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The traditional story of Chicken Little (where he thinks the sky is falling and runs round warning everyone and causing general panic) is cleverly developed into a feature length film about an alien invasion/rescue mission.
Chicken Little himself (voiced by Zach Braff) is a tiny chick who is trying to live down the embarrassment of his original 'the sky is falling' catastrophe, and more importantly to him he is desparately wanting his Dad's approval.
His misfit friends,especially his best friend Abbie Mallard (Ugly Duckling), are hugely supportive with his attempt to improve his street cred by joining the baseball team, but any success is short-lived when one friend, Fish, is accidently abducted by aliens and Chicken Little must firstly rescue him, and then face the wrath of the whole town again when he tries to warn them of the threat of an alien invasion.
Will Earth be obliterated?
Will he just embarrass his Dad all over again?
Will he ever live it down?
This film is sweet and funny and has a good soundtrack (inc Barenaked Ladies, REM - it's the end of the world as we know it, and more)
I think it gets better the more you watch it as the characters grow on you, and you can pick up on more subtle jokes.
I'll be honest. I am not a member of this films target audience as I'm not a child. Neither am I a parent so I'm not even a member of it's 2nd target audience. However I do like cartoons & animation and I like CGI films a lot so I guess they have me there. I was curious to see how they could turn what was really a very short children's story into a movie that would last longer than an hour and have it not be boring.
I assume the line of children being pulled out of the pram were rabbits? They just weren't clear enough to make out but the joke would make sense if they were. I LOVED the Raiders joke, very funny but almost certainly right over the heads of the kids this film is aimed at (but their parents will most certainly get it). The acorn incident is over and done with in seconds (and out of the way within the 1st 5 minutes of the film), but this was the entire point of Chicken Little's story (it's basically a misunderstanding on his part) so exactly what are they going to do with the remaining 1 hour and 19 minutes?
Some of the jokes in the background (a bird flying into a window, a bull running a china shop) are going to go unnoticed (it seems you'll have to buy this one on DVD and watch it several times, most likely the commentary will point that kind of thing out). Voice talent includes Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek TNG) playing Mr Woolsworth the Sheep, Joan Cusack as Abby Mallard. Without a doubt the best character in the film and a major unsung hero is Fish Out Of Water (I think his paper Empire State Building & King Kong impression were brilliant!).
The baseball game win seemed too good to be true (I half expected the scene back at the house after wards to be him waking from a dream) but was there to set Chicken Little back to not a loser any more only to screw up in people's minds again, when another stop sign shaped object falls from the sky and hits him in the head.
This getting hit in the head all the time can't be good for his brain, can it? When the "invisible thing" kidnaps Fish & leads them to the baseball ground (someone's seen "Close Encounters" and Cruise's "War Of The Worlds" then?) it proves to be aliens invading.
Runt almost choking himself on his hyperventilation bag is hysterically funny (I'm bound to be the only person who thinks that!) and the ship interior looks amazing (like the Skarj Mothership at the end of Unreal). When they hid in the cornfield you just knew the aliens were going to cut it down. I did wonder what the cuts were going to be but crop circles was a rubbish and predictable answer.
Obviously after alerting the town the ship cloaks and no-one believes Chicken Little (despite the fact the fish, the pig and the duck all saw the exact same thing too) & he's in disgrace again. But they left someone behind (yes, it's turned into E.T. now!). The alien finds Chicken Little & friends (nice goof, his handkerchief vanishes from the lawn after Little wipes it from his hand) and just wants to go home (I told you it'd turned into E.T.!).
The townspeople think it's an invasion but it's exactly what Chicken Little said it was, a rescue mission (although it slightly smacks of overkill sending the entire Battle Armarda and ground troops just for 1 kid, are these aliens American?). Whoever is voicing Chicken Little (Zack Braff from Scrubs I later discovered) it may as well be James Woods as it totally sounds like him. Or a really bad Woody Allen impression.
