Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Directed By Sam Fell

Starring – Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey

The Plot – Having pulled off a death-defying escape from Tweedy’s farm, Ginger (Newton) has finally found her dream: a peaceful island sanctuary for the whole flock, far from the dangers of the human world. When she and Rocky (Levi) hatch a little girl called Molly (Ramsey), Ginger’s happy ending seems complete. But back on the mainland the whole of chicken-kind faces a new and terrible threat. For Ginger and her team, even if it means putting their own hard-won freedom at risk, this time, they’re breaking in.

Rated PG for peril, action and some thematic elements

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget | Official Trailer | Netflix – YouTube


Like its 2000 predecessor, this sequel has plenty of subliminal commentary to feast on, with an underlining edginess that you typically don’t find in children’s movie anymore. Considering the series centers around the cruel and unforgiving atmosphere of slaughterhouses, the film’s ability to find humor in the desparity is much appreciated, but it never shies away from the honesty of the conflict, instead tapping seamlessly into the depravity of its antagonists materialistic motivations, which in turn reflect a mirror of hypocrisy to the audience watching beyond, who follow in the same barbaric practices. As for that humor, Fell and screenwriting trio Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’Farrell and Rachel Tunnard conjure effective gags in spades, leaning heavily into the spontaneity of the dialogue, which drives audiences to dig a little deeper to find the punchlines. What I appreciate about this is it’s an obvious kids movie that deviates so heavily from loud noises and toilet humor, instead forcing the gifted ensemble to work overtime in properly channeling them inside of intentionally dry deliveries, while working hand-in-hand with the gorgeous animation to emphasize its materializing to the fullest extent. It’s the kind of animated tapestries that are wholeheartedly deserving of audience appreciation, with claymation consistencies that required as much as thirty hours of production to properly execute ten seconds of screen time. The clean and smooth uniqueness of their designs fruitfully utilize the extent of their expressive capacities in character emotions, capped breathtakingly with a boldness in color, gazing of lighting and fluidity in movements that trigger all of the difficulty inside of that impressive craft. Aside from this, most of the original ensemble returns, but this time with the impactful additions of charismatic trio Newton, Levi and Ramsey, who each bring so much gravitas and personality to their respective turns. Ramsey’s familiarity in tone is easily most obscuring, while rocking an English accent and much more energy than what she had in HBO’s “The Last of Us”, but Newton and Levi more than supplant their worth to the cause, harvesting an impeccable chemistry and commanding heartfelt enveloping that inscribes newfound elements of range towards each of them, leaving the new additions shooting perfect for the field in their respective castings. Lastly, much credit to Sam Fell, as his explosively invasive direction is the sugar that continuously pushes the action sequences to eleven, with urgency and vulnerability that frequently rattle the predictabilities of our expectations. Fell’s unflinching impact of tense emphasis marries fun and ferocity in ways that continuously challenge and exude meaning from one another during the height of the climax’s high stakes, all while orchestrating picture perfect framing in the manifestation of these scene’s depiction, with lived-in influence of backdrops and nameless characters that always give us plenty to adore about the uniqueness of this established world.


While Netflix does manage one more than worthy sequel to hook audiences once again to these daring and death-defying chickens, it does fall a bit inferior to its predecessor as a result of some uninspired choices within its creativity that keep it from evading the groundbreaking shadow of that original film. For starters, the plot is a little too close to derivative, with only the idea of these chickens breaking into a slaughterhouse, instead of breaking out of one as its only difference, and even that is subjugated by the second half direction, which is exactly reflective of that previous plot, with an identical adversary in every loose and stern definition of the word. In my opinion, if the script was able to conjure a freshly unique idea to the depths of animal cruelty then it would’ve had a far greater chance succeeding on its original merits, but as it stands this is an inferior sequel that plays things a bit too safely in the twenty-three year manifestation of its many ideas, leaving it feeling like reheated leftovers, instead of a fresh feast. In addition to this, my other biggest issue with the film pertained to its use of minutes inside of an 86 minute run time, primarily during the opening act, which rushed its set-up a bit forcefully in execution. I can understand and appreciate a film that pushes urgency continuously throughout a brief engagement, but I felt like the plan of these chickens happened too conveniently, and could’ve used some trial and error during their initial attempts, in order to push stakes to the tangibles of the previously executed darkness of its thematic impulses. Considering a majority of the film takes place inside of this chicken factory, it stalls the evolution of the plot a bit by the film’s fifty minute mark, which could’ve been alleviated with more time spent in the set-up, but instead settles for a stunted second half to the film and its creativity, which frequently feels like it was rushing to a red light.

“Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” falls a bit on the reheated side of derivative returns, but is never the less a passionate homecoming of nostalgic renderings, bringing along most of the essence of the 2000 original that broke through the mainstream for European animation. With remarkable effort displayed in animation, gripping direction from Sam Fell, and the addition of a dazzling new trio of leads, new life finds its way to this crowd-pleasing franchise, clucking its way as a more than worthy sequel.

My Grade: 7/10 or B

One thought on “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

  1. As someone that really enjoyed the original, I was really looking forward to this, and while I did somewhat like it, I can’t deny that I’m a little let down. Even though I can’t really disagree with any of your positives, I REALLY disliked the rushed and contrived set up in the opening act to the point where I was genuinely irritated. It got better from there once the story gained momentum, but the derivative story you mentioned also hindered the film from being any better than just decent for me. Nice work!

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