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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 William Goss

"Cock Block"
2 stars

As Disney’s first computer-generated effort sans Pixar since 2000's 'Dinosaur,' 'Chicken Little' is a scattershot mess of jarring plot blends, hallmark clichés, and force-fed pop songs that undermine the occasional clever touch and beg the question, “Why did the chicken make a movie?” Sure, it beats the bird flu, but even for typical Disney fare, 'Little' is not nearly enough.

A year after his claim of a falling sky prompted panic in the streets of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little remains the town pariah, with his father, Buck Cluck, still ashamed of his son. Soon after he wins back his father’s good graces, Chicken Little is struck by yet another part of the sky and, accompanied by pals Ugly Duckling and Runt of the Litter, tries to warn the town of imminent danger.

Chicken Little is riddled with flaws, and perhaps the worst one is its splintered story. After establishing Little as a social outcast, the plot offers him a chance at redemption via a baseball game. Soon after winning said game (imagine that), he discovers that the sky is actually a façade for…an alien invasion. Then, just as the town and the movie enter War Of The Worlds territory, the invaders’ true Disney-coated motives are revealed. For a 78-minute feature, this film bites off more than it can chew in terms of plot. The clichés that come with both a father-son reconciliation story and a frantic alien invasion tale prove too many for one movie, swamping the story in predictability and creating a harsh friction between the uneven acts.

The story surplus results in a lack of character development for the most part. While Little’s humility is thoroughly ascertained, the relationship with his father is never fleshed out, save for the frequent scenes of his public shame and inevitable forgiveness, as well as a sole shot proposing that Cluck may be a widower (sniff). As for the other characters: Abby Mallard (a.k.a. Ugly Duckling) harbors an unspoken crush on Little, of which comes a minimal payoff; Runt of the Litter is a pig who is nearly as neurotic as he is obese; and Fish Out of Water is adorned with a fishbowl helmet in which he reacts silently to the circumstances. Unfortunately, some of the more interesting personalities fall by the wayside, such as Morkubine Porcupine, a most Bohemian individual whose monosyllabic vocabulary consists solely of expressions that rhyme with “Yo,” resulting in a grand total of three lines (read: three words).

The film also fails to take advantage of its rather impressive cast roster. Lending their voices are Zach Braff as Chicken Little (basically offering a weak Woody Allen impersonation), Garry Marshall as Buck Cluck, Joan Cusack as Ugly Duckling (woefully underused), and Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey. The biggest shame is that the usually entertaining Steve Zahn fails to save Runt from becoming a progressive nuisance of a sidekick, particularly with his convenient taste in music, which offers the film several opportunities to provide a barrage of tunes that run the gamut from Spice Girls to Elton John to Queen and are hokey filler more than the morale boost they’re intended to be. Even the Barenaked Ladies contribute a weak opening track that serves one purpose: to run the most obvious theme (re: Chicken Little is miserable and outcast) into the ground, in surround sound.

Within the story, some striking political metaphors exist that, as innocent as they might be intended, are somewhat difficult to ignore. From the dimwit mayor of Oakey Oaks, Turkey Lurkey, for whom bodyguards supply cue cards with which to instruct him, to Runt’s admittance to being a flip-flopper, one can only wonder how last year’s election may have rubbed off on the film’s production staff. (I won't even tackle the fear-mongering angle.) At one point, the blatantly butch bully, Foxy Loxy (voiced by Amy Sedaris), undergoes an accident that renders her a straight-laced darling. Ain’t that handy?

Political parallels aside, there are moments of inspired humor that manage to reveal the potential that went untapped. From several smaller bits (a bull as owner of a china shop, a chameleon as a street light) to a few larger gags, director Mark Dindal and his team demonstrate how much more enjoyable the film could have been, offering a few smiles and even fewer laughs. Instead, the cleverness falls in the shadow of the animation, which gets the job done without being particularly unique or groundbreaking. Certain sequences and environments seem to exist only to show off, particularly for the film’s simultaneous limited engagement in 3-D. As stunning as I'm sure the visuals are in that format, I doubt very much that 3-D technology can liven up the script.

Disney’s animation studio has proven in recent years that, without Pixar, it is still possible for them to craft an enjoyable cartoon feature that exhibits distinct personality, disarming wit, and genuine charm (see 'Lilo & Stitch' or Dindal’s own 'The Emperor's New Groove'). However, as their first non-Pixar computer-animated creation in five years, Disney’s 'Chicken Little' is simply made up of too many different parts to bode well for the studio’s future.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13462&reviewer=409
originally posted: 11/04/05 18:43:13
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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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