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‘Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget’ Review: Should You Watch?

chicken run dawn of the nugget andrew morgan review

Picture: Netflix / Aardman Animations

Arriving 23 years after its predecessor’s release, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is the long-awaited sequel to the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all-time, Chicken Run, which scored a Golden Globe nomination & Critics’ Choice win for Best Animated Feature back in 2001.

Created by the legendary team at Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep), Dawn of the Nugget continues the studio’s strong Netflix production output, including recent Oscar nominees Robin Robin and A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.

This new sequel catches up with the lead characters from the first film, Ginger & Rocky, several years after their daring escape from Tweedy Farms. Living in a peaceful island sanctuary created by Ginger, Rocky, & their fellow escapees, our leads have created their happy ending together including their smart & curious daughter Molly.

While life seems serene & complete for her parents, Molly yearns for more than her small island surroundings. But when the adventurous spirit she inherited from her parents turns into a quest for freedom, Molly soon finds herself off the island and into the back of a truck heading to one of the most sophisticated chicken farms anyone has ever seen. Armed guards, mind control – this place has it all … including the thought to be destroyed chicken farm owner from the original film, Mrs. Melisha Tweedy.

Much like raising a child, a prison break from a farm this impressive will take a village. Led by Ginger, Rocky, & the best chickens & rats you could ask for, they will hatch a scheme to break in and break out before they all turn to nuggets.

Directed by Sam Fell (Flushed Away, Paranorman), Dawn of the Nugget feels more flash than story compared to the original. While it does have some heart in the form of a mother-daughter relationship at the crux of the daughter’s coming of age, the film spends most of its time on the chase, moving between action/spy movie set pieces & family movie pratfalls. Mind you, these set pieces & pratfalls do delight at times and make the movie’s runtime zip by; however, it also makes the character depth & the relationships very basic and the plot incredibly predictable.
With this course of action, the animation takes center stage. In typical Aardman fashion, the stop motion is flawless with a depth & texture that separates them from their more computer-generated competition.

However, because the movie is set at such a rapid pace, we don’t get to luxuriate in their work that often; But, when you consider the detail and effort it takes to use their unique methods to create such action sequences, you can’t help but tip your cap to the masters of their field.
As for the screenplay, Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell are back from the original writing staff with Rachel Tunnard (Military Wives) joining them this time around. While the first film was lauded for its feminist/pro-women backbone & anti-fascist setting, this film seems to have a more turned down version of those themes with mostly female characters doing the actual saving and male characters more falling into lucky bounces at times. The passing of the torch from Ginger to Molly and the cementing of their bond does keep the film grounded for the most part and locks it back into what matters most in a film that gets a bit chase happy in a more mission critical story.

chicken run dawn of the nugget molly new trailer

Picture: Netflix

Much like the previous film and other Aardman projects, Dawn of the Nugget does feature a deep roster of voice talent headed by returning actors Imelda Staunton (“Bunty”), Jane Horrocks (“Babs”), & Miranda Richardson (“Mrs. Tweedy”), as well as, newcomers Thandiwe Newton (“Ginger”), Bella Ramsey (“Molly”), & Zachary Levi taking over for Mel Gibson as Rocky.

Overall, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is a successful family film that will surely entertain with its consistent action, “Looney Tunes” wit, & mother-daughter bonding. However, it does seem more sheen than substance overall and more discerning animated movie fans, especially in an impressive year for the category, may find this one more basic than its predecessor & its more recent peers. Aardman fans & original Chicken Run might get more mileage with stellar, as always, stop-motion, familiar voices, & similar dry wit.

Watch Chicken Run 2 If You Like

  • Chicken Run
  • Wallace & Gromit
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • Brave
  • Flushed Away

MVP of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Aardman Animations

If you told me a sequel to an animated film from over 20 years ago was set to come out on streaming, I would probably balk hard at giving it my time. But when you tell me it’s from the legendary Aardman studio, I will always give it stronger consideration. Much like other small yet notable master studios (Cartoon Saloon comes to mind), Aardman always delivers a unique experience with a bygone style brought into the modern age. With painstaking effort & meticulous detail, Aardman artists bring such life to their work.

While this story may not be as strong as their original film, you can’t deny the rich texture & impressive design that brings a level of visual delight that will satisfy families all over the world.

A shinier & adventurous successor to the original that brings more action & spycraft into the fold. However, it sacrifices a bit in character depth & emotion, which could leave audiences wishing they had more of the original’s charm.


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