CHICKEN RUN [2000 / 2019] [Blu-ray] [USA Release]
From the Creators of Wallace and Gromit! This Ain't No Chick Flick!
Featuring unforgettable characters, incredible animation and all-star voice talent, ‘CHICKEN RUN’ is an instant classic from the Academy Award® winning creatures of Wallace & Gromit! While the chickens on evil Mrs. Melisha Tweedy's farm dream of a better life, a clever hen named Gingers is hatching plans to fly the coop – for good! The only problem is chickens can't fly…or can they? Every escape attempt goes fowl until Rocky Rhodes, a smooth-talking All-American rooster, crash-lands into the coop. It's hardly poultry in motion when Rocky Rhodes attempts to teach Ginger and her fine feathered friends to fly . . . but, with teamwork, determination and a little bit o' cluck, the fearless flock plots one last daring attempt in a spectacular bid for freedom!
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 2000 Annie Awards: Nomination: Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature. Nomination: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production for Nick Park and Peter Lord. Nomination: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for Karey Kirkpatrick. 2000 European Film Awards: Nomination: Best European Film for David Sproxton, Nick Park and Peter Lord. 2000 National Board of Review, USA: Win: Best Animated Feature. 2000 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Win: Best Animated Feature. 2001 Golden Globes: Nomination: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical. 2001 BAFTA Awards: Nomination: Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for David Sproxton, Nick Park and Peter Lord. Nomination: BAFTA Film Award: Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects for Dave Alex Riddett, Mark Nelmes and Paddy Eason. 2001 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: Nomination: Best Fantasy Film. Nomination: Best Writing for Karey Kirkpatrick. 2001 Amanda Awards, Norway: Nomination: Best Foreign Feature Film (Årets utenlandske spillefilm) for Nick Park and Peter Lord. 2001 Angel Awards: Nomination: Silver Angel for Best Feature Film. 2001 BMI Film & TV Awards: Win: BMI Film Music Award for Harry Gregson-Williams. 2001 Bodil Awards: Nomination: Best Non-American Film (Bedste ikke amerikanske film) for Nick Park (director) and Peter Lord (director). 2001 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards: Win: Best Animated Film. 2001 Evening Standard British Film Awards: Win: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy for Nick Park and Peter Lord. 2001 Genesis Awards: Win: Best Feature Film. 2001 Goya Awards: Nomination: Best European Film (Mejor Película Europea) for Nick Park and Peter Lord. 2001 Hugo Awards: Nomination: Best Dramatic Presentation for Karey Kirkpatrick (screenplay), Nick Park (story/director), Peter Lord (story/director) and Randy Cartwright (story). 2001 Kids' Choice Awards, USA: Nomination: Blimp Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie for Mel Gibson. 2001 Krok International Animated Films Festival: Win: Festival Prize for 30 Minute or Longer Category for Nick Park and Peter Lord. 2001 London Critics Circle Film Awards: Nomination: British Film of the Year. Nomination: British Producer of the Year for David Sproxton, Nick Park and Peter Lord. 2001 Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA: Win: Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Music and Animation for Richard Whitfield (supervising music editor). Nomination: Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in an Animated Feature for Danny Hambrook (sound effects editor), Graham Headicar (supervising sound editor), James Mather (supervising sound editor/foley editor) and Tim Hands (dialogue editor). 2001 Robert Festival: Nomination: Best Non-American Film (Årets ikke-amerikanske film) for Nick Park (director) and Peter Lord (director). 2001 Young Artist Awards: Win: Best Family Feature Film for Animation. 2002 British Animation Awards: Win: Best European Feature Film for Nick Park and Peter Lord.
