Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget’ brings an ‘impeckable’ heist to Netflix

By Katlynn Rossignol

It’s been years since the original “Chicken Run” released in 2000, where the chickens of Mrs. Tweedy’s Farm escaped the chicken coop and their fate of being turned into pies. Picking up from the happy ending of the original, “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” sees Rocky and Ginger leave the past behind and start a family with their adventurous daughter, Molly, from the safety of an isolated island. 

But the chickens’ peaceful lives are threatened when chicken-farm trucks are spotted across the lake. Craving freedom, Molly leaves her island home and is taken to Funland Farms, where she uncovers a sinister plot to turn chickens into nuggets. Once again, it’s up to Ginger, Rocky and their friends to break into the chicken farm and free their daughter before it’s too late. 

Same characters in a new adventure

“Dawn of the Nugget” is a fun homage to the original “Chicken Run”, organically continuing the character’s stories in a fun new direction. The sequel moved away from the prison escape plot of the original and focused on a “Mission Impossible” type heist. Even though the films are connected, the two have substantial differences that allows “Dawn of the Nugget” to stand on its own as a unique film. 

Rocky and Ginger in “Chicken Run” (2000) 

Tones and Stakes

The original film was set on a grungy chicken farm, heavily inspired by dark and drab prisoner of war camps. Protagonist Ginger rarely smiled on her quest for freedom, and every character acted out of fear of being turned into a pie. “Dawn of the Nugget” didn’t have this atmosphere and instead showed the happy lives the chickens achieved, even while being threatened by a bombastic villain. The sequel’s tone used a bright color scheme and perky music score to make a fresh impression on new audiences, while staying true to the characters old audience members first fell in love with. 

Despite the differing tones, I was surprised that “Dawn of the Nugget” had compelling stakes akin to the original. Characters were put into mortal danger on multiple occasions, with a steep time limit on when they must escape. Funland Farm was not the wonderland it appeared to be and used a happy facade to turn chickens into nuggets. This irony was even shown in the movies’ ratings, with the first “Chicken Run” rated G and “Dawn of the Nugget” rated PG for a few surprisingly-intense moments, especially for young watchers. 

Mrs. Tweedy returns as the film’s villain. 

Animation and Art Design

Even though the colors and tone changed, the beloved Aardman claymation remained the same. Some character designs were adjusted for the story, but most stayed in the original stylized designs. 

One of the film’s most significant adjustments from the first was the scale between the humans and the chickens. The world of the chicken coops in the original “Chicken Run” had everything to scale for chickens to interact with. With “Dawn of the Nugget” set in a human factory, the scale of the characters and models had to be dramatically increased.

The art design for the factory leaned into “atomic age modernism,” a style of architecture used in the 1950’s. The movie was set in 1950s Britain, but modern technology was also added to the security systems for the chickens to overcome. 

Fowler rambles to a snail after being named getaway driver. 

Plot and Characters

All changes for the characters were natural progressions, smoothly blending the first and second films. The shift felt so natural that I was surprised to find out that many of the voice actors were recast for this sequel. Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi replaced Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson as Ginger and Rocky’s voices. 

Despite many other voice recasts, Miranda Richardson returned to play the villain, Mrs. Tweedy. Some of “Chicken Run’s” supporting cast also came back, including Imelda Staunton as Bunty, Lynn Ferguson as Mac, and Jane Horrocks as Babs. Newcomers to the cast blended seamlessly into the world of “Chicken Run”, as Bella Ramsey voiced Molly and Josie Sedgwick-Davies voiced Frizzle. 

The film’s plot was well put together and character-driven. While there were a few plot conveniences to spur on the story, such as Rocky and Ginger not telling Molly why it’s dangerous for her to leave the island, most of the story is well-paced and entertaining for both younger and older audiences.

Rocky, Fetcher, and Nick sneaking through Funland Farms


“Dawn of the Nugget” is a stylistically different film from the original “Chicken Run”. However, I would argue the movie’s differences worked in its favor. The tone shift helped the film stand out from the first and highlighted Aardman’s innovations from the past 20 years. Both movies are entertaining in similar but unique ways. 

The real question is, with the original “Chicken Run” released in 2000, why make a sequel 23 years later? An article by the New York Times reported the obstacles faced by Aardman as they worked on the sequel, which had been planned for a release years earlier. The original film’s puppets and sets were all lost in a fire, the storage warehouse with the sequel’s assets flooded, the pandemic significantly slowed the collaborative stop motion animation and the iconic clay used in all Aardman claymation is no longer in production (Gizmodo). 

It’s astonishing that Aardman overcame so many setbacks and finally released their “Chicken Run” sequel. In spite of all the production challenges, I was pleased to find the film to be a funny and charming adventure that used impressive animation techniques to create a rambunctious heist film. 

“Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” is available to watch on Netflix

Katlynn Rossignol is a sophomore Strategic Communications Major and A&E writer for Cedars. She loves arts and crafts, spending time with friends and watching superhero movies.  

Images courtesy of Netflix

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