A FEW GOOD HEN.
Ginger, the most optimistic chicken on a Yorkshire farm, spends every waking minute plotting her escape; when a rooster, Rocky Rhodes, accidentally joins the chickens Ginger sees her chance. The folks behind the brilliant “Wallace & Gromit” shorts accepted the challenge to make a feature film with clay animation, and the results are engaging and funny as well as incredibly detailed and expressive. Anyone who’s seen The Great Escape (1963) will recognize and get a kick out of the story about indefatigable escape attempts from the prison camp, pardon, chicken farm. The chicks are just lovely, and Mel Gibson has nice comic timing as the cocky rooster.
2000-Britain-U.S. Animated. 84 min. Color. Produced by Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Nick Park. Directed by Peter Lord, Nick Park. Screenplay: Karey Kirkpatrick. Voices of Mel Gibson (Rocky Rhodes), Julia Sawalha (Ginger), Miranda Richardson (Mrs. Tweedy), Jane Horrocks, Lynn Ferguson, Imelda Staunton… Timothy Spall.
Last word: “We could never have anticipated just how much more work it was gonna be. We often said to ourselves, this feels like 20 or 30 times the amount, I think, because of the amount of characters. Every single shot seems to have about 20 chickens in the background who are dancing, running or whatever. Even just blinking was an enormous amount of work. We realized we’d chosen one of the worst creatures you could possibly animate in that they are balanced on two thin legs, and for this kind of animation it’s a practical problem because they easily fall over.” (Park, Hollywood.com)