Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget - Review (London Film Festival 2023)
No Chicken is an Island. 3.5 / 5
Directed by Sam Fell.
Having pulled off an escape from Tweedy's farm, Ginger has found a peaceful island sanctuary for the whole flock. But back on the mainland the whole of chicken-kind faces a new threat, and Ginger and her team decide to break in.
Almost 25 years later, the famous plasticine chickens return for another perilous adventure, flipping the previous film on its head as this time they break into a modern chicken farm for the ultimate rescue mission.
The original Chicken Run has always remained a trusted dose of nostalgia. The first film of its kind with showstopping stop motion, it put Aardman Animation on the map with a quality that remains timeless. This sequel feels slightly bittersweet - it's comforting to see many of these characters back on the screen but its lean towards the modern takes some of the shine out of what made the series so special.
The voice cast has been a topic of controversy ever since the sequel was officially announced with many of the original cast not returning or being replaced. Some did not return for obvious or sensible reasons but it is a shame that Julia Sawalha did not return in the lead as Ginger with Thandiwe Newton now voicing the character. Some of the new voice actors take a while to get used to, none of them poor performances just an expected evolution that fades into the background once the film gets going. The good news is that Jane Horrocks returns as the show-stealing Babs which immediately put me at ease.
Dawn of the Nugget is an inventive and thrilling adventure though it fails to deliver a film as memorable or effective as the original. Visually impressive animation with increasingly ambitious sequences proves why Aardman are masters of their craft. There is so much to love in this carefully constructed tale - it just had large shoes to fill which would have taken a miracle to live up to.