Voice Cast: Julia Sawalha [Ginger], Mel Gibson [Rocky Rhodes], Miranda Richardson [Mrs. Melisha Tweedy], Tony Haygarth [Mr. Willard Tweedy], Benjamin Whitrow [Major Fowler], Timothy Spall [Nick], Phil Daniels [Fletcher], Jane Horrocks [Babs], Imelda Staunton [Bunty], Lynn Ferguson [Mac], Jo Allen [Additional Chicken voice] (uncredited), Lisa Kay [Additional Chicken voice] (uncredited), John Sharian [Circus Man voice] (uncredited) and Laura Strachan ]Additional Chicken voice] (uncredited)
Directors: Nick Park and Peter Lord
Producers: Carla Shelley, David Sproxton, Jacky Priddle, Jake Eberts, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lenny Young, Michael Rose, Nick Park and Peter Lord,
Screenplay: Nick Park (original story), Peter Lord (original story), Karey Kirkpatrick (screenplay), John O'Farrell (additional dialogue) and Mark Burton (additional dialogue)
Composers: Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell
Cinematography: Andy MacCormack (Lighting Cameraman), Dave Alex Riddett (Director of Photography/Supervising), Frank Passingham (Director of Photography), Paul Smith (Lighting Cameraman), Simon Jacobs (Lighting Cameraman) and Tristan Oliver (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
French: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
Spanish: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
Japanese: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
Português: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround
English: 2.0 DTS Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese and Português
Running Time: 84 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures / DreamWorks Pictures SKG / Aardman Animation / PATHÉ Image
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘CHICKEN RUN’  is a film for both children and adults and is an animated film that will easily be understood by all who watch it and it is a Claymation film by the same creators of Wallace and Gromitt, and equally entertaining. ‘CHICKEN RUN’ not only proves that Aardman Animation can deliver a full-length feature Claymation film with panache; and it offers genuinely superb entertainment as well.
Known to millions across the globe as the creator of the characters Wallace and Gromit, where a British inventor Wallace, with a penchant for inventing devices, especially in collaboration with his smart companion dog Gromit, Nick Park can no longer live in the obscurity he once enjoyed. It has been half-a-decade since the last Wallace and Gromit short reached audiences, and Nick Park has been quiet since then. The reason can be summed up in two words: ‘CHICKEN RUN.’ An ambitious full-length motion picture employing Nick Park's signature Claymation style, albeit without Wallace or Gromit. ‘CHICKEN RUN’ represents an attempt by Nick Park to break free of his status as a cult figure and move into the mainstream. To that end, he has recruited some instantly recognisable voices, such as Miranda Richardson and Mel Gibson, and to voice his characters, Nick Park and Peter Lord struck a distribution deal with DreamWorks Pictures SKG.
But life is tough if you are a chicken. It's especially tough if you're one of the chickens incarcerated in Mr. Willard Tweedy and Mrs. Melisha Tweedy who run a failing Chicken Farm in a grim Yorkshire institution and is run in the style of a Second World War POW camp, where the chicken fowls in question are lined up each morning for a military-style inspection. There is no apparent-pleasing sanitisation going on here: a few minutes into the film, one unlucky hen is being decapitated after falling behind in the laying stakes. The scene is made all the scarier for being depicted solely via suggestive shadow and a nasty chopping sound.
Things take an even darker turn, when the fearsome Mrs. Melisha Tweedy [Miranda Richardson] decides that her eggs aren't bringing in enough cash, and invests in a pie-making machine instead. A fantastically inventive monstrosity of slicing, spinning blades, gravy-spurting pipes and flaming ovens, it prompts one of the hens, the dim-witted Babs [Jane Horrocks] to observe, in one of the film's most-quoted lines: “I don't want to be a pie... I don't like gravy.”
It's this balance between danger and wit that makes ‘CHICKEN RUN’ is the first feature-length animation from Wallace and Gromit makers Aardman Animation, such a treat for adults and children alike. The film, which follows Mrs. Melisha Tweedy's hens as they make a bid for freedom, is essentially ‘The Great Escape’ with chickens, an engagingly ridiculous tagline, which the animation lives up to with charm and verve.
Julia Sawalha steals the show as Ginger, a plucky heroine, determined not to end up as a plucked heroine. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson is on brilliant form as American intruder and lone free ranger Rocky Rhodes, who crash-lands on the farm with a cry of “freeeeedom,” is one of many film references and in-jokes in the film ‘CHICKEN RUN.’ The distinctive Claymation animation is as charming as it was when the animation film.
