Chicken Run (2000)
Description: Having been hopelessly repressed and facing eventual certain death at the chicken farm where they are held, Rocky the rooster and Ginger the chicken decide to rebel against the evil Mr. and Ms. Tweedy, the farm’s owners. Rocky and Ginger lead their fellow chickens in a great escape from the murderous farmers and their farm of doom.
Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Writers: Peter Lord (original story), Nick Park (original story)
Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Phil Daniels
Babs’ knitting is real, done with toothpicks as needles.
There was a major push to get the film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The failure to get the nomination, and the popularity of the film among Academy members led to the inclusion of Best Animated Feature for the next Academy Awards (2002), which was won by the fellow DreamWorks film Shrek (2001).
After Rocky leaves, there is another joke at Mel Gibson’s expense. Bunty says, “I don’t even think he was American.” A reference to the common misconception that Gibson is actually Australian. (Although he was born in the U.S. and didn’t move to Australia until he was 12, the belief persists, especially in the UK, that he’s Australian.)
Mel Gibson’s kids played a major part in convincing Gibson to take the part, because they were very impressed with the Wallace and Gromit shorts.
The original script featured an additional character: Ginger’s little brother Nobby. DreamWorks suggested that Nobby was left out, in order to make the film less cute.
According to the pattern of the scarf she is wearing, the Scottish chicken “Mac” (Lynn Ferguson) belongs to clan MacLeod of Lewis, Scotland.
Fowler’s “military service” is not entirely unprecedented. During an actual recording made under fire during the March 24, 1944 invasion of the Marshall Islands by the Firth Amphibian Corps, correspondent Fred Welker reported on the sudden appearance of a chicken in the midst of the gunfire, which broke the tension. Walker then reported on the inexplicable appearance of chickens during previous invasions, suggesting (in jest) that the U.S.O. must be sending them.