The one place where the CGI animation truly stands out as incredible is when Chicken Little and the young alien are on top of City Hall (the wind ruffling his feathers and the aliens hair just looks absolutely stunning!). The film ends with the alien kid being rescued, the aliens repairing the town and Hollywood making a movie which you see the end of.
You also find out Chicken Little's 1st encounter was also the spaceship dropping a faulty panel on his head. Even if you didn't like this movie (and how could you not like it?) it's worth sticking with it just to watch the musical number over the end credits which is really cool. The break dancing porcupine especially so.
When Chicken Little first hit our screens in 2005 I don't think it was generally met with as much anticipation as the Disney films before it. However I thought it was actually quite alright and bought the DVD! The film may be an animated children's one but, personally it does seem to be geared towards the whole family being able to watch it and I think this is what gives it a certain appeal.
Chicken Little is a young fowl who has a vivid imagination. He one day thinks the sky is falling when an acorn falls on his head and starts a whole panic in the town of Oakley Oaks where he lives with his Dad, Buck Cluck and friends Abby Mallard, Fish out of water and Runt of the litter. The whole town like to bring up the incident at any opportunity when they realise what has actually happened and so when aliens actually really do invade the town, no-one believes poor Chicken Little. It's up to him and his friends to save the town from attack!
Quite a lot of well known actors and actresses do the voices for the characters in this film and the main ones are listed below -
Chicken Little - Zach Braff
Abby Mallard - Joan Cusack
Fish out of water - Dan Molina
Runt of the litter - Steve Zahn
Foxy Loxy - Amy Sedaris
Buck Cluck - Garry Marshall
Obviously Zach Braff is quite well known as an actor but back a few years ago when this film was released I didn't really know much about him so didn't recognise the voice. Joan Cusack is probably the voice I most recognised.
My DVD only has one real extra which is the sneak peeks of upcoming films so nothing special unfortunately!
I really did think this film was quite good as there is quite a bit of humour in it especially from the character of Runt of the litter. I do generally like the modern Disney films as find the better animation to be enjoyable to watch. I like the storyline which from looking into it seems to have originated from the idea of if you lie too many times then when you do tell the truth no one will believe you. It seems the story was adapted from this but rather than poor Chicken Little lying about things, it seems he just gets it wrong all the time and so everybody sees him as that silly little chicken and laughs at him!
I think it is a good one to watch if there are older as well as young children viewing it as it can keep the interest of both and also means that adults don't find it boring either!
The DVD is available to buy from various high street and online stores and expect to pay around the £12 new so it might be worth looking at auction sites to get a better deal.
The film is rated 'U' so is suitable for everyone.
Once upon a time there was a man with dubious political leanings who decided to create a studio that would create animations for the burgeoning cinema era. For the next 50 years his company would dominate the cartoon market winning Oscars and making billions of dollars. His entire world was passed on to others when he died (or when he had his body frozen to be thawed out in later years) and during the late 90s the studio seemed too lose its relevance. All the boys and girls no longer wanted to see classic hand drawn animation and the idea of a wonderful score and songs no longer appealed. With the evil Pixar taking all their viewers what could the studio do? Why, make their own new style animation and buy Pixar for themselves. But did they all live happily ever after?
Chicken Little is the town joke. Twelve months ago he had caused a near riot when he set off the towns alarm and claimed that the sky was falling. It appears that our diminitrative hero had in fact been clobbered on the noggin with a ripe acorn! In the present day Chicken is bullied at school and only his friends; Abby, Runt and Fish, will talk to him. He just wants to get on with his life and make his father proud when another piece of the sky falls. Is the strange disc actually part of the sky and what is the strange creature that seems to be following Chicken Little and friends? Can they work together to uncover the truth and make the towns people believe them?
Chicken Little is one of those odd fairy tales that only people in America know exists, kind of like Basketball and Baseball. However, prior knowledge of the story impacts little on the film as the first 5 minutes soon gets you up to speed. The story takes a completely different tack from usual computer animated films as it does have talking animals, but the plot is more like War of the Worlds for kids. I actually thought that writing Chicken Little to be a modern action adventure story and not a traditional fairy tale was a bold move and one that comes off. The script is witty and the plot holds its own for both children and adults.
