After several disappointing films Aardman Animations return to their first feature length animated film Chicken Run twenty three years later with belated sequel Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget. With Ginger the chicken and her rooster husband Rocky living freely on an island with their chicken chums alongside their daughter Molly who wants to stretch her wings and find out what’s beyond the border.
It’s Molly’s streak of rebelliousness and reaching for her own independence that Ginger sees as being something of a chip off the old block but when Molly does do a bunk and is befriended by chirpy Scouse chicken, Frizzle and the pair set off to get into the Fun Land Farm where Frizzle understands you even get given a free bucket. She’s right but what she’s doesn’t realize is that they will end up in it as nuggets because the farm is run by the arch nemesis of chickens, Mrs McCready now married to scientist who has found a way of subduing chickens before they go through the chicken chopper. What he’s invented is a collar that blanks chicken’s minds in a way that a GCSE exam does for Brooklyn Beckham so they don’t seize up at the moment they are about to slaughtered giving a nicer taste. If the original film was covertly having a dig at chicken farms then Chicken Run Land of the Nugget is wholesale assault on the atrocity of factory farming and agribusiness.
Its left to Ginger and Rocky and the rest of the flock to save their daughter from the slaughter and put together a daring rescue plan. What follows are a number of ingenious set pieces and visual gags along with a decent script with a number of great jokes which for once avoid Nick Park’s penchant for awful puns. The animation is terrific – a combination of stop motion smoothed out by CGI with the characters sporting their trademark glassy eyed vacant stare most often associated when Cheryl Tweedy-Cole-Fernandez was asked what her surname was this week? The attention to detail is tremendous not just with the characters but the landscapes too. The lead voices have been unnecessarily recast with Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi taking over from Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson and its rising star Bella Ramsey who joins the cast as Molly along with newcomer Josie Sedgwick-Davies as Frizzle.
Netflix are to be commended on financing this much anticipated sequel and whilst the generation who remember the first film as a child may well now have kids themselves and this is a family film that really can be enjoyed by the whole family and is an ideal film in the run up to Christmas although might have some thinking twice about a turkey dinner.
related feature : Aardman’s Early man reviewed
Here’s the cast member and director chatting about the film at a special preview screening
Here’s the Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget trailer….