In the original chick flick, the residents of an egg farm dream of escape from the tyrannical yoke of Mrs Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) and her scramble-brained husband. After hatching many failed plans, a new hope appears when low-laying lone free ranger Rocky the Flying Rooster (Mel Gibson) lands in their yard. Can he teach them how to fly out before they’re turned into chicken pies?
While oeufstensibly a simple tale of some chickens escaping from a farm, like Aardman’s best work it has more levels than Scientology, whether that’s as a gender-swapped prisoner of war film or as a tale of a group of women taking back control of their reproductive rights. It balances many elements and never takes its Ei off the ball.
It’s hilariously written, cracking non-stop egg jokes and going surprisingly dark at times, even if things always land sunny side up. It also boasts a full nest of brilliant female characters including head hen Ginger (Julie Sawalha), hard-boiled Bunty (Imedla Staunton), bubbly Babs (Jane Horrocks), Scotch egg layer Mac (Lynn Ferguson) and the petri-frying Mrs Tweedy.
The chickens don’t really look anything like chickens, but the animation helps to deliver a huge yield of comedy with the slapstick of the chickens’ escape attempts inducing more than a cluckle. Part Roald Dahl-esque anthropomorphic fantasy, part war parody, part feminist parable, this is the perfect film for you whether you’ve had your chick-fil-a or if Feathers McGraw left you wanting more. As a result Aardman’s debut feature film finishes high up in the pecking order.
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