The animation itself plays a role in the enjoyment of an animated film. Here is where Chicken Little lets itself down somewhat. Although the standard is ok it is not up there with Happy Feet or recent Pixar films. A lot of the magic that comes with the hand drawn Disney animations is lost with the character models not really reflecting the Disney style at all. The fact that the majority of the film is within one town gives the film a slightly closeted feel when compared to the vast open spaces that some animations portray. This is not to say that the animation fails as it is fun to look at and is particularly good during the chase sequences.
The voice acting in the film is also a mixed bag. The parts played by Joan Cusack (Abby) and Steve Zahn (Runt) are voiced perfectly as they use their comic talents to good use. The main reservation with the voice talent I have is with the usually dependable Zach Braff as Chicken Little himself. I did not feel that the voice and the character model fitted together at all. Chicken is the smallest boy in school yet he has the voice of a man! Braff did try to change his voice slightly but it still made for strange viewing.
The characters themselves and the script they use are probably the reason this film got an uncalled for slating on its cinema release. Pixar have become adept at creating warm, likeable, funny characters and scripts and Chicken Little feels like its trying too hard to copy. The characters feel lifeless and it is only really Fish and Runt that bring with them something that kids will enjoy; the rest of the cast feel a little wet. Disney has their own sense of wonder and magic that has made them very successful. It seems like they abandoned this tradition to try and win the new dollars that are on offer now. Disney can be pretty ruthless in their search for profit releasing direct to video sequels, stealing Winnie the Pooh from the UK and no longer making hand drawn animations. I am glad that Pixar have come in and shaken the boat as Steve Jobs realises that Disney make films like The Lion King best and they should stick to them.
There is no way that Chicken Little is as good a CGI animation as the best of Pixar, but for me it was not awful. It certainly rates as good as the overrated Finding Nemo. The script is a little cheesy at points, but there are enough jokes to keep adults and kids happy. I was impressed by the direction the film took as it is different from the 1000s of other talking animal films that seem to be released weekly. I hope that Disney continue to make both hand drawn and CGI films separate from Pixar as I think that if they drop their cynical money making edge and try and imbue some of the old Disney magic they could make some classics for the next generation. Chicken Little is a fun, but average, animation that will prove a good platform for them to build on.
Director: Mark Dindal
Starring: Zach Braff, Joan Cusack and Steve Zahn
Price: Amazon uk £8.97
The deleted scenes are actually quite interesting as they show two different starts to the film. One is too similar to Shrek so the makers decided to ditch it, whilst the other saw Chicken as a girl! The other extras are the usual high quality, but vacant, games and videos for kids. It is fun to watch the music videos as they are awful, especially the girl group (but I will let the Barenaked Ladies off they probably need the money nowadays).
A classic fable gets fused with War of the Worlds in Disney's Chicken Little. In the small town of Oakey Oaks, young Chicken Little (voiced by Zach Braff, Garden State) struggles to live down the embarrassment of having once thought the sky was falling. But when he gets struck again by a hexagonal, sky-camouflaged, hi-tech doohickey, he and his friends Ugly Duckling (Joan Cusack, School of Rock), Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn, Sahara), and Fish Out of Water discover that aliens are preparing to invade Earth--but since no one believed Chicken Little the first time, why would they believe him now? Though kids will enjoy the bright whizz-bang action sequences of Chicken Little, discerning parents will find the movie tedious. Technically, it has the computer animation quality of Pixar--but with none of their intelligence, heart, or simple storytelling skill. The basic idea of connecting the fable to aliens is amusing, but the script routinely bogs down in clumsy father-son issues that seem like material edited out of Finding Nemo. The jokes rarely have anything to do with the characters, but are mostly pop-culture references that are sadly out of date. The action sequences were obviously created with the inevitable video game in mind, for which the movie is little more than an advertisement. Chicken Little falls flat. --Bret Fetzer