Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Movie Bunker Score:
3.5/5

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Release: 2023-12-08Genre: AnimationDuration: 98 minsBudget: $ 0
Overview

A band of fearless chickens flock together to save poultry-kind from an unsettling new threat: a nearby farm that's cooking up something suspicious.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Release: 2023-12-08Genre: AnimationDuration: 98 minsBudget: $ 0
Overview

A band of fearless chickens flock together to save poultry-kind from an unsettling new threat: a nearby farm that's cooking up something suspicious.

Regrettably, I must convey that “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” falls into the realm of mediocrity. While it may suffice for parents seeking a diversion for their kids on Netflix, it doesn’t quite meet the lofty standards set by Aardman Animation, the creative minds behind Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. Even their lesser-known works, such as the underrated “Flushed Away” and whimsical “The Pirates! A Band of Misfits,” typically exceed mere adequacy. Unfortunately, a lack of ambition, slightly off comedic timing, and subpar world-building prevent this cinematic flightless fowl from soaring, despite a few redeeming elements that make it worth a glance, especially if one can momentarily forget the esteemed pedigree of its creators.

It may not have been a full 23 years since the events of the original “Chicken Run,” but “Dawn of the Nugget” unfolds a few years after Ginger (Thandiwe Newton) and Rocky (Zachary Levi) made their daring escape from Tweedys Farm. Traumatized by their past, the liberated chickens now reside on an island, shielded from predatory threats like Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson). Rat companions Fetcher (Daniel Mays) and Fowler (David Bradley) provide supplies, but Ginger and Rocky’s daughter, Molly (Bella Ramsey), yearns to uncover the events transpiring on the mainland. A series of circumstances thrusts Molly into the confines of a colossal chicken farm—a factory revolutionizing nuggets by keeping the birds content until they become fast food. In this long-awaited sequel, Ginger, Rocky, and their companions must infiltrate this facility, reminiscent of their previous daring escape.

It’s an intriguing concept, albeit executed with modest success. Aardman comedies possess a distinctive rhythm—a fusion of physical humor, old-school Vaudeville, and timeless character dynamics enhanced by robust voice performances. While the technical prowess of Aardman’s animation is commendable, their films excel as exemplars of classic comedy, appealing to audiences of all ages. For a prime illustration of this formula done right, one need only watch “Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon.” However, “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” deviates slightly with a script by Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’Farrell, and Rachel Tunnard that falls short. The jokes don’t quite hit the mark, leaving the audience with a thoughtful “hmm” rather than genuine laughter. Despite a handful of clever sight gags, the film lacks the humor it could have achieved with a more incisive script. The voice cast, led by Zachary Levi, appears somewhat uninspired, failing to fully capture the essence of their characters. Levi, in particular, struggles to find the right tone for his role as a former circus star. The film, in many aspects, falls shy of its potential, creating a sense of unfulfilled promise.

Nevertheless, it would be unfair to label “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” as dull. It manages to sustain interest in the anticipated rescue of Molly and her newfound companions, injecting just enough humor and character twists to keep most Netflix viewers engaged without reaching for their phones. While this level of entertainment may suffice for animated films in a year that has seen few standout releases, it doesn’t align with the expectations typically associated with Aardman’s exceptional storytelling.

Currently in theaters. Available on Netflix starting December 15th.

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