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March 14, 2006

Chicken Little

When a computer generated animated movie used to come out it was a big deal. Does anyone else remember examining the dust blowing around in Toy Story 2, or Sully's fur in Monsters Inc? Now, only a few years later, they seem to be ten-a-penny. I can't imagine a big Hollywood release getting away with being just old style flat images any more.

Chicken Little is the latest effort from Disney, and it does look good. They haven't gone overboard on the CGI tricks however, and have produced a more rounded, less textured world, which will appeal to the younger target audience. It's pretty obvious that many Pixar films unashamedly target adults, especially computer geeks, as well as the kids This one only has a few in-jokes for the grown-ups, like a scene from an Indiana Jones film, and some obvious War of the Worlds imagery.

The story starts out as fairly standard fare. Young Chicken Little lives with his dad in a single parent family - mother is missing, presumed dead from the way dad still has her photo on the wall. What's going on these days with families - Nemo had no mother, and Lilo had no parents at all!

He causes a panic in the streets when he tells everyone the sky is falling, and his dad makes him feel bad by not believing him. The rest of the film is an attempt by Chicken Little to prove to his dad that he was right, and to get him to realise he should be a better father. This is really handled quite badly in my opinion, over sentimental, with kids acting far older than their age. One of Chicken's friends, Abby Mallard, is even some kind of psychology expert.

None of these complaints will really bother the children watching however. Chicken's friends are a lovable bunch of misfits. There is some mild peril to keep it exciting, and it all works out for the best in the end.

There are a lot of songs in this movie, and it's mostly all feel-good stuff. Even depressing sounding titles like "The End of The World As We Know It" by R.E.M have a bouncy melody. Some are by original artists, and some are voiced by the characters, but interestingly there are no brand new titles, it's all old songs, or cover versions. I kept expecting Chicken to speak with a Woody Allen voice, and his dad really ought to have been Dan Goodman. If you like playing 'spot the voice' in animated films then you'll have a bit of a struggle as none of these are instantly recognisable, except perhaps a certain starship captain.

Overall, a fun kids film, though a bit annoyingly sentimental for adults.

Posted by se71 at March 14, 2006 11:17 AM


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