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"CHICKEN RUN"
(2000) (voices of Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Heavy *Moderate Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Heavy None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None None Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy/Action: With the aid and instruction of an American rooster, a small group of English hens hopes to fly out of their chicken farm before their owners convert the egg-laying operation into a chicken pie facility.
PLOT:
On Tweedy's Egg Farm somewhere in the English countryside, the egg-laying hens live in fear of facing the repercussions dealt out by the farm's profit-hungry owner, Mrs. Tweedy (voice of MIRANDA RICHARDSON) for not delivering their quotas. That is, except for Ginger (voice of JULIA SAWALHA), a hen whose determined escape attempts end with her being captured by the somewhat dimwitted Mr. Tweedy (voice of TONY HAYGARTH) and repeatedly thrown into solitary.

Things appear to look up when Ginger spots Rocky "The Flying Rooster" (voice of MEL GIBSON) flying through the air before crashing into their gated and fenced compound. An American who refers to himself as the "Lone Free Ranger," Rocky immediately melts the hearts of most of the hens, save for Ginger and Fowler (voice of BENJAMIN WHITROW), the farm's resident RAF veteran rooster.

Even so, Ginger believes that Rocky can teach the hens to fly and thus escape in mass from the farm. This couldn't come at a more fortunate time as Mrs. Tweedy has recently decided to turn the farm into a chicken processing plant and has just purchased a chicken pie assembly line machine. Although Rocky's injured arm presumably is what's preventing him demonstrating his flying prowess, something else makes him reluctant. Since Ginger and the others successfully hid him from his former circus owners, however, he agrees to help teach the hens how to fly, even if he's not sure exactly how to go about doing that.

As Mac (voice of LYNN FERGUSON), the bespectacled brain of the group tries to figure out the physics involved in such flight and two traveling salesman/barterer rates, Nick (voice of TIMOTHY SPALL) and Fetcher (voice of PHIL DANIELS) get their jollies out of watching their efforts, the hens, including Babs (voice of JANE HORROCKS) and Bunty (voice of IMELDA STAUNTON), put all of their faith in Rocky, although they soon learn that might not have been the wisest move.

Even so, with Mr. Tweedy repairing the monstrous chicken pie machine after an unsuccessful first run and Mrs. Tweedy raring to go in using the hens to increase her profits, Ginger and her friends race against time to get out of the farm before they end up in the pies.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Since it's aimed at kids and comes from the makers of those highly acclaimed and kid-favorite "Wallace & Gromit" animated shorts (not to mention the inevitable and aggressive marketing push), it's a good bet many kids will want to see it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • Although it's debatable whether kids view "animated" characters (particularly chickens) as role models, here's a quick look at the major characters.
  • ROCKY is a cocky, American rooster who allows the hens to believe he can fly when he really can't. Although he temporarily leaves them to their own devices, he eventually returns and assists the hens in their grand escape plan.
  • GINGER is a hen who's always dreamed of living in a paradisiacal setting and thus repeatedly attempts to escape from the chicken farm. Displaying lots of determination and fortitude, she leads the way in mounting their escape.
  • MRS. TWEEDY is the mean and nasty egg farm owner who decides to convert her egg operation into that of making chicken pies. When the hens attempt their escape, she comes at them with a vengeful and menacing demeanor.
  • MR. TWEEDY is the egg farm's somewhat dimwitted handyman and guard who continually thinks the hens are plotting an escape, but then begins to think that's just in his head.
  • FOWLER is an old and cantankerous RAF veteran rooster who questions and debunks most everything said in his presence, but eventually assists in their escape.
  • BABS and BUNTY are two of the farm's quickly startled hens, while MAC is the brain of the operation.
  • NICK and FETCHER are two slick rats who hawk goods to the hens when not finding their escape antics amusing.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this G-rated film that's obviously aimed at kids of all ages. Like many other similarly rated films, this one contains scenes (including an off-screen chicken beheading - although we hear the sound - various close calls and related peril, and a menacing looking farm owner, etc.) that may or may not be unsettling, suspenseful or even downright scary to some kids, but that depends on their age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material.

    Violence consists of that beheading, other attempts by the farm owner to strike another hen, some brief fighting, and several instances of slapstick style material (characters accidentally being hit, etc.). Some non-explicit, but colorful phrases are present, as are some bad attitudes from various characters, and a brief, but non-explicit moment includes the hens enthusiastically offering to share their bunks with a visiting rooster (he ends up bunking with an older rooster, however).

