Movie review: 'Chicken Run' sequel has witty take on action movies, parenting

Rocky (L) and Ginger become parents in "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugger." Photo courtesy of Aardman/Netflix
1 of 5 | Rocky (L) and Ginger become parents in "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugger." Photo courtesy of Aardman/Netflix

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Fans of 2000's Chicken Run may have kids of their own now. The sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, which screened at the Animation Is Film Festival in Los Angeles, is an adorable follow-up with appeal for both generations of fans.

Since escaping the Tweedy chicken farm, chickens Ginger (Thandiwe Newton) and Rocky (Zachary Levi) live in a paradise isolated from the threat of humans. Ginger lays an egg which hatches into their daughter, Molly (Bella Ramsey).


When developers encroach on the chickens' happy habitat, Ginger proposes hiding from them. This shows just how having children can change a parent.

No longer is Ginger the rebel who will lead a coup from the coop. Molly's safety is first and foremost to her.

Of course, Ginger also has to learn what all parents must, that micromanaging safety is unsustainable. Molly takes after her mother and rebels by exploring the outside world.


Unfortunately, Molly meets another young chicken named Frizzle (Josie Sedgwick-Davies) and both are taken to the Fun-Land Farms chicken factory.

The first Chicken Run was a prison break. Dawn of the Nugget is a rescue mission mounted by Ginger, Rocky and their chicken friends.

Just employing the usual action movie tropes is automatically funnier with chickens. Beyond that, Dawn of the Nugget also takes the perspective that those heroic standbys won't always work.

The chickens must execute an elaborate mission to evade security guards, cameras and an electric fence. Rocky's derring-do attempts fail in hilarious slapstick ways.

Many action movies show top secret facilities scan eyeballs for entry. Dawn of the Nugget suggests those retinal scanners may not be as sophisticated as movies would have us believe.

The best joke, though, is a dramatic reveal of the ultimate villain, mocking the ridiculous build up to the very obvious discovery. Potty jokes are also funny.

The dangers in the factory get bigger and bigger, so the action does build in scope as it satirizes such adventures. The message also expands to show Ginger that it's not enough to save her own friends and family. She also has to share freedom with the greater chicken community.


Chicken Run movies are animated using three-dimensional models moved one frame at a time. Dawn of the Nugget moves its characters through beautiful environments.

The chicken paradise looks enormous and elaborate. The Fun-Land Farms factory highlights the difference between the first movie's old school chicken coops and an industrial processing plant.

A road chase of the Fun-Land Farms truck conveys the speed of vehicles in animation.

The end suggests there are more adventures these animated chickens could have. Based on the success of the first two movies, these chickens are welcome to run as many more times as they want.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget premieres Dec. 15 on Netflix.

Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012 and the Critics Choice Association since 2023. Read more of his work in Entertainment.

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