This stop-motion film based on a children’s book by Roald Dahl shows what happens with the title character (voiced by George Clooney), a bit bored by his new career as a newspaper columnist, decides for old time’s sake to return briefly to his previous life of crime as a chicken thief, which unfortunately earns him the mortal wrath of a trio of wealthy farmers named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, one fat, one short, one lean. These horrible crooks, so different in looks, were nonetheless equally mean. Or so we’re told at the start of the film.
Instead of having the actors record their lines separately in a studio, as is the usual practice for animated films, the voices were recorded on location, with the actors all present together and often acting out the scenes. When the characters were digging, for example, the actors got down on all fours and dug. I’m not sure this made all that great a difference to their performances, but I gather they had a ball.
It’s a fun film, especially for kids, who will especially enjoy the use of “cuss” as a generic obscenity, as in “You’re not gonna cuss with me, you little cuss!”