    Beyond that, some accompanying suspenseful and action-oriented music and a brief alcohol related sight gag, the rest of the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, we encourage you to take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Rocky drinks something (we don't know the contents) and then makes a joke about a "cocktail" (where he puts a tail feather in a cup).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • As portrayed in the film as the prison commandant, Mrs. Tweedy and her assistant, Mr. Tweedy, have both for the way they treat the chickens as prisoners, execute one for not laying eggs, and then decide to convert the farm into a chicken pie production facility (thus meaning the demise of the hens).
  • Rocky repeatedly calls Ginger "doll face" despite her asking him not to.
  • Nick and Fetcher laugh at the hen's attempts to fly.
  • Rocky lies to Nick and Fetcher about getting them eggs in exchange for a radio.
  • In their most dire moment, Rocky hits the road and leaves them (since he knows he can't help them), but does eventually change his mind, return, and assist them.
  • Someone calls Mac "four eyes" due to her wearing glasses.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some early scenes where Ginger tries to escape from the farm and must hide from Mr. Tweedy and his vicious looking guard dogs may be unsettling, tense or even scary for some kids, all dependent on their age, level of maturity and tolerance for such material. In one scene, one of those dogs menacingly approaches a hen.
  • The same holds true for the menacing sight and dictator-like/disciplinarian behavior of Mrs. Tweedy toward everyone around her.
  • During roll call, one hen is nervous because she hasn't delivered any eggs. As a result, she's taken off to a room where we see an ax sticking out of an old tree stump. As we watch the reaction of the other hens, we hear the singular thump sound of the ax being used to behead the hen (not seen).
  • Some ominous music plays as the large and foreboding poultry products truck drives up and we then see the many large and sharp blades used in the machine.
  • Another roll call scene has Babs nervous that she might be beheaded due to not laying any eggs, and she trembles as Mrs. Tweedy approaches her, but it turns out that Tweedy is only measuring her girth.
  • Mr. Tweedy grabs Ginger to use during a trial run of the chicken pie machine. He then straps her in upside down by her feet in the assembly line machine, but Rocky arrives and tries to rescue her before she's dropped into it. Both eventually fall and/or are swept down into the machine where he barely avoids some large, sharp and spinning blades (he dangles above them), she's nearly crushed under a large rolling pin type device (as their feet are stuck in blobs of dough on a conveyer belt), they must get out of a gas oven as it ignites and the oven door slowly starts to close, and must then escape from the machine as gears and other hardware flies out at them.
  • The hens try to take off in a plane from the farm, but must contend with Mrs. Tweedy who tries to hit Ginger with an ax. Once aloft, Mrs. Tweedy dangles from a line hanging behind the plane and then slowing climbs her way toward them (while swinging her ax at Ginger and looking very menacing). She then swings one more time and it momentarily appears as if she's beheaded Ginger (who appears to be missing her head), but it turns out the hen just ducked and Mrs. Tweedy then falls away and into the chicken pie machine that eventually explodes (but she isn't killed). That whole sequence may be intense, suspenseful or scary to some kids.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Shotgun: Carried by Mr. Tweedy.
  • Ax: Used to behead one of the chickens (we see it and hear its use, but don't see the actual beheading) and later by Mrs. Tweedy as she attempts to hit Ginger several times.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Load of tripe," "Poppycock," "Doll face" (what Rocky repeatedly calls Ginger), "Chicks" (for women/hens), "Suck," "Shut up," "You Nancy," "You idiot," "Four eyes" (what someone calls Mac who wears glasses), "Bum" (for one's behind) and "Put your head between your knees and kiss your bum goodbye."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous, suspenseful and action-oriented music occurs at various points in the movie.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Once in the henhouse, Rocky asks which bunk is his and all of the hens - who've been swooning over him - enthusiastically raise their hands (he ends up bunking, however, with Fowler).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • That Ginger - a female character - is the real hero of the story.
  • Some kids may suddenly have an aversion to eating chicken after seeing this film.
  • VIOLENCE
  • With each foiled escape, Mr. Tweedy throws Ginger down into a small coal bin and upon her release from "solitary," he gives her a moderate kick with his boot to escort her back through the main gate.
  • A hen is taken off to a room where we see an ax sticking out of an old tree stump. As we watch the reaction of the other hens, we hear the singular thump sound of the ax being used to behead the hen (not seen).
  • A feed trough flips over and lands on Rocky.
  • Some slapstick style violence includes a hatch door hitting Mr. Tweedy on the head, various hens falling or thumping to the ground or running into others as they try to fly (via various, unsuccessful means), a character accidentally smashing into a wall during a dance, and a top bunk falling down onto a hen as they strip a bed for parts.
  • Mrs. Tweedy hits Mr. Tweedy on the head with her clipboard.
  • Fowler hits one of the hens with a walking stick/cane and in turn she punches him and then jumps on him on the ground. The others then pile on and we suddenly have a big chicken melee (we eventually see all of them piled up atop one another).
  • Mrs. Tweedy kicks Mr. Tweedy on the butt hard enough to leave a shoe imprint on his pants bottom.
  • The hens jump on Mr. Tweedy and punch him when he shows up to take them to the processing machine (we then see that they've bound and gagged him).
  • A plane hits Mr. Tweedy on the back of the head, dazing or knocking him out. Rocky then jumps a fence with his bike and hits Mrs. Tweedy (who's been trying to hit Ginger with an ax) on the head, doing the same to her (as a falling ax also nearly hits her).
  • Ginger smacks Rocky.
  • While hanging from a plane, Mrs. Tweedy runs into a billboard.
  • As Mrs. Tweedy repeatedly tries to hit Ginger with an ax (while dangling from a line hanging behind an airplane), Rocky fires eggs at her.
  • An explosion injures Mrs. Tweedy (in a cartoon fashion) and destroys most of a farm house/barn.



  • Reviewed June 17, 2000 / Posted June 23, 2000

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