Chicken Run is the first feature-length film from Aardman Animation essentially introducing their unique British brand of stop-motion claymation to the world. And what an introduction it is! Set in a chicken farm in Yorkshire, Chicken Run tells a delightful tale of a band of chickens trying to escape to greener pastures where they can live their lives in peace without giving up their eggs and with no fear of being "plucked, stuffed, and roasted." So yes a poultry take on The Great Escape.
And it's just such a fun movie (mostly from the delightfully empty-headed Babs), but with no less heart for it. In fact, my favorite moments are the slightly darker and somber ones that really give this film its depth from the opening sequences of their leader Ginger getting thrown into solitary over and over to that wonderful rainy scene towards the end where all hope seems lost. So with that said, my favorite show is perhaps the darkest of them all...
Here one of the chickens is literally being brought to the slaughter after the owners find out she hasn't been laying any eggs. We don't get to see the actual act, since of course this is a kid's movie, but we didn't need to. The axe tells us all we need to. I just love how the shot is composed with the axe dominant in frame while the chicken legs are omnipresent. This is also such a stark way to show the audience the real stakes, what it is the characters are actually fighting for. This moment isn't forgotten either as it becomes their motivation to forge ahead: "How many more empty nests would it take?" Brutal. Effective. Fantastic.