Chicken Little


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Chicken Little
The Masked Reviewer

Who among us doesn't remember the beloved children's story "Chicken Little"?

The Masked Reviewer doesn't.

Sure, some of the names sound familiar.  The concept of "the sky is falling" is ingrained in pop culture, too.  But the actual details of the story are long gone in a distant haze. 

Seeing the latest Disney computer animated film didn't make things any less hazy, either.

Chicken Little was directed by Mark Dindal, whose previous directorial experience includes Disney's less-than-awesome David Spade vocal vehicle, The Emperor's New Groove.  That should tell you not to set the bar too high.

This is more of a kid's movie than many other Disney animated features.  The Incredibles, for example, attempted to appeal to grown-ups as well as kids.  Chicken Little aims for the younger youngins'.  With them, it's an absolute hit.  There's a lot of running around, screaming, burping, and funny voices and action. 

For's kind of boring.  It's not bad (like Shark's Tale) but it's not good.  If a grown-up goes to this movie, they shouldn't expect to secretly enjoy themselves.  It won't be torturous, but it will be like watching a kid's movie.  This is too bad, because Disney has done a fairly good job of making animated features that appeal to all ages.  Shrek and Wallace and Gromit, though, are much better than Chicken Little.  On the other hand, Chicken Little is better than Disney's film Brother Bear, which was entertaining to neither adults or children.  Perhaps the market for that movie was young bears.

The Masked Reviewer doesn't like to discuss the voice talent, particularly because if you do wind up going to this, you might be grateful for the opportunity to play "guess who the voice is."  Suffice it to say that there are some find vocal performances, especially Chicken Little.  A nice (but woefully underused) voice was given to Turkey Lurkey (the mayor).  And the pig guy (Oinky Shnoinky?  Piggy Wiggy?  Whatever) was good too.  As was Ugly Duckling. 

The visual style of the film was good too.  It was very cartoonish for a computer animated film, and it was pretty to look at.  The textures were quite impressive too. 

Good voices and nice animation...that means, unfortunately, that the writing was just not very good.  The movie lacked cleverness almost completely.  In fact, the voice acting probably saved the film from being absolutely unbearable, but ... hey... this is a kid's movie.  What do kids know?   They have to go to bed before the good movies come on Cinemax.

The other comment the Masked Reviewer needs to make is in regards to the music.  There is a virtual hit parade of classic tunes, making for a very expensive soundtrack.  There are a couple of songs that may have been specially written for the movie, or the Masked Reviewer just didn't recognize them.  Those songs were not good.  The others were well known, but it just seemed rather cheesy.  Given the attention that past Disney films have given to original music, it almost feels like Chicken Little is one big attempt to rip off Shrek from Dreamworks.  If that was what they were going for, they failed. 

It's fine for the younger kids, but grown-ups shouldn't get their hopes up.  It's not a movie you'll probably want to see in the theater at all, if you can avoid it.  Although, there is a special 3-D version which might add a can easily see that the film (with constant action) would be much more impressive in 3-D.  So, if you've got to see it, see the 3-D version.

Oh, and parts may actually be a bit scary for very young kids, but that's okay.  It'll toughen them up. 


Expectation from the Title: The bio-pic of the best bird impressionist in the world (he didn't do impressions of birds, he was a bird who did impressions).  From Ronald Reagan to Johnny Carson, the world was his until he wound up in an all you can eat chicken buffet.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Children seemed to enjoy themselves and that's always nice to see.

The Pros: Some good voice acting, interesting visual style.

The Cons: Unclever and weak writing, purely kids' stuff.


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