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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although Chicken Run is rated G, it may be too scary or hard to follow for younger or sensitive kids. A minor character is killed offscreen with an axe, and characters are in peril throughout the movie. The lead male character -- a rooster voiced by Mel Gibson -- drinks a "cocktail" out of a martini glass and acts drunk. There is some cartoonish violence; although it's often comedic and filled with falls and spills, the scenes with the chicken farmers take on a darker tone. Also, an older character -- a chicken who claims to have fought in World War II with the Royal Air Force -- calls Americans "oversexed."
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What's the story?
CHICKEN RUN has arrived, to the joy and relief of the many fans of Nick Park's Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short films. In his studio's first feature-length movie, a brave chicken plots an escape from a small Yorkshire chicken farm. The stern and angry Mrs. Tweedy (voiced by Miranda Richardson) and her hen-pecked husband have bullied their hens into producing eggs, but now they've set up a fierce-looking machine that turns chickens into chicken pies. Ginger (Julia Sawalha) is a smart, brave, loyal chicken who won't leave unless she can take the others with her. When an American circus rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) arrives, Ginger gets him to agree to teach the chickens to fly over the fence so they can find a place where they can live in freedom.
Is it any good?
Animator Nick Park is a master at creating a world that's enchantingly believable. The farm seems to be set in the 1950s, and every detail, down to the last nail in the last board on the hen house wall, looks exactly as it should. The chickens are highly individual, completely believable, and wildly funny, as are the side characters. Parents and kids alike will delight in Park's Rube Goldberg-like machines and split-second action sequences.
Kids may not get all the jokes in Chicken Run, and some of the 1950s references may even escape adults. There is a wonderful variety of British accents here, but that shouldn't deter non-Brit viewers. Both kids and adults will find much to enjoy in the chickens' adventures and their incredibly creative, highly detailed, animated world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Chicken Run's intended audience. Is it meant for children or adults? Both? How can you tell?
How does the cartoonish violence heighten both the comedic and scary parts?
- In theaters: June 23, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: November 21, 2000
- Cast: Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Miranda Richardson
- Director: Nick Park
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character Strengths: Integrity, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: general audiences
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.