Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (Christian Movie Review)
About the Film
It’s hard to fathom that it has been 23 years since some lovable chickens “flew the coop” and escaped a chicken farm in the highly acclaimed Chicken Run (2000). Now, like satiating a grumbling stomach by finally biting down into a juicy hunk of roast
chicken tofurkey, the long-awaited follow up has been released on Netflix. A gorgeous animation style, lovable characters, and wholesome themes make a winning recipe in this charming and entertaining sequel.
As expected, the movie’s claymation animation is delightful. As technology has advanced, the stop motion style has largely become a relic of the past, but Dawn of the Nugget is a soaring showcase of how beautiful the animation approach can be. There is so much life and expression bursting from the characters. Every second of the 1:40 runtime feels like a meticulously crafted labor of love (and it likely was). The visuals alone are reason enough to root for this movie.
The visuals are not the only positive element Dawn of the Nugget has working in its favor. The characters remain as endearing as they were two decades ago, with each getting a moment to shine. Also, perhaps due to the intensive labor involved in producing every frame, the script is tight and focused without any wasted moments. The story itself is relatively simple (a role reversal of the original, as the chickens must break into rather than out of a processing plant), but it maintains brisk momentum and excitement throughout. The story is action oriented, but the sequences always have clear significance and emotional meaning for the characters involved.
The characters of Rocky and Ginger return, and this time they are joined by a daughter named Molly. Therefore, while the film explores similar themes to the original film, it now does so in the context of a family, which results in several wholesome and uplifting themes being explored (see “themes” section below).
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget has a hilariously wry and understated sense of humor. The gags are rarely of the “laugh out loud” variety, but I was constantly grinning at the snappy side comments and quick wit. Rather than employing the classic tactic of providing a blend of “potty humor” for the kids and edgy innuendoes for the adults, the movie offers clever jokes that both children and adults will enjoy.
Speaking of age-appropriateness, the film is wholesome and not bogged down by any objectionable content or messages. At the same time, it can be fairly intense (relatively speaking), as chickens are brainwashed, killed, and processed into nuggets. The villain is also legitimately menacing. I suspect that most kids will be fine, but it may prove to be a little bit too intense for the youngest audience demographic.
I found Chicken Run: The Dawn of the Nugget to be a delightful film, a charming story that is elevated by beautiful visuals and some wholesome messages. It may not live up to the impossible hype of the 20+ years of anticipation, but it is a worthy successor to the original film and an enjoyable movie in its own right.
Engage The Film
Facing Trials Together
Following the events of the original film, the liberated chickens now live on a safe island sanctuary. When humans begin to capture other chickens across the water, the characters elect to hide and look out for their own safety. Although one chicken admits that they “cannot right all the wrongs in the world,” the chickens eventually come to realize that they have a duty to help others. Ginger declares, “Just because where we live is cut off from the world doesn’t mean we are too. No chicken is an island.”
A similar struggle occurs within the family of Rocky, Ginger, and Molly. They all must confront their fears. Ginger suffers from PTSD following her experiences on the chicken farm, and her desire to protect her daughter from similar hardship leads her to be a smothering, overprotective mother. In the end, the family realizes that they cannot go through life as a “lone free ranger,” but must confront their fears together as a family. There is a touching scene in which each one confesses their shortcomings, apologizes, and commits to supporting each other.
There does not seem to be any religious sentiments in this world of anthropomorphic chickens, but the lessons they learn are applicable to the church. Writing to the early Christian church, Paul said, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). While hardships and fear may attempt to drive people apart and isolate them, Christians are all interconnected and called to walk together through both the good and bad times.