Chicken Little

"Good"

Chicken Little Review


Now that Disney finally has gotten rid of that albatross of Pixar, the Mouse can finally get on with making computer animated movies by itself. Gosh!

But seriously, Chicken Little is Disney's first solo stab at a CGI kiddie flick, something that was going to happen sooner or later and which, given Disney's recent track record in animation, has had most moviegoers scared silly. Chicken Little takes an age-old fable and hands the story to director Mark Dindal (who directed the best animated Disney movie in recent memory, the under-seen The Emperor's New Groove). Nice start, but... Chicken Little? "The sky is falling, the sky is falling?" In the original story, Chicken Little gets beaned with an acorn and gathers up all his friends to tell the king that the sky is falling. As they trek to visit the king, they are captured by Foxy Loxy and (depending on how gruesome the interpretation you're reading is) are promptly eaten.

Well, that probably wasn't going to fly as a Disney movie, so now we get Chicken Little: The Remix. In the 2005 version, Chicken Little (voiced by an unrecognizable Zach Braff) is a runt of a kid, the son of a widower father (Garry Marshall) who's beloved among town as a former school baseball hero. The film starts with his claim that the sky is falling (which culminates in a panicked destruction of the town), moves on to Chicken's unexpected redemption from loser status on the baseball field a year later, and abruptly takes a spin in a different direction when it turns out that, oops, the sky really is falling. (Though I won't say why or how for fear of ruining the movie's sole surprise.)

As a story, the film is on the weak side. Self-referentialism, pop culture references, and classic movie homages are all used to extreme effect -- arguably to the point where they start to become overwhelming. The cast list (check it out) is a veritable who's who of recognizable voices. (Don Knotts, people!) But playing "who's that voice" only entertains you for so long. There's just not much to the plot of Chicken Little, which is probably what happens when you try to turn a 20-line fairy tale into a full-length feature film. Wake me up when they make The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Then there's Disney's stab at 3D animation. There's nothing wrong with it, but the visuals notably lack scope and depth. Consider the cities and forests of The Incredibles. Chicken Little has none of that: The entire town feels smaller than a studio backlot. And while the wee Chicken Little has a great degree of detail to his feathery body, most of the characters are rather rubbery, and their environments tend to be staid. I suppose there's something to be said for the kind of institutional knowledge that Pixar has been able to generate in nearly 20 years of work. (That said, Disney is showing off the movie in digital 3-D on about 100 screens nationwide, part of a brand new ILM process that actually uses the 3-D animation designs to specially render the different views for "right" and "left." And yes, you still need the glasses.)

Fortunately the movie is brisk, the heartfelt songs are minimal (but boy are they heartfelt), and Chicken Little is loveable enough as a scrappy wannabe hero. But it's the morbidly obese pig Runt (Steve Zahn) who utterly steals the show. He's not just a stereotypical big eater (he is a pig, after all), the Little crew makes him obsessed with karaoke to the point where a rendition of "I Will Survive" can coax him into heroic action. And yet he's the biggest loser of Little's friends: In one of the film's funniest moments, he chokes on the paper bag he's hyperventilating into.

Still, a collection of cute scenes do not a movie make, and Chicken Little isn't really memorable beyond a good handful of slapstick gags. And though it's unabashedly designed for kids, the film didn't really resonate with the children in my audience. During the action-filled climax, my own three-year-old daughter lost interest and chose to incessantly sing "Jingle Bells" instead of pay attention to the film.

Jingle Bells... Hey, now there's an idea for a movie!

The pie is falling.



Chicken Little

Facts and Figures

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th November 2005

Box Office USA: $135.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $314.4M

Budget: $150M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 58 Rotten: 101

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Mark Dindal

Producer:

Starring: as Chicken Little (voice), as Buck Cluck (voice), as Mayor Turkey Lurkey (voice), as Mr. Woolensworth (voice), as Foxy Loxy (voice), as Runt of the Litter (voice), as Abby Mallard (voice), as Principal Fetchit (voice), as Dog Announcer (voice), as Melvin - Alien Dad (voice), as Tina - Alien Mom (voice), as Alien Cop (voice), as Ace - Hollywood Chicken Little (voice), Dan Molina as Fish Out of Water (voice), Joe Whyte as Rodriguez / Acorn Mascot / Umpire (voice), Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey (voice), Sean Elmore as Kirby - Alien Kid (voice), Matthew Josten as Kirby - Alien Kid (voice), Evan Dunn as Kirby - Alien Kid (voice), as Morkubine Porcupine / Coach (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.