Tony Haygarth

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Chicken Run Review


Essential
Since the beginning of time (or at least the domestication of animals), the chicken has been man's feathered enigma. Like so many of its feathered friends, it has fallen into the realm of the metaphor (i.e. "He's a chicken."). Unlike so many of its edible counterparts, it has survived the hassles of religious communities unscathed (no one will persecute you for eating a chicken wing). It has found its way into the realm of ontological questions (which came first: the chicken or the egg), as well as into sanguine curiosity (why does a chicken continue running around after you cut its head off?). It has become the basic standard for all foods (tastes like chicken). It has changed with the times, entering the debate about genetic engineering (see the accusations against KFC using frank-n-roosters). It has even, through its progeny, entered into the world of our children (I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am). As long as civilization has existed, the chicken has haunted our collective hubris with its often-charming idiocy.

Amongst both edible entrees and feathered friends, the chicken is the idiot God...

Continue reading: Chicken Run Review

Chicken Run Review


Weak

It's always a pleasure to see an animated movie that eschews the trappings of shopworn formulas kiddie flicks, and the capriciously clever, clay-rendered "Chicken Run" is nothing if not unique.

A goof on "The Great Escape" and "Stalag 17," but set in a chicken coop kept by a tyrannical, hairpinned harpy of a farmer's wife, the picture serves up an charming self-confidence fable, refreshingly short on stock cartoony characters (no orphans or cutesy simian sidekicks) and long on the distinctive, malleable, stop-motion genius of its director, Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park.

Park worked hand-in-hand with Peter Lord, best known for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" video, but the film's winning visual style is unmistakably Park's. Every character is remarkably alive with verve and personality, thanks largely to his trademarks: Ridiculously wide mouths with abbreviated rows of teeth, remarkably expressive, oversized eyeballs, ledge-like foreheads and the tendency for all his characters to walk with a little waddle.

Continue reading: Chicken Run Review

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