CHICKEN RUN: THE DAWN OF THE NUGGET is an absolute delight and a worthy sequel to the beloved first film. It has everything you want from a family adventure comedy - verbal, visual and physical humour; beautifully executed action set-pieces; characters you actually care about; and an uplifting message about caring about your community and female empowerment.
As the film opens, we see our liberated chickens living the good life in a chicken version of The Shire. Our hero and heroine Rocky and Ginger have a lovely baby daughter, Molly, who seems to have a spirit of adventure that her mother at least is eager to suppress. They are so happy, and the world so unsafe, why leave their idyllic island? All of this changes when Molly runs away to an apparently bucolic chicken fantasy land only to discover that it's an horrific factory designed to make chickens docile so that they make tastier nuggets. And so, after the escape movie if the original, we now get a heist movie, as Ginger Rocky and their friends have to break IN to the chicken farm to liberate their daughter.
The resulting film is beautiful, smart, imaginative and endless fun. I wouldn't change a single stop-motion frame. It was wonderful to be back in the company of old friends, if newly (and controversially) voiced. Bella Ramsay (The Last of Us) is wonderfully courageous and earnest as Molly and I particularly loved her rogueish rat uncles voiced by Romesh Ranganathan and Daniel Mays. But most of all it was wonderful to see the cine-literate team behind this film reference and re-imagine so many heist movie and evil lair tropes - not least British ones! - with just the right amount of mischief and irreverence. We had a wonderful time, and our lovely youngsters were bouncing with delight all the way through.
CHICKEN RUN: THE DAWN OF THE NUGGET is rated PG and has a running time of 97 minutes. It opens on limited release in UK cinemas on December 8th and then on Netflix globally on December 15th.