A naive hen, Babs [Jane Horrocks], who serves as a counterpoint to Ginger's desire to feel the grass under her feet, and two rodents, Nick [Timothy Spall] and Fletcher [Phil Daniel] who have an unusual passion for chicken eggs, make for some very sharp and humorous moments, thanks to a clever screenplay by Karey Kirkpatric. There are many film references, including ‘The Great Escape,’ ‘Stalag 17' ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Mission: Impossible’ and many double meanings, which are good for a few thought-provoking laughs.
The very best thing about ‘CHICKEN RUN,’ however, is its exuberant final act, in which Mrs. Melisha Tweedy's demented metal beast of a pie machine is contrasted with the chickens' home-made aircraft, inspired by the exploits of ex-RAF mascot rooster Major Fowler [Benjamin Whitrow]. Old-fashioned, British home-spun inventiveness wins out, while the big, bad corporate-style machine collapses in a mad explosion of gravy, in a finale that manages to be beautifully silly and rather clever all at the same time.
The painstaking Claymation animation, is done by moving clay models in miniscule amounts over time, comes off as a labour of love. The set design is incredible: from the chicken coop to the pie-making machine, Nick Park and Peter Lord, who also co-directs and transports us to a world that not only goes beyond our reality but also the realm of traditional animation. Like with many other good animations, the voices, most of them British, are what make ‘CHICKEN RUN’ work so well. Every single voice is executed perfectly. I particularly liked the fact that the strongest character was a female and Julia Sawalha pulls off a Ginger, who deserves respect and admiration. ‘CHICKEN RUN’ is highly endearing, consistently attractive, and incredibly refreshing. While there's not one particular part in the film that had me rolling with laughter, I was constantly amused and at the end, I was filled with great euphoria as the credits rolled up the screen.
‘CHICKEN RUN’ is truly an unusual endeavour since, unlike every other animated motion picture reaching screens; its primary aim is not to astound viewers visually, in fact, with its old-fashioned approach to animation, and of course, that's part of ‘CHICKEN RUN’ and its charm, but a lot of children will probably not get the jokes and will probably go right over their heads, whereas the more adult viewers will get the many in jokes. With ‘CHICKEN RUN,’ hopefully, adults are won over by the smart-yet-uncomplicated script and charming execution will encourage their offspring to see the film. Children will almost certainly enjoy and love the Claymation animation film, especially if they give it a chance.
At the dawn of the third millennium, animation has become the domain of the United States and Japan, so it's a rare pleasure to see another movie industry enter into the fray. With ‘CHICKEN RUN,’ Nick Park has taken all that was enjoyable about Wallace & Gromit, and brought it into a barnyard, and extended it to feature length. Fans of the previous Aardman Animation shorts, which two have won Academy Awards® will undoubtedly shower Nick Park and Peter Lord with plaudits, which they so deserve, for what they have accomplished with this stunning Claymation animation film. All that remains is for audiences at large to discover the joy and simple-but-engaging amazing entertainment of the Claymation film ‘CHICKEN RUN.’
CHICKEN RUN MUSIC TRACK LIST
Ave Maria (Written by Franz Schubert) (uncredited) [Performed by Gracie Fields]
FLIP FLOP AND FLY (Written by Charles F. Calhoun (as Charles Calhoun) and Lou Willie Turner) [Performed by Ellis Hall]
BARWICK GREEN (Written by Arthur Wood)
OVER THE WAVES (aka Sobre las olas") (Written by Juventino Rosas)
THE WANDERER (Written by Ernie Maresca) [Performed by Dion DiMucci aka Dion]
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Blu-ray Image Quality – DreamWorks Pictures SKG and Aardman Animation have come together and presented us with a totally awesome 1080p reference image for this Claymation animated film. But with the 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer of ‘CHICKEN RUN’ and I can honestly say that this is among one of the best image presentation I have ever seen. There are no moments where the image becomes anything less than jaw-droopingly good. Detail and sharpness are both perfect, as is the use of colour in many of the daylight scenes. The black levels are done really well and with no grain at all, and there were no instances of shimmering or pixilation. This is one of the best transfers I have ever seen and another great effort by the DreamWorks Pictures and Aardman Animation team. So all in all, this wonderful Aardman Animation Claymation animated film gets a top five star rating from me.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – DreamWorks Pictures SKG and Aardman Animation brings us ‘CHICKEN RUN’ with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio impressive soundtrack. While the audio track is especially active, they each get the job done. The first half of the film is primarily dialogue and music driven, with the surrounds kicking in when the pie factory makes it appearance and again it is another great effort by the DreamWorks Pictures SKG and Aardman Animation team. So once again, this gets a top five star rating from me.
