A mild disappointment for movie buffs who remember such masterpieces as Creature Comforts
and the Wallace and Gromit
shorts, as the first Aardman attempt at feature-length animation spreads itself a little thin. Still, it has the advantages and rewards of the comic intelligence and droll technique that inform the greatest of the Aardman shorts, fixed on a story that self-consciously reworks The Great Escape
in a chicken-house setting. As a technical feat of clay animation, this large-scale spectacle is nothing short of astonishing; as a comedy-drama with touches of slapstick farce and sci-fi fantasy, it’s captivating and thoroughly engaging. Neither as condescending not as sentimental as the typical G-rated film, with the creatures primarily characters in a story, rather than marketing devices for the latest bonanza in toys and stuffed animals.