Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 12/12/00
2000 (2000) - DreamWorks
review by Todd Doogan of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
84 mins, G, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch), audio commentary with
co-directors Nick Park and Peter Lord, The
Hatching of Chicken Run featurette, "panic buttons",
Poultry In Motion: The Making of Chicken
Run featurette, read-along, 12 Easter Eggs, production
notes, cast and crew information, 2 theatrical trailers, TV spot,
Shrek trailer preview, DVD-ROM
features (including games, screen savers, poster art and previews),
animated film-themed menu screens with sound and music, scene access
(24 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0 & DTS 5.1
ES), subtitles: Spanish, Closed Captioned
escapes Tweedy's farm!"
Tucked away between a rock and a hard place, sitting on a cold
parcel of land in the English countryside, is a place so barren that
no animal could ever exit alive. That place is Tweedy's Farm - home
to a group of freedom fighting hens that dream of beating the odds
stacked against them. Everyday is spent the same, systematically
pumping out egg after egg for the evil overlords of the farm, Mr.
and Mrs. Tweedy. But through the loose boards of the hen house and
out behind the chicken wire lies a world unexplored by the chickens.
It's wide-open free range and it's calling out to them. And they
can't get to it... no matter how hard they try. But one chicken
keeps trying harder than any of them combined. Her name is Ginger,
and this is her story.
Things seems all but lost for Ginger after her 600th attempt to
break free of the wire that binds. But then, out of the sky, comes
hope in the shape of a "flying" rooster named Rocky. He
says he can help them. After all, he can fly, right? Well... maybe
he can and maybe he can't. That's the fun part of the story. You
see, while falling from the sky, Rocky broke his wing. And while
he's on the mend, he'll run the girls through all sorts of exercises
getting them ready for their big flight to freedom. But is Rocky
telling the truth? Can he really fly? Or is he some cocky cock with
a slick smile and a fast tongue?
Chicken Run is the first
full-length feature from Aardman Animation, the folks behind
Creature Comforts and the
Wallace and Gromit series of award-winning shorts. And for fans of
those films, Chicken Run is
sure to please. It's fast, it's funny and it has everything that
makes Wallace, Gromit and a zoo full of human talking animals shine.
Mel Gibson leads a potpourri of famous English and American talent
in great voice performances. You'll fall in love with each and every
one of these characters. I think it's a given that this is a good
film and worth your time.
The DVD brings these chickens into your home perfectly. The
anamorphic picture is extremely well preserved. There's nothing on
the video that isn't supposed to be there and it looks wonderful.
Colors are well rendered, blacks are solid and the image is detailed
and free of enhancements. It's just a great picture through and
through. The sound too is well done. We get three English tracks - a
straight stereo mix, a full sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a
richly detailed DTS 5.1 ES track. I prefer the DTS track here, and
if you have the equipment, I think you'll find that you will too.
The extras on board are pretty stellar as well. There's a witty
commentary track featuring the co-directors of the film discussing
EVERYTHING that went into its making. I had a great time listening
to what they had to say. Just know this going in, it takes a really
well developed sense of humor to do this sort of painstaking
animation. There's also two "making-of" featurettes:
The Hatching of Chicken Run
and Poultry In Motion: The Making of
Chicken Run. They're generally the same sort of thing,
using much of the same footage and interviews. Both are fluff
pieces, but do manage to give an interesting look behind the movie
making process. For the kids there's a read-along and some other fun
incidentals like "panic buttons" (click it and watch
chickens scream), no less than 12 scrambled Easter Eggs with film
facts, a set of production notes, a voluminous cast and crew
information page, 2 theatrical trailers, a TV spot, a sneak preview
of the upcoming film Shrek and
some DVD-ROM features like games, screensavers, poster art and disc
previews. The best thing is obviously the commentary track, but it's
still a fun little set.
Chicken Run was one of my
favorite films of 2000. It had enough film references and inside
jokes to make someone like me giggle every three seconds, plus it
was exciting enough to keep my eyes glued to the screen. This DVD
will reveal all of the secrets behind the animation magic, but the
film is still amazing enough to thrill me again and again. Do
yourself a favor and pluck your own copy of this fine DVD. You'll be
crowing until dawn if you do.