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Overall Rating
2.59

Awesome: 1.47%
Worth A Look: 17.65%
Average: 30.88%
Pretty Bad38.24%
Total Crap: 11.76%

7 reviews, 26 user ratings


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Chicken Little
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by Erik Childress

"Without Pixar, The Sky May Indeed Be Falling"
3 stars

There’s something really sweet about the character of Chicken Little and it’s a sweetness that should have developed into something far more reaching than the predicament he finds himself in. Everyone knows “the sky is falling” routine from growing up, but even if you hadn’t surely you would have heard someone use the phrase or incite Chicken Little’s name to blanket the state of fear the media and our government has used as the paint to place us in our corners. Whoa, Whoa Erik! How can you equate the current political climate with that of a harmless children’s film? I’m sorry, but its just one of the many opportunities that the makers of Chicken Little missed in failing to transform a harmless children’s film into that of a full-blown classic for the ages. As enjoyable as the film’s first half comes across, the longer it goes on there’s a clear sense that such chances aren’t the only thing that the current Disney clearly misses.

Chicken Little is the first project in the post-Pixar era of Disney. A sense of desperation sets in when a late move to actual 3-D replaces the exquisite 3-D qualities that Team Pixar brought to their films. But we move on and Chicken Little begins with a lot of promise. Recreating the acorn-induced panic for which our hero is famous, there’s a lot of energy in the humorous pre-title sequence. Disgraced in town, Chicken Little (voiced by Zach Braff) seeks to make his embarassed father (Garry Marshall) proud of him again. Despite having the ingenuity of MacGyver, which is impressive enough, he signs up for the baseball team hoping to restore honor to the Little name.

Supported by pals Abby the Ugly Duckling (Joan Cusack), Fish Out Of Water (a self-contained goldie in a diver’s helmet) and fat pig Star Jones, I mean Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn), Chicken does manage to become the hero of the half-hour and putting the disbelievers to rest. At least for a short while. In the throes of his glory, an actual piece of the sky appears to fall right into his bedroom. Camouflaged to fool the discerning onlooker, the piece reveals itself to be part of a spaceship; just one of a large armada surrounding the little town of Oakley Oaks.

From here, Chicken Little should explode into a fury of anarchic hilarity. Instead, much like the townfolk, the makers seem to be scurrying around helpless and unaware of which direction to go. The nature of the alien invasion is actually very non-threatening which then forces the whole purpose of Chicken Little’s plight to shift. This could prove to be an interesting twist. Precisely what is he warning against and when the situation changes, is he then allowed to change his perspective and avoid the ridicule of the questioning masses? If you’re going to have a town mayor (clearly modeled on Dubya) complete with cue cards and zero intuition on what to do in a crisis), why not take the extra leap into the pros and cons of fear mongering? Maybe this is too much politicizing for my own good, but I guarantee you that the writer Pixar had on staff would have been able to make something more out of a hero with two wings.

At the basest level, yes, Chicken Little is an absolutely adorable character and Braff brings a delightful childlike insecurity to him, overshadowing the underwritten and underplayed Father Little with Marshall generating none of the wit he normally brings to his live action cameos. That’s the fault of the writers though who lose touch of the story midway in and don’t allow their pop culture references to permeate into anything beyond self-acknowledgement. They hit the Spielberg well pretty hard, first with an amusing riff on the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, then a subtle but somewhat missed opportunity for E.T. in the cornfield and cleaning it all up with Abby looking upon the oncoming invasion and commenting “It’s like WAR OF THE WORLDS!” C’mon guys, this is not the only director who has dealt with aliens.

Precisely how limited were the minds of writers Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman (responsible for Disney’s Brother Bear) to come up with such obvious riffs? How do you ignore shaming Chicken as a wolf-crier in a town that could easily have an actual wolf in it? We can accept that animation takes years to produce, but even the soundtrack choices feel like they pre-date The Black Cauldron. The Spice Girls? A redux of Patti LaBelle’s Beverly Hills Cop anthem, Stir It Up? Elton John & Kiki Dee, for pete’s sake? Everytime a hip, musical interlude interrupts, a sense of panic erupts far greater than our titular wonder could ever produce (and that includes the Barenaked Ladies’ lame title song.) Chicken Little has some good laughs in it, particularly the finale which features Hollywood’s take on the Chicken Little tale – cribbed from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, but still funny. It still can’t maintain a laugh quotient or a worthy enough dilemma for our fowl-weather friend (thanks, Gene Shalit) to achieve true underchicken status. The alien invasion may be like War of the Worlds the way Chicken Little is “like” Pixar, but if I were Disney or its intended audience, I’d certainly be panicking.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13462&reviewer=198
originally posted: 11/04/05 16:00:15
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User Comments

10/06/13 Shane Meh. 3 stars
10/19/11 Magic Even Dreamworks Animation would have been ashamed if they made this movie. 2 stars
5/03/08 Pamela White no plot, kids thought it was stupid 2 stars
6/25/07 nana quite funny 4 stars
6/15/07 Vincent Ebriega It takes more than just animation to make this nonsense any good. 1/5. 1 stars
4/25/07 Tiffany Losco good movie, I love chicken little 4 stars
4/01/07 fools♫gold Don't get your hopes up too much, the "kids" I'm near even said it was so-so. 2 stars
9/02/06 Chad Thomas Cute, especially for the kids! 4 stars
7/21/06 David Cohen They had to pad the film just to get to the parts with more padding 2 stars
6/29/06 George Hey Mark, learn to write a story!!!!! 1 stars
5/05/06 Cuenzie Wunzie 10! Sorry out of 10 or 100? Yeah 10\ 100 . 1 stars
4/22/06 Poopy Woopy Wheres the Fucking story!!!!!! 1 stars
4/15/06 Tabitha bad plot a 9 year old could write a better story 2 stars
4/06/06 Chris P. I liked its storyline and how it kinda took parts from other movies in a way nobody noticed 5 stars
4/02/06 JRE too many plots; was like 3 short movies in one 2 stars
3/29/06 tatum Funny, nowhere near the disaster reported 4 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer Walt Disney will rise from his grave to take revenge for this insult! 1 stars
1/11/06 Tamara D.Leonard Cute movie, the kids loved it. 3 stars
1/01/06 Jasper Poop 1 stars
12/29/05 DARIJA VAN HOUTEN GOOD MOVIE TO TAKE THE KIDS TO SEE 4 stars
11/17/05 Rebo Valence Pixar has nothing to fear from this turkey. 2 stars
11/14/05 NPD licken' chit-tle 1 stars
11/11/05 Dan Smith My Grandson Laughed his ass off. 4 stars
11/09/05 ga ga 3 stars
11/04/05 M.F. Chicken Little lays an egg 2 stars
11/04/05 Chicken Little Chicken Little makes a very small Chicken Pie (with extra *barf*) 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Nov-2005 (G)
  DVD: 21-Mar-2006

UK
  10-Feb-2006 (U)

Australia
  01-Jan-2006


Directed by
  Mark Dindal

Written by
  Mark Dindal

Cast
  Zach Braff
  Garry Marshall
  Joan Cusack
  Steve Zahn
  Amy Sedaris
  Don Knotts



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