Chicken Little

This weekend’s movie was the new Disney animated film Chicken Little, starring the vocal talents of Zach Braff. Young Chicken Little is, well, a little chicken who panics the town with the claim that a piece of the sky fell and hit him on the head. Now the entire town views him with contempt and disdain, except for a few friends: Runt, a huge overweight piglet, Fish out of Water (who wears a diving helmet so he can interact with the air breathers) and Abby Mallard (aka Ugly Duckling) his female geek friend. Chicken Little is trying to regain the respect of his father and the town.

If I have a generic complaint about this film, it’s that it’s tiresomely familiar to the point of being stereotyped. Do we really need to have another film about the town nerd who tries out for the high school sports team to gain the approval of his father who is trying to raise a child by himself? Do we need to have the overweight comic relief, the homely girl with the heart of gold? It’s not a bad film, I just don’t think that it shows a great deal of imagination as far as plot line goes. It’s basically a cartoon version of Lucas, and somebody already went to the trouble of making that movie once.

The film also features a number of musical interludes which I thought were basically a distraction. When done cleverly (like in Shrek) music can be a fun, energizing way to advance the plot of the movie. In this case, they seemed entirely contrived.

On the other hand, the film looks great, has a bright, imaginative design with lots of cute vibrant characters and backgrounds. The animation is clever and well done. I thought that plot did pick up in the second half of the film, and the resolution (while predictable) was reasonably satisfying. I went in after hearing mostly mediocre reviews, and I came out feeling more positive than I thought I would. I’d give it about a 7.5 out of 10. It was fun if not amazing. Kids will probably like it more.