By Tom Gliatto
June 26, 2000 12:00 PM

Animated, with voices by Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Miranda Richardson

Featured attraction

Chicken Run is im-peck-able fun, a yolk-filled delight that will leave the whole family cackling with laughter. Flock to it immediately. But enough pun-ishment: For more and much better, see the movie.

The first feature-length film from Claymation wizards Nick Park and Peter Lord and their Aardman studio—makers of the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit shorts—Run follows the struggles of a flock of birds who yearn to fly the coop at Tweedy’s Chicken Farm. Their leader, Ginger (Sawalha, showing vocally the same fierce rectitude she did as Saffron on TV’s Absolutely Fabulous), convinces her fellow fowl that learning to fly is their ticket out. Their instructor? A roving rooster (Gibson) who calls himself the Lone Free Ranger.

With its winking homages to films like Stalag 17 and The Great Escape, Run is visually inventive, its characters plump with personality and, for a bunch of chickens, ever so brave. (G)

Bottom Line: Worth crowing over