In the first part of the film, we see an ominous circus truck pull up to the chicken farm, and it becomes apparent that the character of Rocky has escaped from the circus. There is a mid angle shot of Ginger and Rocky when they are hiding behind a chicken shed. This highlights their fear of being discovered and makes the audience tense.
When the film is just starting, we see a high angle shot of all the chickens in dim light behind a gargantuan metal fence. This makes the chickens seem small and vulnerable, it is clear that they are unable to escape. The fence is emphasised and makes the shot reminiscent of a prison camp. The audience sympathises with the chicken ‘prisoners’ and understands that they are the good characters.
Some way through the film, there is a high angle shot looking down on Ginger who is on her own in the rain. We feel sorry for the character of Ginger because she’s realised that Rocky has abandoned everyone due to the fact that he can’t really fly, leaving all the chickens on their own. The audience is sympathetic towards Ginger and hopes the story will have a happy ending.
At the start of the film there is a low angle shot of Mrs Tweedy. The camera shot looks at her feet then looks upwards towards her face. This makes her seem very powerful and the audience will know that she means business. The audience recognizes that she is a baddie.
Towards the end of Chicken Run, Mr and Mrs Tweedy have constructed an enormous chicken pie machine. There is a low angle shot from the inside of this monstrous machine, looking up at the Tweedies. This makes them seem sinister, and this causes the audience to detest these two characters.
Varied presentational devices are used by the film makers of Chicken Run all the way through the film. These different techniques help the audience to see more obviously which characters are meant to be good and evil.
Music and sound effects are used in all films to act as a kind of background to the action in the film. For example, at the very start of the film when we see the high angle shot of the chickens behind the fence, the music is fast and matches the mood of the chickens trying to escape. The music is like the famous tune from The Great Escape, and the audience would understand the connection between these two films and evidently would root for the chickens.
Also at the start, there is some military-style music while Mr Tweedy is taking orders from his wife, Mrs Tweedy. This makes the audience feel frightened of Mrs Tweedy’s power and this emphasises the evil in her character.
Later on in the film there is slow, gentle music with birds singing during Ginger’s speech to the chickens. She introduces them to the concept of freedom, green fields and paradise. The audience dreams along with the chickens, joining their quest for freedom. The gentle music helps to emphasise the fact that the chickens are the good characters.
Costume and stage devices are used to make films more realistic for the audience.
At the beginning of Chicken Run in the low angle shot of Mrs Tweedy, we can see that there is absolutely no colour in her face. This portrays her character’s coldness and lack of emotion. The audience automatically dislikes Mrs Tweedy because of her lack of warmth.
Babs, a chicken, is seen knitting all the time. She is knitting a woolly pink balaclava which makes her character motherly, comical and kind. The audience likes this character because she is obviously a good chicken.
The General is another chicken. We see him asleep in bed covered with a union jack duvet. This makes his character a stereotypical patriotic old man with good manners and values, which the audience would be fond of.
In the home of Mr and Mrs Tweedy there is a chicken carcass on the dining table. The audience sees that the chicken had been eaten, making the Tweedies seem like evil murderers.
After Rocky has disappeared there is a feeling of disappointment in the chicken compound. Babs is shown sitting down while knitting a noose. This shows her character’s feeling of depression because the chickens aren’t going to fly away and escape. The audience would find the fact that she knitted a noose amusing and would sympathise with this evidently good character.
Lighting is used in film making to show moods and good and evil. Traditionally light is good and dark is bad and used to portray evil.
At the start of the film, behind the fence a chicken is lit up meanwhile Mr Tweedy and his dogs are in the darkness. This shows the chicken is good but Mr Tweedy and his dogs are evil characters. The audience would associate light with good and dark with evil, so they work out easily which characters belong to good and evil.
Also near the beginning of Chicken Run, Mrs Tweedy collects a chicken which has laid no eggs and takes it to the shed. A shadow is cast on the wall depicting Mrs Tweedy with an axe going to kill the chicken. An image of a murderer or executioner is conjured up, and the audience feels hatred towards the evil character of Mrs Tweedy.
In film making, scenery and setting are important factors to consider because they make all the difference. For instance in a typical film two people wouldn’t fall in love in a sewer as opposed to somewhere more romantic, nor would an evil character love to feed the ducks in the park.
At the beginning of Chicken Run we see Ginger sitting on the roof of a chicken house, watching birds fly past as the sky changes colour from grey to blue. This symbolises Ginger’s thoughts – from bad to good – regarding how free the birds are, this emphasises the good in Ginger’s character. The audience feels happy for Ginger’s determination to free all the chickens.
Towards the end of the film is a scene where Mrs Tweedy is silhouetted against the angry sky. It is dark, raining and she has a fierce expression. The lightning, thunder and darkness reflect Mrs Tweedy and accentuate her evil character. The audience would find her scary and want her to get what she deserves for being so horrible.
Character intervention and body language could be described as what the characters do in the film. Film makers purposefully make good characters more appealing to the audience through their actions.
At the start of the film, in the low angle shot looking up at Mrs Tweedy, her body language says a lot about her character. She is standing formally with imposing power, and the audience would feel that her character was saying “I’m big, you’re small”. Mrs Tweedy’s strong body language makes it clear that she is an evil character. The nasty expression which she incessantly wears shows that she is not a nice person.
Also at the start of the film we see Mr Tweedy crouching down and taking orders from Mrs Tweedy who is talking down to him. This appears to be challenging the traditional stereotype of a man being the dominant figure in a relationship. The audience would not like to see a character abusing their power and in turn this would cause the audience to dislike the character of Mrs Tweedy.
While Ginger introduces the rest of the chickens to the concept of freedom, the chickens all start gasping, dreaming and smiling. They all want their paradise and green grass which is so unlike where they are. This highlights the fact that the chickens are the good characters in this film. The audience would feel for the chickens and hope they get the freedom they deserve.
In the middle of the film, when Mrs Tweedy’s scheme to make a chicken pie machine becomes apparent, we see Mrs Tweedy rubbing her hands in anticipation while wearing red gloves. This stresses the evil in her character because she has an evil plan to fatten up the chickens before she makes them into pies. The audience would be horrified, and they would notice that Mrs Tweedy’s red gloves symbolise blood and therefore the impending death of the chickens.
Through studying the presentational devices which are present throughout Chicken Run, I have learned that there is more than just a storyline behind a good film. In addition to the characters and the action, film makers must use camera shots and other presentational devices such as lighting to affect their audience and create a fantastic elaborate film on many levels such as this.