Chicken Run, which comes backed by DreamWorks SKG, was Aardmans feature film debut. The bigger budget allows Aardman to do more classical cinematic things than the Wallace and Gromit shorts. As such, Chicken Run feels much more like a Hollywood movie in its plot arc, its suspense sequences, the need to have an American character for American audience identification than the Aardman shorts ever did, making it slightly the lesser. Of course, being an Aardman film, Chicken Run is gently gibing at Hollywood tradition the entire way. For one, there is the concept of a WWII escape movie being enacted by chickens. The classic heroism of a Hollywood film gets deflated Rocky the rooster who can fly is revealed only to be a circus cannon chicken, the RAF pilot chicken proves to only have been a squadron mascot (You dont think theyd let a chicken fly a plane do you?).
Everything else hits right on the nose. The films suspense is conducted in all the right places the rescue of Ginger from the chicken-pie making machine is the highlight of the show. The characters, especially the plucky Ginger who comes in the unmistakable nasal upper-class accent of Julie Sawalha of Absolutely Fabulous (1992-6), are entirely endearing.
The Aardman teams love of lunatic contraptions also makes for a good deal of fun notably the chicken-pie making machine and the wonderfully ramshackle ornithopter unveiled at the climax. Scripter Karey Kirkpatrick has a clear love of puns Rocky introduces himself as the Lone Free Ranger; all Ginger can afford to pay the two rats is literally chickenfeed; when the call comes to take away the chocks so that the plane can lift off, the chickens promptly remove a chocolate box; and right at the end of film comes one last gag making an amusing play on the question of which came first the chicken or the egg. The result is, in all, a rather appealing effort.
The next feature from the Aardman people was Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), followed by the cartoon animated Flushed Away (2006) and Arthur Christmas (2011), and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012), which combined both Claymation and computer-drawn animation, while Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) made a return to Claymation animation.