'The sky is falling, the sky is falling!' Who can forget the fable about the little chicken who mistakes an acorn for a piece of the sky? Something about the classic children's story is both haunting and funny. Now from Walt Disney Pictures comes 'Chicken Little,' a new animated feature that takes the classic tale and gives it a modern spin.
'Chicken Little' is Disney's first fully computer animated feature. It runs at 77 minutes and is directed by Mark Dindal, the filmmaker who brought us of the 2000 comedy, 'The Emperor's New Groove.' People are buzzing about 'Little' because it is being shown in 3-D animation in select theaters across the country. See it in 3-D if you get the chance.
Zach Braff is the voice of Chicken Little, and he brings heart and humor to the role. Our feathered protagonist is a teenager, struggling to get through all the stresses of high school. Ever since the 'acorn incident' when he scared the town by telling them that the sky is falling, they all think he is crazy. This makes life pretty horrible for the kid who is already the smallest of the liter. You cannot help but feel sorry for the white-feathered little guy, and you want him to succeed. At school he is bullied by Foxy Loxy (Amy Sedaris) and the popular kids. At home his father, Buck Cluck, (Garry Marshall) is ashamed of him for being an outcast.
Lucky for Chicken he is in a Disney movie, which means he has a group of buddies that are on his side. His friends are the other 'unpopular' kids - Abby Mallard, a.k.a. The Ugly Duckling, Runt of the Litter, and Fish out of Water. This is where the film falls flat. The supporting characters are not very charming. Abby (voiced by Joan Allen) is the gal pal who gets advice about life from tabloid magazines. I think that the animators went a little too far with her disfigured appearance it is so odd looking that it distracts from her personality. The same goes for Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn) another supporting character who needs a little more attention. He is ridiculously fat, and I think that some viewers will find it offensive and distracting. I understand that the creators at Disney are getting away from 'picture perfect' characters, and that's a good thing. However, I think they need a little more practice and cultural sensitivity.
The overall pace of 'Chicken Little' is fast, flashy, and somewhat disconnected. At 77 minutes, it does not require much of an attention span. It feels like a Saturday morning cartoon on the Disney channel rather than an intricate, well developed, feature.
Published on Nov 12, 2005