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"Ginger intends to show the others how the removal of mind fences can lead to greener pastures."
Raymond Teague is the author of Reel
Spirit: A Guide to Movies That
He is an award-winning
His book is available by clicking the "Buy the Book" link above or by clicking here.
"Reel Spirit" Movie Reviews
Never underestimate the power of one individual with faith, passion, a conscience, and determination to accomplish wonders. The individual may be a person, as in the movie Erin Brockovich. Or perhaps a pig, as in Babe.
Even a chicken, as in Chicken Run, the clay-animated gem from Peter Lord and Nick Park. The latter is the creator of the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit series about a British inventor and his savvy dog.
In Chicken Run, the wonder-working individual is a chicken named Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha). Ginger is no ordinary flighty, head-in-the-feed chicken. She has pluck and courage. She has vision, and looks beyond the barnyard and longs for freedom for herself and all her kind.
What are the odds she can pull off an escape from the Tweedy chicken farm? They may not seem very good. Ginger keeps trying to lead an escape, but each time gets caught and thrown into solitary confinement in a coal bin. Ginger asks a would-be compatriot what their chances of escape are, and the reply is a million in one. "Then there's still a chance," Ginger replies resolutely.
That's the kind of spunky chicken Ginger is. She puts thought and action into her dreams and into her desire to better the lives of all the chickens at the farm -- especially when it becomes known that Mrs. Tweedy (voiced by Miranda Richardson) intends to turn all the poultry into chicken pies. Regardless of her species and the jokes about them, Ginger is truly a worthy role model -- a determined, purposeful, unselfish, courageous activist, and a true feminist.
Ginger also is something of a spiritual role model. She knows where true strength radiates -- from the faith-filled individual. Ginger tells the other chickens that the fences that are really holding them back, that are keeping them from living a life of freedom and happiness, are not those around the barnyard, but are the fences in their own minds. "The fences aren't just around the farm -- they're up here -- in your head," Ginger tells them.
Here's a chicken who knows and lives by the power of positive thinking! "Where there's a will, there's a way," she says. Here's a chicken who knows that thoughts held in mind do indeed produce after their kind. Ginger intends to show the others how the removal of mind fences can lead to greener pastures.
Plus, Ginger relies on prayer. When all her plans have failed and doom seems imminent, what does Ginger do? She prays, "Heaven help us." Hers is a sincere prayer for the welfare of the whole flock.
And that prayer is answered. Perhaps not in the way that Ginger would have envisioned it - with the arrival of the cocky Rocky the Flying Rooster (voiced by Mel Gibson) -- but then prayers are like that. In the long run, Rocky probably answers more than one of Ginger's prayers -- proving that Spirit knows best and sees the Big Picture when mere chickens (or mortals) cannot.
Chicken Run is pleasing not only because of its inventiveness and humor but also because of its empowering message and role model for chickens and humans of all ages.