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Studios returning to traditional animation methods as Chicken Run 2 lands on Netflix

Studios returning to traditional animation methods as Chicken Run 2 lands on Netflix

The long-awaited sequel dropped on Netflix today

Traditional animation methods may have been nudged out of favour by hi-tech CGI, but there are a number of filmmakers returning to the timeless craft of the old school – and to impressive effect.

Director Sergio Pablos clung defiantly to classical animation for 2019 Christmas flick Klaus, while also embracing modern technologies in volumetric lighting and texturing that hadn’t previously been available, with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also giving 2018’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse a unique twist by combining computer animation with tradition hand-drawn comic book methods.

The team at UK’s Aardman Studios, meanwhile, have never turned their back on the good old days, having utilised their trademark stop-motion animation for the long-awaited sequel to 2000’s Chicken Run which remains the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film in history.

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That’s not to say the filmmakers didn’t treat the project with some trepidation, knowing the undertaking was no small feat.

Speaking during a panel at Deadline’s Contenders London earlier this year, director Sam Fell said: “At the end of the first one, you’re kind of a bit sick of chickens.

“It takes about three or four years to make these things so I think everyone wanted to do new things.”

He also told Collider that he may have always wanted to make a sequel, but had to ensure it was a 'worthy' story for the huge commitment involved.

He explained: "It is a big operation. It’s not a huge studio, Aardman, when you compare it to the big studios.

“You know, they have two or three pipelines running, they can run three feature films [at once].

“They were clearly going to make a Wallace and Gromit movie, which they did, which was amazing and brilliant. I think from there, I’ve always been kicking the ideas around.

“I've been to meetings over the decades, the last 20 years. I've always wanted to, but it's taken a long time to find a story, the story that's worthy of the next chapter."


Indeed, one particularly tricky 30-second sequence took the team more than two-and-a-half months to shoot. It was the longest shot - an opening pan across Chicken Island - that consisted of 32.67 seconds and 784 frames, in total requiring 80 days' worth or work.

“We could not have made this film back in 2000,” animation supervisor Ian Whitlock - who started out as a key animator on the original film - said in the film's press pack.

“There’s just no way! Chicken Run was a tight story, set in one location. Whereas this film is so much broader. The island alone that they start on is huge. I mean, the opening shot panning across the island took over six months to complete from the initial brief, to preparing and shooting!"

The use of some CGI was essential to help 'capture the sheer scope and scale' of the story, but Fell stressed how stop-motion animation remains at the heart of the process, describing it as 'the hundred-year-old conjuring trick of making clay come alive'


"It’s the nicest way to make a movie, I think, because you’re in this giant toy shop, really," he said.

"You’re not looking at screens all the time. You can see, touch and feel the progress of the film.”

Thankfully, the efforts appear to have finally paid off with the release of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, with has a fairly solid 77 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the BBC saying it ‘soars above the original’, while NME felt the ‘egg-cellent’ movie was like ‘Mission: Impossible meets Squid Game.

While we hear from a few returning voices in the sequel, the franchise welcomes a few newcomers, too - including the likes of The Last of Us star Bella Ramsey, Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi.

"For Ginger and the flock, all is at stake when the dangers of the human world come home to roost; they’ll stop at nothing even if it means putting their own hard-won freedom at risk to save chicken-kind," a synopsis says.

"This time, they’re breaking in!"

Watch Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget on Netflix now.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Film and TV, Netflix