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Chicken Run (2000), (G)
CAP Score: 92
CAP Influence Density: 0.14
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NOTE: We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or its manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objectuve and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.
SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
Chicken Run (G) -- Chicken fun with amazing effort but with a touch of "adult humor."
I apologize for taking so long to get our analysis of Chicken Run to you. For those of you who have asked for this analysis, thank you for your patience. And thank all of you for your continued trust in this ministry.
At repositioning clay figures at 24 frames per second, this feature is a tribute to the patience and ingenuity of the filmmakers and the plethora of other artists who prepared this delightful romp into chicken farming in England of the 50s.
In this plasticine claymation feature amidst the bright lightheartedness, a somewhat dark presence of a war prison camp complete with a prison commander, Mrs. Tweedy (the voice of Miranda Richardson), a camp enforcer Mr. Tweedy (the voice of Tony Haygarth), and vicious dogs always loomed overhead--literally--for the movie characters. Even the chicken hut of central focus is Hut 17 (of *Stalag 17*?). Indeed, there is death in this children's movie. One chicken is taken to the chopping block for not laying enough eggs. And there is no doubt about the act. If the sickening thud of the axe and the shadows of the act cast on the shed wall are not enough, the chicken bones on the dinner table moments later are proof enough [3 John 11]. Now I know people eat chickens. But the chickens I eat don't talk. Even a non-human cinematic character, when portrayed with human qualities, causes the observer--especially children--to feel a human bond with that character. And when these speaking, feeling characters are abused onscreen, it is inevitable that the young observer is influenced by it. It is just a movie...please consider making sure your tykes know that.
Though all the other chickens are quite content with their three squares a day of chicken feed and the roof over their heads, to escape the ever-present danger of death on the dinner table Ginger (the voice of Julia Sawalha) devises numerous plans to escape the confines of the prison farm. Some ingenious plots of escape as well as excellent choreography down to the texture and appearance of digging dirt may tend to lead the impressionable viewer into losing sight of the fantasy of it all in this more-human-than-chicken adventure of peril, cleverness, soul searching, character testing, and, yes, romance.
A virile American chicken with an Australian accent, Rocky - the Flying Rooster (the voice of Mel Gibson) literally drops in on the farm and is drafted to teach British chickens how to fly--or was it something else he was teaching them? Many, adventures and perils happen along the way to the answer. Some of the adventures are not kid humor. For example, as Rocky is toning up the chickens with calisthenics, he leans back and cranes his neck to view the posterior of Ginger while she is in an uncomplimentary position, who is dutifully offended by his rudeness [Eph. 5:3]. Such is not likely to be understood by young children, but a behavioral template may be planted by this challenging of the boundaries of "children's programming" if only by innocent vulnerability to the copycat syndrome Even the old war veteran rooster of the flock gets into the "adult humor" act with "over-paid and over-sexed." In addition, when Rocky voices his concerns about where he is to sleep, all the girl chickens offer to share their beds [Hebr. 13:4]. Also, I suspect Jesus would not approve of Mrs. Tweedy pinching the buttocks of Mr. Tweedy before a few million kids.
Some "Indiana Jones" perils add a touch of excitement as the Tweedy's decide to change the farm from an egg farm to a chicken pie factory. A tour through the innards of a crumbling pie-making machine almost puts a fedora on Rocky "Jones" and Ginger almost begins to look like Kate Capshaw and Karen Allen as huge gears chase them through the plenum of gravy.
There is much more to the story, but I do not want to spoil too much of it for you if you opt to watch this movie. And there is a little more to the questionable programming but I'll leave that to the Findings/Scoring section and to the greatest comparative utility of the CAP analysis model--the CAP Thermometers below.
I felt a need to share a principle that I found when watching Chicken Run, and that is the principle of fellowship, charity, and the need for Christians to build each other up in a discouraging world. The chickens seem to be in a no win situation where their lives are endangered if they don't help each other. One of the lines that broke my heart as I watched this movie was when Edwina was taken away to be killed. It was not the killing that bothered me, because I know that death is not the end. What bothered me is was the issue of "am I my brother's keeper?" Another chicken had laid 5 eggs that morning, and when asked why she didn't give of her eggs to help Edwina, she replied that Edwina didn't say anything about her lack of eggs and that she would have if she had known. How many times have we seen a family member or friend and not asked them if they are in need of anything, if we can help them in anyway? We are not clay chickens in a coop dreaming of a chicken sanctuary, but we are people fenced in a world of sin who are dreaming of sanctuary at the throne of God. We do not face a hatchet, but we do face the trap of sin and darkeness which is just as deadly for us.
I found a strong identification with Ginger. She wanted to help her fellow chickens and sincerely cared for their well being. Though she was faced with disbelief from the very chickens she tried to help she remained determined to save their lives. The only time she faltered was when she trusted in Rocky and built her house upon the sand, only to see the sand wash away and her plans crumble to the ground....
Please see the Findings/Scoring section below for a full accounting of this movie: for the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):