Chicken Little

Review Date:
Director: Mark Dindal
Writer: Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman
Producers: Randy Fullmer
Zach Braff as Chicken Little
Garry Marshall as Mr. Little
Joan Cusack as Abby
Loosely based on the tale of Chicken Little screaming out that the “sky is falling”, this film takes that concept and turns it into a full-length feature which starts off with that idea, but also tosses in a baseball game, a father/son relationship, three kooky friends and…naturally…hundreds of aliens in spaceships! I know, I know…I’m not sure why they went that way either, but they did, so go with it. Chicken Little-ing ensues…
There have been plenty of better animated movies released over the past few years, and if evolution is part of the critiquing of these films, CHICKEN LITTLE doesn’t really bring all that much novelty to the table with basic animation, a so-so story and a runtime of less than 75 minutes. That said, I can’t say that the film ever really bored me (or thrilled me for that matter), but I think a lot of that had to do with its screenplay which, as opposed to many of the aforementioned flicks, doesn’t really give adults much to play with, other than a couple of in-jokes here and there. The only sequence that was even remotely interesting to me “as an adult” was the film’s Hollywood parody of itself. Somewhat humorous. But overall, the film is childish, and I don’t mean that in a completely negative way. It’s basically built with kids in mind, and unlike other animated movies like THE INCREDIBLES and the SHREK flicks, for example, parents might not be as entertained watching this film, as the others. I don’t really know the whole story behind the actual “chicken little” fable (other than the fact that he claimed that “the sky was falling”), but the way they went about it here, it’s pretty obvious that they wanted to inject the movie with plenty of action, which is basically what they do, once they get past its more down-home first act opening.

Funnily enough, about half an hour into this bird, they seem to have resolved the small chicken’s esteem issues, but soon thereafter, turn the film into an all-out juggernaut of lights, ray-guns, aliens and spaceships, which for me, didn’t really work after the small town set-up that was established early on. Things just seemed to be very noisy after that, and not necessarily based in any emotion or reasoning (i.e. let’s spray as much noise and colors and lights onto the big screen and kids will love it!). As an adult, I was paying closer attention to the film’s dialogue, jokes and character interactions and they didn’t really add up to much here. It’s certainly not a bad movie, but it’s pretty vapid and that’s despite its cute father/son message – although even that didn’t really hit home as it seemed a little too forced with a reminder to “talk to your father” seemingly underlying every other scene. We get it, talking to our parents is important!! – then again, how many small kids will truly be able to appreciate that sentiment? All in all, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and have no children who are gnawing at your legs to be taken, wait until it comes out on DVD in about two months and even then, rent it only if the animal characters seem somewhat engaging to you, because the story doesn’t really bring much to the supper, and neither does much of anything else. Interesting to watch, I guess, but the folks at Pixar needn’t watch their backs just yet…this ain’t even close to the coolness they churn out on a regular basis.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Chicken Little



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