Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Review by Rich Cline | 4/5

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
dir Sam Fell
prd Leyla Hobart, Steve Pegram
scr Karey Kirkpatrick, John O'Farrell, Rachel Tunnard
voices Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Miranda Richardson, Nick Mohammed, Peter Serafinowicz, Imelda Staunton, David Bradley, Jane Horrocks, Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays, Lynn Ferguson
release UK 8.Dec.23,
US 15.Dec.23
23/UK Netflix 1h37

newton levi richardson
london film fest

See also:
Chicken Run 2000

Is it streaming?

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
After their great escape in the 2000 classic, the gang returns for an impossible mission. Every moment in the film is packed with throwaway gags, sharp comedy and thrills that riff on heist and action movies. Of course, Aardman's attention to detail shines in the painstaking stop-motion animation, as characters and sets overflow with personality. And the film reminds us to find the bravery to do the right thing.
Living in their island paradise, Ginger (Newton) and Rocky (Levi) are overprotective of their plucky daughter Molly (Ramsey), whose curiosity entices her to visit the fabulous-looking theme park Fun-Land Farms on the mainland. But this is actually the Bond-style lair of Mrs Tweedy (Richardson) and her new husband Fry (Mohammed). It's also concealing a nugget factory that has just struck a deal to supply a fast-food chain run by Reginald (Serafinowicz). So Ginger, Rocky and their intrepid friends plan a break-in. And they'll need to elude laser-firing robot ducks to find Molly and stop Tweedy.
There's never much question about where this is headed, so the suspense feels rather tame. But there are some moments of genuine peril around the fire-belching nugget-making mechanism, and a couple of frantic fights feel properly desperate. That said, the film's main goal is to keep us laughing, and there are jokes peppered everywhere, both on the screen and in the dialog. These include groan-worthy puns, lots of witty references to everything from James Bond to The Truman Show, plus what seems like no end of hilarious character comedy.

Each of these critters is hugely endearing. Ginger has the story's biggest arc, fearful after surviving near death once before and now needing to learn that hiding away is not the way to live her life, especially when others need her natural leadership skills. Molly has clearly inherited her mother's courage, as well as a bit of her father's swagger. And their friends are simply wonderful, with standout scene-stealing from retired super-agent Fowler (Bradley).

It's unlikely that restaurants will be happy about a movie that puts kids off a carefully targeted menu item. Indeed, no one who watches this will be able to look at a nugget in quite the same way. But the enemy here is Tweedy's boundless greed, which when combined with her wounded pride leads her to a particularly vicious kind of vengeance. Children perhaps won't worry so much about that, but grown-ups will feel a strong kick.

cert pg themes, violence 14.Oct.23 lff

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© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall