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The first Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget reviews are in, but is it a worthy sequel?

"Consistently amusing in its dad-jokey kind of way."

Rocky (Zachary Levi), Nick (Romesh Ranganathan), Fetcher (Daniel Mays) in Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (Netflix)
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget premiered at the London Film Festival. (Netflix)

London Film Festival held the world premiere of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget this weekend.

From the plasticine masters Aardman Animation, this stop-motion sequel has already made waves due to its recasting of Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson as the voices of Ginger and Rocky, but the makers will be hoping Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi's performances can keep the magic alive for audiences.

23 years since their escape from Tweedy's Farm, Dawn of the Nugget sees our feathered heroes in parent mode, but when a new threat to their sanctuary emerges, they're forced back into action.

Read more: BFI London Film Festival 2023: The most exciting films to watch out for

Fresh out of the screening, the critics have now had their say.

"Where the tongue-in-beak original was a sendup of war movies, Nugget serves as a riff on Mission: Impossible-style action flicks," read Variety's review.

"The sequel doesn't offer many surprises plotwise, but is consistently amusing in its dad-jokey kind of way. The folks at Aardman can hardly resist a good pun, and they load Nugget with a level of detail that will reward repeat viewings."

CHICKEN RUN: DAWN OF THE NUGGET - (L to R): Fetcher (Daniel Mays), Nick (Romesh Ranganathan), Mac (Lynn Ferguson), Bunty (Imelda Staunton), Ginger (Thandiwe Newton), Babs (Jane Horrocks) and Fowler (David Bradley). The world's greatest hens-emble are back and hatching a plan in Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget - the eagerly anticipated sequel to Aardman's hit film Chicken Run. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget will make its debut later this year, only on Netflix.

CHICKEN RUN: DAWN OF THE NUGGET will make its debut only on Netflix in 2023. Cr: Aardman/NETFLIX © 2023
(L to R): Fetcher, Nick, Mac, Bunty, Ginger, Babs and Fowler. (Aardman/Netflix)

While The Guardian did appreciate its "cheeky nods" to The Lion King, The Truman Show and Toy Story 3, and a couple of "showstopper gags", occasionally, "this new Chicken Run has the same flaw as the newer Pixar movies: a sense that the film could almost have been algorithmically fabricated through AI".

Deadline went on to add: "In the hands of director Sam Fell and his writing team, Dawn of the Nugget delivers a cleverly modern kind of family entertainment that, while it works to a formula, never feels written by committee.

"The action more than holds up in the Marvel era, juggling several competing storylines and throwing in a surprise guest star to keep things interesting. But it also keeps to the sincere moral values of the original — family, friendship, community — and whenever the film pauses to remind us of all that (which it does, several times), it's never patronising, and, even better, those scenes are mercifully brief."

Read more: Julia Sawalha claims she was 'unfairly dismissed' from 'Chicken Run' sequel due to 'old' voice

As Dawn of the Nugget awaits its worldwide release on Netflix this Christmas, Digital Spy lamented the fact fans won't be "able to see it in its full glory on a big screen" - but on the flipside, they "can rewatch and pause various moments to catch all the details and gags packed into each frame".

The publication also focussed on the sequel's darkness, mentioning: "even though it's a family movie, there's gallows humour here akin to Babs knitting a noose in the first movie. A late sequence, audaciously soundtracked to Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday', might even be one of the creepiest of the year."

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget streams on Netflix from December 15.

Watch: Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget official teaser