I couldn’t sleep last night and so I put on Chicken Little. I’d love to say that it gave me less nightmares but holy freaking “are you kidding me Disney?”
There is literally one thing I liked in this movie- Chicken Little is kind of a cute design.
I hate doing negative reviews. I’m not trying to dog on films. I have done my best to be positive but I didn’t like this movie at all. It makes me want to go back and be nicer to The Aristocats…
Chicken Little is Disney’s first 3D completely computer animated film. They were trying to compete with Pixar and Dreamworks (especially Dreamworks with this one).
And boy did it fail. It is the lowest rated movie on rotten tomatoes in the entire Disney Canon.
I don’t want this review to be super mean spirited but that would be appropriate given the tone of this movie.
Basically the story is Chicken Little see’s the sky is falling and he warns the town. They panic (why would a town panic if a little kid said something like that. Is he like the Dali Lama of the town? Why not just ignore the brat?).
Everyone hates him for getting them worked up including his father. And this father is an awful character. He hates his son. That’s his complete purpose in the story- to be embarrassed and ashamed of his son and to communicate the shame quite clearly repeatedly.
He is the villain of the movie but it doesn’t seem to get that. I guess it thinks the aliens are the villain or maybe the town? I have no idea. But the father is so terrible to his son. He literally hangs his head in shame and tries to deny knowledge of said son in front of the the whole town! Why doesn’t he ask one question of his son? Maybe try to see why he persists with stories that are causing him such harm? Surely there is a reason.
So Chicken (I guess that’s his first name) goes to school and hopes to please his father. There we get introduced to his troop of loser friends.
They all have names that are supposed to be funny if you are 5 like the fish out of water is named Fish Out of Water, or the duckling is named Ugly Duckling. Or this is really funny the giant pig is named Runt of the Litter… Ha, ha, ha, ha…
There’s also scenes where we see supposed ‘sight gags’. This is a joke in the background which is meant to be subtly funny and they can be. The Simpsons uses them all the time (a theater sign or name of a store could be funny in the background) . In chicken Little they have a guy using a goat to clip his lawn. Ha, ha, ha, ha. That’s not funny.
Or we get a fish driving around in a fish car.
What will he do to get out of the fish car? Roger Ebert once said ‘a car has never made a movie funny’ and that is so true. Props of any kind are not inherently funny. It’s what the comic or movie does with said prop that makes (or doesn’t make) the joke. When it doesn’t work it is just confusing. Why are they doing that?
So we get a long painful dodge ball scene and then Chicken decides to join the baseball team (and we haven’t had any reference to the sky falling for some time) because his father was the big hero. He trains and the big game comes with every tired big game cliche ever included in a baseball movie. It makes Casey at Bat from Make Mine Music look subtle… And yet everything had been so awful for the poor cluck I wanted him to have his moment. But even that is ruined and made more an achievement of luck than any kind of real accomplishment from Chicken Little.
The other thing I wonder about is why aren’t there any other chickens? I mean I assume they are all vegetarians in this movie so why aren’t there lots of chickens and they are roughly around the same size. Surely there would be other chicken close to CL’s size but wouldn’t that be a problem given his name is Chicken?
But I’m way overthinking this movie, way overthinking…
So CL is the hero after the game, even to his dear old Dad. But then he see’s the sky falling again. Turns out they are aliens who can replicate the earth with the tiles of their spaceship. Should CL risk telling the town again after his new found fame? Again, why does anyone care about this one little kid in their town? I mean for a character who is repeatedly ignored at school, the adults sure care what he thinks and says.
But the people panic and come but the aliens are invisible again with the tiles so Dad is shamed again and everyone hates CL but his 3 friends. I mean the people in this town are really mean. But the aliens have left a stowaway baby alien. The alien design is pretty unique.. I will give it that.
So then we get our 3rd part of the movie where everyone realizes CL was telling the truth but the aliens are attacking to get their baby back. People get zapped, Dad and CL reconcile way too easily and it turns out the aliens aren’t really bad guys but just misunderstood cool dudes (groan…). Plus, the music during this scene is REM’s ‘It’s the End of the World as We Know It’. Is that supposed to be funny? Don’t get me wrong. I love the song but I HATE IT when movies tell you how to feel and nothing does that more than that kind of music cue.
So now CL is the hero and the story is over.
Want a point by point 17 minute rehashing of why this movie is an ‘animated atrocity’ check out this video from Animation Atrocities youtube series. . Major language warning but he is right!
I might be willing to give this movie a pass as junk but it is so mean-spirited. It will do nothing for your kids imagination or creativity. The story is awful and it will make them fear being alone not standing up for yourself. Basically CL only gets love once he is proven right. That’s a great lesson for kids. The Dad says he loves him regardless- hogwash. Say that when you were hiding your face in shame as your son tried to defend himself. It teaches the opposite of acceptance. That people will be judgmental unless you are 100% perfect.
But all of that wouldn’t matter much if it was clever. Instead it is so lazy and didn’t even make me laugh. Not one time and believe me it tries A LOT!
Roger Ebert once said about a film “this movie was not preferable to 1 hour and 45 minutes of looking at a blank wall”
There you go. That’s Chicken Little. I would rather stare at a blank wall for 81 minutes. In fact, I may go and do that for a bit.
Overall Grade- F I’m calling it. Worse than Dinosaur. I agree with Rotten Tomatoes. Worst movie in Canon.
Oh and I almost forgot- there is an entire verse of a Spice Girls song sung by a character which I guess is supposed to be funny? Just cringe inducing to me.
Oh and a strange reference to Indiana Jones at the beginning. Why have one image of a human in the movie? And Indiana Jones? It doesn’t make sense.