By James Brizuela | Released
Mel Gibson has held many iconic roles over his long career. He was the star of the Lethal Weapon action franchise. In both he fought for independence brave heart and The Patriot. He has even tackled the romantic comedy genre What women Want. However, his absolute best film is streaming right now. It’s a film where the man used the power of his voice but not his body. This movie is chicken race, which is now streaming on Peacock. Yes, we laughed at that bird pun too.
chicken race was released in 2000. The stop-motion animated film remains the highest-grossing animated film in this category, having grossed $227 million at the box office worldwide. The film still holds a staggering 97% critic rating for “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, with a less-than-impressive viewer rating of 67%. Nonetheless, the film was a critical and commercial success. It comes from a long list of animated features by Aardman Studios, compiled in Bristol, England, in the 1970s. They famously created Wallace and Gromit, two characters who hold the second-biggest stop-motion earner in history. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit grossed $197 million at the worldwide box office. Mel Gibson sure knows how to make some blockbuster movies. Rather, he knows how to appear in them.
chicken race follows a flock of chickens living in a prison camp run by the evil Mrs. Tweedy and her simple-minded husband, Mr. Tweedy. The Tweedys eat chickens that can no longer hatch eggs. Her chicken farm’s profits begin to plummet, so Mrs. Tweedy contemplates a plan to use automated machines to turn the chickens into chicken pot pies. The leader of the chickens is Ginger (Julia Sawalha), who notices a rooster named Rocky Rhodes (Mel Gibson) rushing into the farm. The chickens bandage his arm and hide it from the Tweedys. They hatch a plan to have Rocky teach them to fly so they don’t end up as pies. While Mrs. Tweedy builds her chicken pot pie machine, the chickens try to fly. What makes it even funnier is the less than intelligent Mr. Tweedy who believes the chickens are sentient and plotting, but Mrs. Tweedy denies this. Without ruining the rest of the film, you can watch it now on Peacock.
chicken race became one of the first instances of a stop-motion film to have such a huge hit. Granted, movies like The nightmare before Christmas achieved great success in the 1990s, but not as much as chicken race did. chicken race took on a life of its own, showing that Aardman Studios’ style was still very much welcomed by audiences. The same goes for the previously mentioned Wallace and Gromit feature. Even though chicken race came out in 2000 and it’s been almost 23 years, there will be a sequel in 2023. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget will be released on Netflix and stars Zachary Levi, Thandiwe Newton, David Bradley, Romesh Ranganathan and Daniel Mays. They are set to replace Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Benjamin Withrow, Timothy Spall and Phil Daniels.
chicken race is certainly a different style of film than most people are used to as stop motion animation is always a bit odd to look at, especially the Aardman Studios style. Still, the film was a huge hit in terms of animation, and that might be because Mel Gibson was cast in the film. This casting probably helped to please the international and domestic markets. Gibson may be known for his action film skills, but he can certainly direct a room using just his voice. We may never get another Gibson animation like this again.
chicken race is streaming on Peacock right now, and fans can see how Mel Gibson fits into a world full of chickens. The unique style and humor of Aardman Studios made this film as successful as it was in theaters and it is loved to this day. Gibson may be the tough macho, but he was once the bravest rooster in the world. Watch the film and find out why it takes the #1 spot of all stop motion animated features.