By any metric, 23 years is a very long time to attend for a sequel to Hen Run, even whenever you issue within the fiendishly gradual gestation of Aardman Animations’ meticulous stop-motion course of. Surprisingly, it nonetheless feels recent, not simply due to the spring-clean of the core voice solid — Mel Gibson being the highest-profile casualty, lopped off because the “lone free-ranger” Rocky — however as a result of, within the fingers of director Sam Fell and his writing group, Daybreak of The Nugget delivers a cleverly trendy type of household leisure that, whereas it really works to a system, by no means feels written by committee.
The degrees of peril it broaches are fairly excessive, and could also be disturbing for youthful viewers, however the high-wire act it pulls off is to cowl a really darkish topic in an virtually giddily Dayglo manner that, this 12 months no less than, fills the unexpected and certainly as soon as unimaginable house between Barbie and The Zone of Curiosity.
On condition that the lifespan of a rooster is about ten years tops, it’s truthful to say that actual time shouldn’t be an element right here. A number of years have handed, nevertheless, since Ginger (Thandiwe Newton) is now with Rocky (Zachary Levi) and has given start to Molly (Bella Ramsey), whose transition from egg to a curious younger individual is roofed with Up-style economic system. A quick black-and-white recap recollects the horrors that Ginger and Rocky went by means of — their time on a rooster farm, attempting to flee the clutches of proprietor Melisha Tweedy and avoiding ending up in a home-made pie — however the temper is gently optimistic. “Those days are over,” says Ginger, whose kick-ass heroism has been firmly established in flashback. “We’ve got our happy ending and we’re living it.”
She observes this from the island idyll the place the gamers of the unique Hen Run have since washed up, away from human eyes and thus human interference. However when bushes begin being felled on the mainland it turns into clear — actually clear — that one thing is going on, because it exposes a really busy highway and a procession of vehicles which are destined for a spot referred to as Enjoyable-Land Farms. To the shock of the group, Ginger has no curiosity about what is going on. “We can’t venture into a world that finds chickens so… delicious,” she says.
However that is one thing she and Rocky find yourself having to do: Molly, who has grown up quick and change into curious in regards to the world, wonders why she is forbidden to go away the island, particularly when the attract of Enjoyable-Land Farms — marketed on the vehicles by shiny photographs of chickens giving a sassy two-thumbs-up — appears to open up an entire new horizon. So she runs, or relatively rows away, making associates alongside the way in which with Frizzle (Josie Sedgwick-Davies), a charismatic Scouse hen who, like Molly, thinks there’s an avian Shangri-La that they’re each lacking out on. Barely older than Molly, Frizzle has escaped from a farm the place she thinks of people as ready employees, simply there to convey meals. Against this, she expects Enjoyable-Land Farms to be cooler than “a penguin’s toenail”, a simile that baffles Molly, who is aware of neither. And once they get there, it truly is: a poultry wonderland that delivers all the pieces the adverts promise.
The twist this time spherical is that the rooster farm is cosy and alluring. It’s a sensible allusion to the anthropomorphic and cartoonish manner that meat is marketed these days (and likewise the place the movie’s odd and kind-of-terrible title is available in), however Molly needs in on it. Within the meantime, nevertheless, Ginger and Rocky are sizzling on her heels. From bitter expertise, they know that Enjoyable-Land Farms is more likely to be the very reverse of enjoyable. It’s, the truth is, a fiercely protected, state-of-the-art fortress, and this time they’re confronted with the proposition of getting to interrupt in relatively than out.
Whereas the shadow of The Nice Escape loomed massive over the primary movie, Daybreak of the Nugget goes just a little additional into the ’60s, positing a groovier world that, in its design, recollects Ken Adam’s labyrinthine Bond units, Gerry Anderson’s futuristic Supermarionation, and even the pop-culture paranoia of the cult British TV collection The Prisoner. That, although, is within the eye of the beholder; there’s much less of an emphasis on in-jokes than you would possibly count on from Aardman, and the movie is stronger for it. (Thoughts you, there’s positively a playful Mission: Not possible vibe, a temper that’s bolstered by Harry Gregson-Williams’ figuring out and infectiously catchy rating.)
From a present-day perspective, nevertheless, the motion greater than holds up within the Marvel period, juggling a number of competing storylines and throwing in a shock visitor star to maintain issues attention-grabbing. Nevertheless it additionally retains to the honest ethical values of the unique — household, friendship, group — and at any time when the movie pauses to remind us of all that (which it does, a number of occasions), it’s by no means patronizing, and, even higher, these scenes are mercifully transient. Neither does it evangelize, given its potential as a platform for animal rights points and all of the attendant eco-politics that go along with that. In reality, it’s fairly the paradox: by no means has a movie made chickens appear so enjoyable, so clever and but nonetheless so very, very tasty.