A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 58 – Chicken Run

Chicken Run – April 27th, 2010

Another new view for me! I looked at the number of movies I’ve seen in our collection and the number I haven’t seen and realized if I kept up the way I was going, I would get to a point where there would be nothing but new ones. And some nights I’m just not up to that. Andy’s seen more of the collection than I have, probably because he’s the one who buys most of the DVDs and he watches things when I’m not home.

So! Chicken Run. Another victim of overhype for me. It’s not an uncommon problem. These days I try to avoid it by simply avoiding hype. It doesn’t always work, but it’s better than it used to be. The ridiculous part is that I like stop-motion animation quite a bit and I like Nick Park. So very silly of me to not watch this sooner.

It’s a cute movie. Maybe that’s not the term one should use to describe a movie about chickens escaping from a farm to keep from getting butchered for pot pies, but really, it is cute. Not in a Cute Overload sort of way, but it’s got a chicken who knits a wee little noose (and I’ve now read that the knitting was all real and done with toothpicks – bravo to the knitter for that) and it’s got a teapot with a chicken mask on it and lots of charming moments and horrible puns. It is cute, in a Sesame Street we’ve-put-jokes-in-for-the-adults-too way.

Some of the things I enjoyed: The references to things like Indiana Jones and Stalag 17 and of course the line near the end with the Scottish chicken as the engineer. Of course she is, right? She’s givin’ it all she’s got! Knowing the main character, Ginger, was voiced by Julia Sahwala and the rather absent-minded knitting chicken was voiced by Jane Hurrocks is going to leave me unable to watch Absolutely Fabulous without picturing them as hens now. And having had some experience with chickens, I will say that any time the entire flock got all riled up made me laugh, because it was spot on. Chickens aren’t the brightest of creatures (but I’ll take them over geese any day – fucking geese). But my very favorite bit: The safety scissors. Oh, safety scissors, saving us from cutting anything ever. Sure, it’s one gag in a movie full of them, but grrr. Safety scissors.

I don’t really have anything else to say about it. Nothing really insightful. It’s not that sort of movie. Like I said, it’s cute. Charming and cute and funny and well-voiced. Probably not one I’ll put in all the time, but I’m glad I finally saw it.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , | Leave a comment

Chicken Run

April 27, 2010

Chicken Run

As is probably evident by now I quite enjoy a fun animated movie. And today’s movie definitely fits the bill. This was the first feature length film from Aardman Animation (The people behind Wallace And Gromit.) So naturally you can expect lots of characters with bucktoothed overbites and button eyes, and great big expressive hands. (Nick Park’s characters for some reason very much act with their hands.) As most of the characters in this movie are chickens you do end up with bucktoothed chickens, which seems like somewhat of an evolutionary misstep, but in the context of the movie (what with the chickens being talking tool-users) it seems perfectly natural.

Chicken run is a movie heavily influenced by The Great Escape (there are several references to that movie such as Ginger throwing the ball against the wall of her cell and Fowler with all the bolts down his trousers) and Stalag 17 and other such World War Two escape films. The chickens of Tweedy’s farm (and in particular the trouble making rebel Ginger) are bent on escape from confinement in their coops. Mrs. Tweedy wants to make them all into pies. And Rocky the flying Rooster is a lone rooster who flies over the fence of the farm one day and might just offer them a way out. If the chickens can learn to fly in time.

On the whole it’s actually a very quick light movie. I felt tonight like the movie was over before I had even begun writing my review. But it’s full of great little moments that made me chuckle. The time just flew by. (Sorry… couldn’t resist.)

There are a lot of really impressive bits of animation as well. There’s the whole flock of chickens, for example, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned listening to the Robot Chicken commentaries there is nothing in the world a stop-motion animator dreads more than big crowds. There’s a scene in the rain (I suspect that the rain was added in post, but the droplets on the characters are practical. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to animate drops of water or tears.) There’s the big showstopper scene when Rocky rescues Ginger from the pie making machine. So many details and bits to animate that it quite staggers the brain.

I had a lot of fun tonight. You know, I never did buy Flushed Away. I’m curious to see what Nick Park does in the medium of computer animation. I’ll have to add it to the list.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , | Leave a comment