[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Chicken Little

Disney's first digital animation feature

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

February 1, 2006 -- This is a mediocre Disney animated feature. It us notable only as the first Disney fully digital animated feature film. Disney scrapped its legendary traditional animated studio operation and went whole-hog into digital animation after the tremendous success of its partner digital animation studio, Pixar (which it later bought) and the digital animation successes of rival Hollywood studio Dreamworks (which later sold its digital animation subsidiary). Those studios produced blockbuster digital animated features like “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “Shrek” which did far more business than any traditional animated feature in recent years.

The “Chicken Little” movie was a success at the box office, but it is obvious that the story is not compelling and the characters are not that interesting. The film thus confirmed Disney's suspicion that conventional animation was dead and that, for now anyway, audiences will flock to any digitally animated film, even inferior ones like “Shark Tale,” “Madagascar” or “Chicken Little.”

The story has Chicken Little (voice by Zach Braff of “Garden State”) being chastised for saying the sky is falling when he has no proof of it. The piece of the sky that hit him has mysteriously disappeared. His father (voice by Garry Marshall) is harassed by phone calls and hate e-mail. He loses confidence in his son. Eventually, Chicken Little is vindicated when he saves the city from an alien plot related to the original sky falling incident. Main characters include the psychoanalytical Abby Mallard (voice by Joan Cusack) and panic attack-prone Runt of the Litter (voice by Steve Zahn). Other voice talents of note: Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, Wallace Shawn, Fred Willard and Adam West (the original Batman).

The artwork is solid (I saw the 2-D version of the film. There is also a 3-D version being circulated), but the story is lackluster. There are a few mild laughs for adults. Kids may be more entertained with the helter-skelter action and fast-paced pratfalls which litter the screen. The story seems more like an elaborate Saturday morning cartoon, or a straight-to-video movie. The characters have a bit of depth and they are distinct, but none of them is strong enough to make the story compelling. The story itself isn't strong enough to make up for the weakness of the characters. The result is a mediocre popcorn film. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2006 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)