**1/2 (out of 5)
November 4, 2005
Zach Braff as CHICKEN LITTLE
Garry Marshall as BUCK CLUCK
Don Knotts as MAYOR TURKEY LURKEY
Patrick Stewart as MR. WOLLENSWORTH
Amy Sedaris as FOXY LOXY
Steve Zahn as RUNT OF THE LITTER
Joan Cusack as ABBY MALLARD
Directed by: Mark Dindal
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Okay, let’s get all the Pixar talk out of the way…
“Chicken Little” is a big deal movie for Disney. It’s their big chance to define themselves in the CGI movie genre without Pixar at the range. (Of course, you might hear this is the first shot, but really this summer’s “Valiant” was the first one, and that was a disaster.) If the movie soars, then Disney is holding the cards for their upcoming Pixar contract negotiation. If it flops, then Pixar can write its own ticket.
Interestingly enough, there’s a slate of CGI animal movies coming out, all of which seem to be loosely knocked off of DreamWorks’ “Madagascar.” Disney has “The Wilds.” Sony has “Open Season.” And even DreamWorks is ripping itself off with “Over the Hedge.” But in this respect, I have to hand it to Disney. “Chicken Little” isn’t a rip-off of anything.
In fact, “Chicken Little” may be one of the most unique movies you’ll see this year. It had some things happen in the movie that I never expected to see on screen, let alone a Disney family movie. The only film that this movie knocks off is “War of the Worlds,” but that’s meant more as an homage than as creative thievery.
“Chicken Little” tells the story of what happens after the notorious little chicken warns that the sky is falling. After being branded a disgrace to his friends, family and hometown for throwing everyone into a panic when he was only hit in the head with an acorn, Chicken Little struggles to bring his life back to normal.
In a wild attempt to gain his father’s approval, Chicken Little joins the baseball team and inadvertently becomes a hero. However, as he’s celebrating a big win, a piece of the sky falls again – right in his bedroom. He calls on his friends the Abby Mallard, Runt of the Litter and Fish Out Of Water to help him warn the people that there are really aliens in the skies.
This is actually a rather complex plot for a kids movie. At the very least, the film does things that you might not expect, especially when tripod aliens come to earth and start using a death ray. Yeah, it’s a bit disjointed, but I was okay with it.
The voice cast has quite a few names in it, including Zach Braff as Chicken Little, Joan Cusack as Abby Mallard and Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter. However, unlike some animated films, the voice cast doesn’t overpower the characters. They can be a little annoying at times, but not too much.
Disney is also releasing this movie in a new Dolby digital projected 3D format. If a theatre near you offers this, check it out in this format for sure. Unlike the old-fashioned anaglyph 3D glasses (the ones with red and blue lenses), this uses polarized light and digital technology to make a crystal-clear 3D image. Outside of the IMAX 3D experience, you won’t see better imagery.
The action and quirky shots in the film lend themselves to the 3D experience. And since you won’t get a headache from any anaglyph glasses, you can actually get lost in the film.
Overall, “Chicken Little” is a cute film. It’s a unique story, and it kept me guessing. There’s enough humor in it for adults, so it’s definitely worth an outing with the kids.