Chicken Run ★★★★

Peter Lord and Nick Park's "Chicken Run" is a lively and whimsically artful animated adventure. With high-caliber voice talent and a tone that moves from melancholy to triumphant, the film thoughtfully engages and thoroughly entertains.

"Chicken Run" revolves around the feathered residents of a poultry farm who, when faced with the farmers' axe, decide to plot an escape. With the assistance of a Mel Gibson-voiced rooster, the chickens plan and execute their leap to freedom.

The story allows for Lord and Park to build something smart and exciting. The animation is delightful, painstakingly delivering the light and heavy tones of the script. Focusing on the chicken characters and their struggle, the film takes its time to heat up; but its hand-animated clay designs are spry, fun, and memorable.

"Chicken Run" is an winning piece of animated work. Effective for audiences of all ages, the film is rewarding and invitingly rendered. Its slow-burn start gives way to a raucous climax, making for a delightful experience.

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