A feisty hen named Ginger is fed up with being trapped inside a chicken coup. She would love to escape but is thwarted at every turn until a newcomer - a brash American flying rooster escaped from a circus - agrees to teach the chickens how to fly.

Marvellous piece of animation that is wittily written and painstakingly and beautifully photographed.

Aardman which was founded by mates from school Peter Lord and David Sproxton has really put the art of clay animation to the forefront of the animated world with such works as Creature Comforts and The Wrong Trousers, both made by director Nick Park

The company has bided its time until the right moment to `go Hollywood` with a feature film, so now we have .

The Tweedies run their chicken farm like a prisoner of war camp. It`s no accident that Ginger - voiced by Julia Sawalha -, the most resourceful hen in the compoud resides in shed number 17. In the opening credit sequence we see Ginger`s imaginative attempts to engineer an escape not just for herself but for the whole brood. All are doomed to failure, Mr Tweedie and his dogs see to that and Ginger ends up spending a lot of time in solitary in the coal bin.

Then literally out of the blue arrives an American rooster - Rocky - voiced by Mel Gibson. He`s known as the `lone free ranger`. Ginger thinks Rocky can fly and that they can all learn from him. Escape is getting urgent because the vile Mrs. Tweedie has just bought a gigantic chicken pie machine.

This marvelous piece of animation is so cleverly done, so painstakingly and beautifully photographed, so wittily written that it is an absolute charmer. For me, it`s the best animation I`ve experienced in feature form just about ever. Co-produced and directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park they have turned their years of experience to good advantage, knowing just how valuable a good script and development of discernible and loveable or hateable characters can be.

Mel Gibson`s terrific as Rocky, his voice is almost unrecognisable, Julia Sawalha is great as the plucky Ginger and so are the rest, Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Tweedie, Jane Horrocks as the naive knitter Babs, Lynn Ferguson, Imelda Staunton, oh they all create wonderful characters. But what I loved about this film is that centre stage with more guts, more determination, more intelligence that all the others is a woman. Ginger I love you!