20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘Chicken Little’

Chicken Little is significant for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was the first fully CGI film made from Walt Disney Animated Studios. In order to compete with Pixar and DreamWorks, Disney chose to make a computer animated film and Chicken Little is the result. It also is significant because it is arguably the worst film in the Disney Animated Canon. Of course, this is only an opinion, but it is a fairly common one among Disney fans. It is a shame that this is how Disney started off when making this inevitable transition.

Read: 20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘Home on the Range’

The biggest problem with Chicken Little is that it is the antithesis of what makes Disney films successful in almost every way. First of all, the script is poorly written and this version of the story is not compelling. The film begins like the original story, with the character of Chicken Little claiming that the sky is falling. However, that is where the similarities end. The writers put a sci-fi angle on the story which is off -putting and, frankly, never works.

The voice cast, though impressive, is mostly underused. Don Knotts appears in the thankless role of mayor Turkey Lurkey and Patrick Stewart makes a brief appearance as a teacher. The only actor that is really utilized is Garry Marshall as Buck Cluck. The three leads also turn out adequate performances.

Another issue are the poor attempts at humor. Unless used sparingly (which it isn’t here), potty humor oftentimes turns off adult viewers in a family film such as this one. This movie is full of it and sequences like the extended conversation about alternative words for urine come across as uninspired, uncreative, and simply lazy. This was a problem that was also present in Home on the Range and it seems they didn’t learn their lesson, despite that films failure.

The one thing that does work is the relationship between Chicken Little and his dad. However, that is one small highlight in a messy, meaningless movie.

On a different note, something to watch out for is both the product placement in the film and the many references to songs and other media. This was quite unusual for an animated Disney film from this time and is fascinating to see. Seeing the references to films by LucasFilm is particularly interesting now, as Disney hadn’t yet acquired the company in 2005.

Unless you are a Disney completist, this is the most skippable film in the animated canon.

Live-action remake: There is no live action remake planned for Chicken Little.

Chicken Little in the theme parks: Chicken Little is not currently featured in any of the theme parks.

Chicken Little is available to stream on Disney+.

1 thought on “20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘Chicken Little’

Leave a Reply