Otherwise, Dawn of the Nugget is buoyant family entertainment, with far more jokes and more silliness than its predecessor. The original Chicken Run was a fairly straightforward and slightly gloomy pastiche of The Great Escape and other prisoner-of-war dramas: aside from the pie-making contraption and the wooden airplane, it lacked the wonderful English eccentricity (or egg-centricity) of Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit films.
The sequel is inspired by Mission: Impossible, James Bond and various other spy thrillers and heist movies, and this shift in genres has allowed for a faster, zanier caper with a brighter colour palette, more ambitious action set pieces, more inventive designs, more white-knuckle jeopardy, and more robotic ducks. The trick is that the filmmakers balance the shiny surfaces and high-tech devices of a futuristic 1960s science-fiction adventure with enough old-fashioned, analogue elements to ensure that Dawn of the Nugget is unmistakably the work of Aardman.
There is also a slyly subversive edge to proceedings. The corporate Fun-Land Farms compound is more sinister than the Tweedys’ crumbling farm was, and, for all its wackiness, the film includes frequent reminders of the reality of modern industrialised meat processing. Most viewers should be cock-a-hoop, although shareholders of certain fast-food franchises might wish that plans for a Chicken Run sequel had never been hatched.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is streaming on Netflix from 15 December.
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