Sunday, August 26, 2007

Chicken Run--The Ultimate WWII Stalag Spoof

In a future entry, I'm going to deal with the Great Escape. I've been a student of the actual escape and a fan of the movie it inspired for many years. However, I got to thinking today about the outstanding spoof, Chicken Run, that was produced about six years ago by the same folks who brought us Wallace and Grommett. This claymation movie is about a chicken farm and the attempts of its ill-treated inmates to escape, but it is, in effect, a spoof on every WWII escape film ever made, especially The Great Escape.

Our hero tunnels in the secret tunnel in Chicken Run. Note the spoon he is using as a shovel.

The premise finds us at the egg farm of the Tweedys. The compound housing the somewhat dim-witted chickens resembles a Luftwaffe Stalag, right down to the barracks, search lights, guard dogs and barbed wire. The inmates accept their fate--all except one plucky hen, who tries to form an escape committee. She has no help from the commander of the camp, a British rooster who is a veteran of World War One who carries a swagger stick and is stuck in the past. However, things change when an American flyboy lands in their midst----the victim of a circus cannonball act gone awry. The hens are all atwitter about this new American, much to the consternation of the Brit. The American, voiced by Mel Gibson, is impressed into the escape attempts of the camp, with hilarious results.

Steve McQueen makes 'the jump' into neutral territory in the climatic scene of 'The Great Escape'.Our hero makes his own jump in Chicken Run.

If you are a fan of WWII escape films such as The Great Escape, Von Ryan's Express, or Hart's War, you will see countless visual and spoken references in 'Chicken Run'. My guess is a lot of WWII aviation students have completely missed this film, thinking it was for kids. It's not. This is parody at its best.
You can get it from Amazon for as little as three bucks for the 2001 version and six bucks for the more recent version with extras. Click here to buy:

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