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Chicken Little

July 31, 2007

The House of Mouse’s latest slice of animation cheese is, pity them, delivered to us without the help of Pixar. Ah, big mistake there, guys. Uncle Walt might have found the 3D move a tough one to swallow, but this will have him centrifugally agog down there among the worms.

Chicken Little is a brief (hurrah) trip into bedtime story land – but not, unfortunately, with the same acid observation that made Shrek so enjoyable – and picks up the chicken licken, foxy loxy, etc. story some time after the whole acorn-falling-on-the-head humiliation that didn’t presage the sky falling down. Chicken Little (voiced by that Everyman chap from Scrubs) is trying to put his life together at school, despite the world giggling at him every time he does anything. He has a few friends on his side (Ugly Duckling, Runt of the Litter, Fish out of Water) but mostly he’s an isolated little guy trying to impress his dad and failing at every turn.

Dontcha see? He just needs that One. Big. Chance.

This comes along in the shape of a baseball game where he hits the winning run, or whatever it is you do to win a baseball game, and everything’s hunky dory.

Then, the sky really does fall down due to aliens and it all goes cockywobbly for a while until the wee fella saves the day. No need to mention spoilers there, huh? I mean, really.

The problems with all this arise immediately (actually, they’re telegraphed before the film even starts with a series of trailers all featuring new animated 3D adventures featuring gangs of cutesy critters on some form of ‘quest’ – how suddenly crammed this market appears now). There are some ill-advised quips on how to start the film and then a cavalcade on easy-to-get homages and in-jokes stuck in there ‘for the grown-ups’. The plot and the asides and the moral ooze a ‘by numbers’ approach that loses you pretty quickly, and for the lil’uns it seemed just way too loud and frenetic. Actually, that’s it, frenetic. It’s almost desperate in its attempt to keep you wired.

My little girl (6 in August) didn’t enjoy it at all and wanted to go half way through. We stuck it out to the end, but I kind of wish we’d listened to the wee lassie and bailed.

Check out Pixar’s Cars later in the year. That looks waaaayyyy better.

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