This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the movie/series/feature being covered here wouldn't exist.
BY JACK RANSOM OCTOBER 18, 2023
Firstly, I just want to say that the atmosphere before this screening was absolutely clucking marvelous. The *world* premiere of the film, a packed audience of all ages, members of the crew and an introduction from the Mayor of London really set a great tone for the film and quite frankly Netflix are barmy not to allow a cinematic run for this before its release on their platform. I probably haven’t seen the first Chicken Run since I was in single figures of age and unfortunately didn’t get a chance to revisit the farm before this much anticipated sequel. However, after a brief yet memory jogging flashback opening, I was completely back into this wacky world and had a grin spread across my face for pretty much the entire runtime.
Aardman returns to the hen house 23 years later for the sequel to their 2000 animated favourite Chicken Run. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget sees Ginger (Thandiwe Newton) and Rocky (Zachary Levi) welcome a new little adventurer (Bella Ramsey) into their lives. Back on the mainland, the whole chicken-kind faces a terrible new threat. The gang reunite to break-in and put a stop to the poultry persecution.
Where the first film paid homage to the ‘escape’ genre, Dawn of the Nugget pays tribute to the heist greats in the most Aardman way possible. After a 15 or so minute reintroduction to the gang and their paradisiacal new homestead, accompanied by a growing up montage of new member of the roost, Molly (Ramsey), she recklessly leaves the confines of her haven in search of adventure and finds herself in a chicken’s worst nightmare. Ginger assembles the crew and the second and third acts offer up rollicking fast paced set pieces aplenty.
Said set pieces are thoroughly entertaining and showcase the talent and timeless nature of Aardman’s style. From Rocky’s embarrassing first attempt of a solo break in, to Ginger’s brilliantly DIY successful team up approach to infiltration. The ‘Summer Holiday’ accompanied tension topper towards the conclusion, before the chaotic finale blow out of a chase occurs. The screwball antics, thoroughly creative and colourful sets and locations (especially the opening chicken haven) and eye-popping personality to the proceedings made me thoroughly appreciative of my chance to see it on the big screen.
Having not seen the original in a long time, I had no issue adjusting to the new voice talent. Thandiwe Newton brings courage and caution to heroine Ginger and Zachary Levi’s enthusiastic, bumbling optimism as Rocky works well. Bella Ramsey channels Ginger’s traits into Molly well and other newcomers David Bradley, Nick Mohammed, Romesh Ranganathan and Daniel Mays provide a laugh a minute supporting team. Lastly, returning players Miranda Richardson, Imelda Staunton, Lynn Ferguson and Jane Horrocks are just as great as before.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is a superb sequel that fans of the first film should be more than happy with. Though its plot may be a very familiar and straightforward one in execution, it’s so damn fun, fast paced and filled with creativity and silliness that it is impossible to let out a cock-a-doodle-do in happiness.