Making the Grades
Egg production is going down on Tweedy's farm. While the greedy Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) searches for ways to increase revenue, Mr. Tweedy (Tony Haygarth) is suspicious insurrection is brewing in the hen house. But his claims that the chickens are doing morning exercises and holding midnight meetings only convince his wife that Mr.Tweedy is a few eggs short of a dozen.
As crazy as it seems, there are mutinous plans, headed by Ginger (Julia Sawalha), a fiery hen who's determined there is a better life beyond the chicken wire. Despite elaborate tactics, she is unable to organize the other hens to attempt an escape without bungling it. Believing she will never free the flock, her hope is renewed late one night when a circus performing rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) drops in from the sky.
Rocky's airborne arrival convinces Ginger that with a little work, chickens can fly and that could be their ticket off the farm. Persuading Rocky to provide flying lessons in exchange for hiding him from his former owner, Ginger is pressured to have the hens learn this skill before the Tweedys finish assembling an automated chicken pie machine they have purchased in hopes of making more profits from their poultry farm.
This hilarious clay animation movie enhanced with computer graphics contains little that would concern parents. Except for the beheading of one unlucky chicken (quietly taking place off-screen), violence consists of slapstick antics and the Tweedys dealing with an exploding pie machine. Not one profanity was detected and only a tiny moment of sexual innuendo exists when the hens enthusiastically offer Rocky any bunk in the coop.
Chicken Run is Nick Park's first feature film. For families who have enjoyed the animator's earlier short films featuring the lovable team of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run will be a delight to watch. And for those of you who enjoy this movie and haven't seen Park's other works, run like a chicken to your nearest video retailer and look for The Incredible Adventures of Wallace and Gromit, which includes A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Chicken Run.
Ginger is concerned for the flock as a whole rather than just trying to save herself. How does that make her a better leader? What do we learn about her moral character in the face of problems or when she discovers Rocky is lying to the rats?