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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Poultry in Motion: The Making of ‘CHICKEN RUN’  [1080i] [1.37:1] [20:50] Here we get to view an EEGCLUSIVE in-depth rare behind-the-scene of Aardman Animation and looking at the making of ‘CHICKEN RUN’ and all who were involved in this 5 year project to bring this awesome Aardman Animation to the silver screen and see the incredible amount of Claymation models used in the animated film and we also get to view the vast model built sets and the different voice cast hard at work in the recording studio, but also the great deal of fun the voice cast had. We also get a glimpse of the amazing musicians working together to produced the brilliant composed film score and also het to view the choral singers in the recording studio. We also find out that all the character models are filmed in the technique known as Claymation, where the artists sculpt a model and painstakingly shoot one frame at a time to record movement and a film like ‘CHICKEN RUN’ might accomplish 30 or so frames of completed photography per day. This is roughly one second of film as the projection speed of sound filmmaking is 24 frames per second. At that rate, we can see why it can take up to 5 years to complete a feature film. Contributors include: Mel Gibson [Rocky Rhodes], Jeffrey Katzenberg [Executive Producer], Peter Lord [Director/Producer], Julia Sawalha [Ginger], Nick Park [Director/Producer], Lynne Ferguson [Mac], Jane Horrocks [Babs], Miranda Richardson [Mrs. Melisha Tweedy], Tony Haygarth [Mr. Willard Tweedy], Karey Kirkpatrick [Screenplay], Jake Eberts [Executive Producer], Polly Holland [Paint Design Supervisor], Diana Greaves [Foley Artist], James Mather [Foley Effects Editor] and Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell [Composers].
Special Feature: The Hatching of ‘CHICKEN RUN’  [1080p] [1.37:1] [15:03] With this special feature, we take another look behind-the-scene at the three-time Academy Award® winner's Nick Park and Peter Lord who are the creative geniuses of Aardman Animation of the acclaimed and incredibly popular Wallace and Gromit characters. ‘CHICKEN RUN’ was their first feature film in collaboration with DreamWorks Pictures SKG and informs us the story of an intrepid band of chickens constantly trying to escape from the Yorkshire farm of Mr. Willard Tweedy and Mrs. Melisha Tweedy. When the Tweedy’s acquire a massive chicken-pie making machine, the prospects of the brood take a distinct downturn. Arriving on the scene to save the day is an American rooster named Rocky Rhodes (voiced by Mel Gibson) who appears able to fly and who teaches these un-chicken like skill to his fellow chicken prisoners to hopefully pursue a great escape plan and with this lively and colourful documentary, we get an in-depth illustration on how this incredibly ambitious Claymation film was made, and we are also informed that it was shot at a rate of two seconds per day per animator. It also shows us the behind-the-scenes at Aardman Animation, the sound stages, model-making shop, and set-design shop. With the exclusive interviews and a copious wealth of visual material, this is a really wonderful souvenir special feature of the Claymation film ‘CHICKEN RUN.’ Contributors include: Mel Gibson [Rocky Rhodes], Julia Sawalha [Ginger], Peter Lord [Director/Producer], Nick Park [Director/Producer], Jack Eberts [Executive Producer], Jeffrey Katzenberg [Executive Producer], Miranda Richardson [Mrs. Melisha Tweedy], Benjamin Whitrow [Major Fowler], Imelda Staunton [Bunty], ], Jane Horrocks [Babs], Lynne Ferguson [Mac], Merlin Crossingham [Key Animator] and Lloyd Price [Supervising Animator].
