Three take-outs from Hook
It’s been 23 years since Aardman released its first feature film Chicken Run. It remains the highest grossing stop-motion film of all time.
The original Chicken Run mimicked The Great Escape, with a flock of chickens led by Ginger (Julia Sawalha) and Rocky (Mel Gibson) escaping Mrs Tweedy’s chicken pie farm. In Dawn of the Nugget the chickens (and Mrs Tweedy) are back, in a film heavily influenced by Mission Impossible, with the chickens breaking in rather than out. So what did Hook think about the film?
A reboot not a sequel
Dawn of the Nugget director, Sam Fell wants the film to be seen as a reboot rather than a sequel to the original. Elements of the original exist but with alterations:Favourite characters remain central, but with the twist of new voices; Ginger and Rocky are now voiced by Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi.
The colour palette of the show feels remarkably different. We’re still dealing with the industrial production of chicken based produce – but whereas a traditional pie farm was dark and dingy; the nugget factory is brighter, and feels almost futuristic, giving a different flavour to the action.
It’s a different type of funny: Whereas the original Chicken Run focussed its main jokes on making adults laugh, (in our opinion), this film feels much lighter, with far more jokes and silliness than its predecessor, making it even more of a fun, family view.
We’d seen the parenting displayed in Dawn of the Nugget before
Dawn of the Nugget builds on the heritage of recent successful animated and their portrayals of parenthood and growing up.
The overprotective parents at the heart of the story line, resembles those in many other popular animated films like Finding Nemo and Elemental. Ginger and Rocky are now parents to an adventurous daughter, and find themselves in the same predicament as many parents, when to let their child have an adventure on their own.
How to let your child grow in a safe way, strikes a chord for both parents and children. This might be the reason it is a theme across many kids’ films. Dawn of the Nugget blends this with other messages about togetherness, and not leaving anyone behind. The lessons in the film are subtle, but relatable for both parents and children alike, which is a trait of some of the best known, and most successful kids’ films in the market.
The film has more edge than we’re used to in films aimed at a family audience
There is a subversiveness to the film, with humans and their poor choices being highlighted.
The overarching storyline can be seen as broadly against factory farming, as it is based around rescuing thousands of hens from Mrs Tweedy’s nugget factory, where they are kept in a state of stupefied joy by remote control collars.
There is a tacit push to make consumers think more about their food: Although the intention of the film is not to put people off factory farmed foods, the creators said that if it helped consumers to think more about where their food came from, it would be a happy accident.