A Look at the Chicken Run DVD
By Joe Tracy

This Tuesday DreamWorks/Aardman will release its most successful animated movie to date, Chicken Run to video and DVD. Although Chicken Run was overlooked by the recent Annie Awards, it garnished near 100% positive reviews from critics and became the highest grossing non-Disney movie ever, bringing in $106 million in the U.S. Combined with its overseas take, the film made $163 million.

Animation Artist Magazine has obtained an advanced copy of Chicken Run and we are pleased to report that DreamWorks/Aardman have put a lot of hard work into it.

Essentially there are two different main menus on the Chicken Run DVD. One main menu comes up when you play the DVD in a regular DVD Player. The other comes up when you put it in a PC, enabling several additional PC Options (see PC Special Features menu directly below).

Chicken Run Menu

The special features enabled when you use Chicken Run on a PC DVD drive includes a rather simplistic Screensaver, a Desktop Cluck (which is a Chicken Run clock), theatrical poster set that you can print, a Maculator, Desktop Theme set for your PC, Whack Game, Coloring Book (print and color), Escape Game (like Frogger), Ginger Pet, and second poster set.

The two games, Whack Game and Escape Game, are simplistic, but challenging. The Whack Game is like the game in Chuck E Cheese where you have to whack the gopher heads as they pop up. In this case you have to whack Mr. Tweedy, Mrs. Tweedy, and their dog. To add complication to the game, a couple of chicken characters are thrown in. Whack them and points are deducted. The game starts slow and you think, "this is way to easy". But with each whack it speeds up and their are Tweedy characters and chickens everywhere. My Mouse couldn't keep up. See my Final Score screen (and terrible ranking) below.

The Escape Game is like "Frogger" in a pie machine. You have to move your chicken horizontally across the screen, avoiding several obstacles. Unlike Frogger, your chicken has a health meter so you can get hit by pies and such a couple of times before your chicken "becomes a pie." It's been awhile since I've played Frogger, which is probably why I never got the chicken to the other side!

Ginger Pet is appears that it is suppose to be imitate to those "raise a pet" games. However, it is very simplistic. Here's the entire directions: "Double-Click on Ginger and watch her come alive on your desktop. If you can catch her, click on her to make her speak. You may also choose to let her rest by right-clicking and selecting 'exit'." When you start, Ginger walks across your desktop screen. However, whenever I clicked on her she simply fell to the ground, frantically flapping her wings. When I did a right-click on her my only two options were "Play Sound" and "Exit".

Now let's move our focus away from the PC options and back to the regular DVD options. Those options include Play Movie, Special Features, Scene Index, Subtitles, Audio, and Panic Button. Clicking on the Panic Button will show one of the Chicken Panic scenes from the movie. Unfortunately the clip cuts off sooner than it should (in the middle of the panic). But it is still a fun option.

Chicken Run DVDClicking Special Features starts playing the scene where the chickens are in one of the hen houses hatching their plan, one of the chicken pulls down a map which reveals the Special Feature options (very creative). Those options include, in order, the following:

1) Audio Commentary (Peter Lord, Nick Park).
2) Poultry in Motion: Making of Chicken Run.
3) The Hatching of Chicken Run.
4) Read Along (great for those who want the TV to read to their child).
5) DVD-Rom.
6) Trailers and TV Spot.
7) Production Notes.
8) Cast and Crew.
9) Egg Hunt.

With Egg Hunt, you're suppose to find hidden eggs on some of the DVD screens (hint: one is right above the Main Menu option - press up from Main Menu to find it) and click them. Clicking one reveals a secret about the movie, like: "900 pairs of eyes were made for the characters and each character's eye color is unique."

The DVD version we were sent had only English audio and no subtitles even though there was a Subtitle option. Apparently the final version will contain English subtitles.

Overall the DVD is excellent and I commend DreamWorks for the effort it put into making the DVD. At a price of only $19 (Amazon.com price) purchasing this family fun movie is a no-brainer.

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Joe Tracy is publisher of Animation Artist Magazine and author of Web Marketing Applied.


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