement by Mr. Tweedy (Tony Haygarth) who locks her in the coal shed. Ginger realizes that the only way to escape for good is to fly over the fence, something that chickens cannot do.One day, Ginger witnesses an American rooster named Rocky Rhodes (Mel Gibson) "fly" into the chicken coop. Though the other chickens fawn over him, Ginger is able to learn that he just escaped from a nearby circus. Ginger insists he teach the rest of them how to fly, despite his wing being injured when he landed. Rocky leads the chickens on several seemingly-futile exercises to help prepare them to fly. When the pie-making machine is delivered to the farm, Ginger realizes they must escape soon, and presses Rocky to speed things up. After Mr. Tweedy finished constructing the machine, they test it out by selecting Ginger as the first chicken to be used in the machine. Rocky manages to rescue her, disabling the machine in the process.While Mr. Tweedy repairs the machine, Ginger discovers that Rocky has fled, leaving behind part of a circus poster that shows that he was only a stunt rooster, "flying" out of a cannon at the circus, and does not know how to actually fly. Ginger becomes dejected, willing to give into fate, until she recalls that Fowler, the farm's rooster, was an honorary member of the Royal Air Force, and has been around aeroplanes. With the help of the other chickens, they quickly begin a plan to build an aeroplane, using all their resources to build it while Mr. Tweedy is fixing the pie machine.When Mr. Tweedy finishes the repairs, Mrs. Tweedy sends him to collect ALL the chickens in order to turn them into pies. The chickens fight back, tying up and gagging Mr. Tweedy and set their plane ready for take-off. Mr. Tweedy manages to get free and prevent the plane from flying the coop. Mrs. Tweedy then intervenes, armed with a hatchet, but she is hit on the head as Rocky, riding a tricycle, returns back to the farm to help Ginger and the others.The plane finally takes off but Mrs. Tweedy catches up and, still with her hatchet, grabs onto a string of lights hanging from the plane as it takes off. Ginger manages to trick Mrs. Tweedy into chopping the string of lights in two, and Mrs. Tweedy falls away from the plane into the pie-making machine, causing it to rupture from pressure build-up and explode, along with the barn in which it was housed. The chickens celebrate as they fly away.Sometime later, they have found a wide open pasture to live in and raise their chicks, with Ginger and Rocky becoming a couple. The camera pans out to show it was a bird sanctuary, but the sign has 'BIRD' crossed out and replaced with 'chikin'. The rats unwittingly engage in a philosophical 'What came first, the chicken or the egg' debate as they wish to start a new farm to get eggs, e.g. 'Yeah, but ya need a chicken, to get an egg.' 'Well, yeah, but you need an egg to get a chicken.' 'Yeah, well, you need an egg, to get a chicken, to get an egg.' The credits then roll.
Year of Production: 2000
Length: 84 min.
Country: United Kingdom
- Peter Lord, Nick Park
- Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton
- Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Benjamin Whitrow, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Jane Horrocks, Tony Haygarth