"Chicken Little" bombs big time

Nov. 8, 2005, midnight | By Devon Madison | 18 years, 3 months ago

Children's movie alters classic story to alienable extremes

An animated fat pig sings Barbara Streisand, "The War of the Worlds" is spoofed and aliens are brought into an age-old fairy tale. What more could moviegoers want? Oh, that's right, their money back.

"Chicken Little," directed by Mark Dindal, is a spin-off of the old fairy tale where Chicken Little (voiced by Zach Braff) thinks the sky is falling when an acorn falls on his head. He hurries to tell the king but runs into his friends along the way, who all believe his story. On their way to the palace, they run into a fox who tricks the animals into his den and eats them. The moral of the story is supposed to be that one shouldn't believe everything one hears; however, the movie actually proves otherwise.

In the movie, Chicken Little thinks the sky is falling and rings the alarm to alert the town. When all the townspeople come and find only an acorn, they all believe Chicken Little was mistaken. Chicken Little decides to fix his reputation by making a game-winning play in an important baseball game, but soon ruins it again when another piece of sky falls on him. This time his friends are around, and one is abducted by the aliens who have hidden in the piece of sky. Chicken Little now must convince the townspeople to believe that it's aliens who really are invading so that he can save his friend.

The film strays too far from the original tale and adds plot fodder that makes the whole movie seem too far-fetched. The movie somehow turns into a scene from "War of the Worlds," the classic film in which aliens attack the world.

"Chicken Little" also adds a side-plot of emotional tension between Chicken Little and his father, Buck Cluck (voice by Garry Marshall), taking away from the quality of the plot. Chicken Little is desperate for his father's approval, yet Dad spends the entire movie telling Little to lay low and disappear from the public eye. This entire side plot is too sad and adds too many conflicting emotions to the movie.

Another problem in the script is the use of corny references and one-liners. When Chicken Little's father sees an alien, he says, "Oh, snap!" This term, which was cool to say about three years ago, has now become one of those cheesy things parents say when they're trying to be cool. Lines similar to this are scattered throughout the movie, degrading the quality of the script.

Actor Joan Cusak, who has been in Hollywood hits such as "The School of Rock," plays Chicken Little's best friend, Abby Mallard. Cusak is one of few highlights in the movie. Her character adds tons of charisma and much-needed advice for Little, not to mention a little comic relief.

The animation was exceptionally clever. This is especially apparent when the Fish Out of Water (voice of Dan Molina) uses the piece of sky, which adapts to its surroundings like a chameleon, to put the image of Abby Mallard's head onto his body.

"Chicken Little" is a disappointing take on an old and loved tale. Not only does the movie tell a very different story from the original, it also adds a science-fiction plot that doesn't fit and a father who is nearly verbally abusive to add unnecessary drama. Although the movie has some highlights, like the animation, they are mostly buried underneath the rubble of a falling sky.

"Chicken Little" (78 minutes) is rated G and playing in theaters everywhere.

Devon Madison. Devon Madison has a famous brother and sister. What went wrong? No one will know. More »

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