Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget BFI London Film Festival Review – A Satisfying Sequel

Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget Review FandomWire
Chicken Run Dawn of the Nugget Review FandomWire
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As someone born in 1994, Chicken Run was one of the countless animated films that marked my childhood. It was never a personal favorite or even one of the most memorable flicks, but a recent rewatch helped refresh my memory of not only the hilarious characters and iconic jokes but also the impressive stop-motion animation quality that Aardman ended up making more popular. This was the first-ever movie created by the studio, and, more than two decades and eight films later, its sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, finally arrives.

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Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget Critique

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Also Read: The Zone of Interest BFI London Film Festival Review

The primary tagline of the posters and trailers fits the premise. After the end of the original, the chickens created their idyllic space on an isolated island. Ginger (Thandiwe Newton) and Rocky (Zachary Levi) added a new member to the community, Molly (Bella Ramsey), and lived in peace for an undetermined time… until a new threat emerged, leading the population to plan and execute the opposite of the first film: breaking in instead of breaking out. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget meets basic entertainment expectations, despite not blowing anyone away.

In 2000, access to movies and shows was a lot harder than today. My first experience with Chicken Run was through the dubbed version, so I don’t have any personal or nostalgic connection with the original story or the mostly British voices. The cast of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is practically all new, which will inevitably and understandably generate some criticism from viewers more attached to the past. That said, the characters remain identical, maintaining their peculiar personalities and individually amusing speaking manner, largely due to the remarkable effort of the new actors.

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The physical comedy and one-liners of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget retain the same charm, sarcasm, and impact as the original, with director Sam Fell (ParaNorman), along with his screenwriters Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell (both worked on Chicken Run) and Rachel Tunnard (Military Wives) fill the sequel with numerous laughter-inducing moments, mainly through the characters themselves. From the accents to the role each chicken plays in the ultra-complex plans, everything is executed without any major issues.

Nevertheless, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget does repeat much of the original’s fundamental structure, particularly from the midpoint of the film onwards, which removes some entertainment value and reduces the positive influence of its creative visuals. The first act also takes a while to get into the necessary rhythm, suffering pretty much from the same problem as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. On one hand, it’s only natural to spend some time reintroducing all the important characters, in addition to a formulaic recap of the previous story. On the other hand, losing more than a third of the movie in this first narrative phase is quite excessive, prolonging the total runtime too much.

Fortunately, the characters compensate enough to keep the viewing satisfying and entertaining for all types of viewers. Be it the rats Fetcher (Daniel Mays) and Nick (Romesh Ranganathan), the ex-military Fowler (David Bradley), the dear, innocent Babs (Jane Horrocks), the always cynical Bunty (Imelda Staunton) or the clever Mac (Lynn Ferguson ), these secondary animals are a vital support for the Ginger-Rocky-Molly family. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget focuses precisely on this overarching theme of family to convey messages of altruism, courage, trust, and love through a plot packed with energetic action, but also pauses with touching parental dialogue. A final remark for the debut of Josie Sedgwick-Davies in a feature film, who stands out as Frizzle, a new Scottish chicken with some of the best interactions in the whole movie.

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And, of course, the studio’s animation shines as always, as does Harry Gregson-Williams’ unforgettable score. The evolution of the stop-motion style is notable on the big screen, with Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget containing more narrative locations on much larger sets, as well as a greater number of chickens, houses, trees, and other natural elements. There’s not much more to say other than a recommendation to watch it in the cinema, if possible. Otherwise, the eventual home viewing will still be a fun one.

In Conclusion

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is a satisfying sequel that should please its target audience. The new cast bears the responsibility of successfully keeping the iconic characters recognizable while maintaining the unique charm of the original film. It takes time to get into the right rhythm and lacks greater narrative creativity, but the hilarious physical comedy and one-liners, stupendous animation, and unforgettable score remain intact elements in a world much larger than the previous chicken farm. Whether adults or children, nostalgic fans of the original or not, it’s an excellent family flick to watch during this Christmas season.

7/10

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Written by Manuel São Bento

Articles Published: 49

Portuguese critic with a tremendous passion for cinema, television, and the art of filmmaking. An unbiased perspective from someone who has stopped watching trailers since 2017.

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