51 Days of Disney (Day 46): Chicken Little

Chicken Little is the other movie that I was not looking forward to. I had heard that it was worse than Home on the Range, and those people were right.

The movie starts with a CG birdhouse version of Sleeping Beauty Castle for the Walt Disney Pictures logo. I already hate this movie and it’s only 20 seconds in. To top that off, the narrator doesn’t know how to start the movie, so they start off with a reference to the opening of the Lion King and a storybook opening up before deciding to just start the freaking movie. I know about unreliable narrators, but not incompetent narrators.

This is going to be really bad, you guys. I’m not kidding.

When this movie actually gets going, Chicken Little (Zach Braff) is telling everyone that the sky is falling and that they have to run for their lives. He said that a piece of the sky fell on his head, but is unable to find the piece and is labeled crazy and becomes the laughingstock of his hometown of Oakey Oaks.

Ugh, they even manage to VERY SUBTLEY sneak a Radiers of the Lost Ark reference into the scene where everyone is running for their lives. Is the movie over yet?

Chicken Little’s dad, Buck Cluck, convinces everyone that an acorn fell on his head and made him think that the sky was falling. One year later, everyone is still making fun of Chicken Little. He is friends with only the unpopular kids at the school: Runt of the Litter, Abby Mallard the ugly duckling (Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl herself, Joan Cusack), and Fish Out of Water.

Random King Kong reference? God, this movie is about as funny as Date Movie.

Chicken Little gets in trouble and greatly disappoints his dad, which in almost any other Disney movie would be a sentimental scene, but not this one. Honestly, I’m 20 minutes in and wishing it was over. Chicken Little decides that he’s going to try to be a baseball star like his dad in order to regain everyone’s respect, so we launch into a training montage of him getting better and his nemesis, Foxy Loxy, being consistently better than him at baseball. Chicken Little ends up winning the big game and Buck is finally proud of him again. Yay. When is the actual story going to start? Oh, right now it seems. Little sees a light in the sky and something falls and hits him on the head, which turns out to be another piece of the sky and the reason that he couldn’t find it before is because it changes it’s appearance.

Fish presses a button on the back side of the piece and gets pulled up into the hole in the sky and Chicken Little, Abby, and Runt chase after him eventually stopping at the baseball field where what is revealed to be a UFO lands. Oh, and there is an Alien reference. I guess that one is thrown in for the adults who are suffering through this movie. The trio board the ship when seeing that Fish is at the top of it and bump into Kirby, a baby alien, after being chased by two much larger and threatening aliens and Chicken Little ruining his reputation again. It turns out that the two aliens that chased them are Kirby’s parents and they accidentally left him behind. They launch a full-scale invasion looking for the kid, and at least Foxy Loxy gets vaporized.

Kirby is reunited with his parents (his father is Fred Willard) and everything is back to normal and a movie is made about Chicken Little (which is honestly the only good part of the movie) that has Adam West playing Chicken Little.

Also, Patrick Stewart is in like 2 scenes in the movie.

This movie feels like a Dreamworks movie, a really bad Dreamworks movie. There are cultural references all over the place, which is a really bad idea if you don’t want to date your movie horribly. Seriously, there is a dance-off scene where Chicken Little does the Napoleon Dynamite dance. 1. How many kids are going to even know what Napoleon Dynamite is? 2. How many people in the future are going to remember Napoleon Dynamite? I’m personally trying to forget that movie even exists. The writing resembles Dreamworks, and the animation looks like it was made for TV. The textures are awful and the same background character models keep popping up everywhere. This kind of cost-cutting is okay for TV, but not for a feature-length animated film. There are points in the film where it seems like there isn’t even glass in Chicken Little’s glasses, most likely so they wouldn’t have to worry about reflections unless they are needed in the story. The score is passable, and the songs are either covers of well known songs sung badly by the characters or the original song just put in the film.

The movie was directed by Mark Dindal (who also directed the Emperor’s New Groove), who was also one of the two people responsible for the “story”. It’s very obvious that he was trying to re-create his success with Emperor’s New Groove, but the problem is that there is absolutely no substance to Chicken Little. At all. The story is terrible and the writing is just as bad. It is even more unfunny than Home on the Range and has an even more pointless story.

The film was released during the negotiations between Disney and Pixar when the latter’s contract was up and ended up being a lynchpin in the negotiations. Disney wanted the film to be a success so they could have leverage in the deal by being able to say that they could make a financially successful CG film without Pixar, and Pixar wanted it to be a flop so they could get a better deal. Chicken Little somehow managed to be relatively financially successful in the box office and gave Disney exactly what they wanted. Disney ended up buying Pixar for 7.4 billion dollars and John Lasseter became the Chief Creative Officer of both Walt Disney Feature Animation and Pixar, which allows him to green light any project he wants, which is going to be a very good thing in the future.

Chicken Little is bad. Really, really bad. In fact, it is one of the worst animated films I have ever seen, and I actually sat through Shark Tale. Just about everything about it is terrible: the story, the characters, the writing, the animation. Disney has hit rock bottom with this film, but there is no where to go but up.


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