Chicken Run

Stars: Voices of: Mel Gibson, Jane Horrocks, Miranda Richardson

Call it “Babe” with feathers meets “The Great Escape”. “Chicken Run” is terrific fun for kids and adults alike featuring wonderfully original clay animation and right-on voice work by a terrific cast.

This is a tale of tormented chickens trying to escape their miserable lives on British Farmer Tweedy’s chicken farm. Farm? Barbed wire fences, attack dogs, military barracks – even one with the designation 17 in reference to the movie “Stalag 17” and a black-booted Mrs Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) who makes her rounds like a German Gestapo officer – this is not a farm, it’s a prison camp and that’s just how the chickens feel about it. Their days are numbered and only the sweet and especially savvy Ginger (Julia Swalha) has the wits to know it. She’s the farm’s number one escape artist, trying everything from tunneling out to sneaking out in various disguises. She leads a ragtag team of hens with the cutest beting the daffy Babs (Jane Horrocks who starred in the marvelous “Little Voice”) who thinks Ginger’s solitary confinement stay was a holiday vacation. There’s Mac, a wacky inventor with huge eyeglasses sporting a Scottish brogue, and Fowler, the old rooster who’s tolerated simply out of respect for his wartime duty with the R.A.F. and a slew of other endearing characters.

Mrs. Tweedy, a hideous and demented version of Olive Oyl, hates the chickens more than her miserable husband. She’s the family financier and she prefers counting pennies to counting chickens. The farm is not making a profit so Mrs. Tweedy hatches a plan to bring in a chicken pie machine. Ginger and the gang are not much longer to this world.

In flies Rocky Roads (Mel Gibson) a tough talking, cocky rooster from America on the lam from the circus. He must teach the hens to fly, otherwise they won’t hide him out. So, under cover of night and hidden away in their barracks, Rocky and the hens work at working out and getting the old feathers well oiled. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy are setting up the monstrous chicken pie machine. Time is running out.

The characters of the chickens are delightful; the facial expressions are terrific as are the voices and the story is simply impeccable.

Lotta says hats off to “Chicken Run”, excdeptionally well done fun for the whole family!