Feature Audio Commentary with Directors Peter Lord and Nick Park: As the credits appear, Peter Lord and Nick Park introduce themselves and inform us they shared directing ‘CHICKEN RUN’ and they inform us when we see from above the chicken farm, they wanted to make the public think it was prison camp, and they also wanted people to think the water tower was a machine gun guards tower and in homage to the film ‘The Great Escape.’ When you finally see the red title ‘CHICKEN RUN’ appears, you finally get to see the vast chicken farm and the chicken sheds, and Peter Lord informs us that it was in fact 50 feet square and the largest set they have ever built. Directors Peter Lord and Nick Park tell us in great detail why they produced the animation film like they did, and we also get to hear their love to all the Claymation characters, and especially the in jokes for the chicken Edwina, which was in honour to the ex-Member of Parliament Edwina Curry [Health Minister], who had to resign from the British Government over the scandal over eggs, provoking outrage by saying most of Britain's egg production was infected with the salmonella bacteria. They also inform us why they chose specific actors to dub the voices for the Claymation characters. When we first see Rocky Rhodes [Mel Gibson] arrives and comes into contact with all of the chickens, Peter Lord informs us that they both had to go to America to meet Mel Gibson to record all of his recordings, all on his own and they thought Mel Gibson did a very professional job what he performed for the recording session, especially with the fact that when you see Rocky Rhodes interacting with all of the chicken characters so seamlessly and editing all the other voice cast in the United Kingdom, you get so amazed they did a brilliant job of in the editing suite and again Peter Lord and Nick Park praised Mel Gibson for being so professional. Peter Lord thought the two rats Nick [Timothy Spall] and Phil Daniels [Fletcher], really come into their element in the film when you see them talking to Rocky Rhodes, because the come more involved in the chickens escape plan, because the chickens have to give the two rats their eggs in exchange for plundering the material to help build the item for their escape plan from the chicken farm. When we see Rocky Rhodes in one of the chicken shed and turns on the portable radio and you get to hear the Lindy Hop music, which was a very popular during the swing era of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s and of course Rocky Rhodes encourage to get all the chickens dancing, well Peter Lord informs us that they hired a choreographer and some dancers and filmed them dancing to the Lindy Hop music, so to capture the dance moves to incorporate it into the chicken characters dancing to the Lindy Hop music. When we see Rocky Rhodes come back to the chicken farm to rescue the chickens and is riding the tricycle and we see Rocky Rhodes fly over the barbed wire fence, Peter Lord informs us that people thought this was homage to the film ‘E.T.’ and Peter Lord informs us that this was not the case. They also inform us that they had too many ideas for the film, but because of the time limitations, they sadly had to ditch a lot of the ideas. As the end credits appear, Peter Lord and Nick Park talk about how they became involved with DreamWorks Pictures SKG and it happened when they were at the Sundance Festival showing the animated film ‘The Close Shave’ and Jeffrey Katzenberg heard they were both there, and invited both of them to DreamWorks Pictures SKG in Los Angeles and they were both flown down the DreamWorks plane and felt very honoured, and once they arrived started pitching the idea and basically told them it was going to be like ‘The Great Escape’ but with chickens and clinched the deal, because they were told that Steven Spielberg favourite film was ‘The Great Escape’ and of course the rest is now history. What was so beautiful about this audio commentary is that the stereo separation is spectacular as each person is exactly in the left and right speakers. This is definitely a must view five star rated audio commentary.
Finally, ‘CHICKEN RUN’ is another brilliant classic Claymation animation film from the mad geniuses at Aardman Animation, a quick confection fix that's consistently enjoyable and a non-stop treat for the eyes. The Blu-ray looks great in 2D, but what a shame they could not of done a 3D conversion. Families looking for a fun time for everyone watching will find it here. Distinctly British and extremely wildly imaginative, Nick Park and Peter Lord's Claymation animation film is a triumph, because it has solid writing and virtuoso animation. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso