Sunday, November 06, 2005

 

Lean Chicken

Chicken Little -- Walt Disney's first computer-animated film after its break-up with Pixar (with whom it produced Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles) -- opened to better-than-expected boxoffice, scratching up $40 million. However, as one analyst pointed out, that's only $1.2 million more than the opening of Disney's Dinosaur, a go-nowhere film which played on 400 fewer screens back when the average ticket price across the country was $5.48 vs. the current $6.40. I took my children to see the film on opening day and was upset by the fact that I paid more for three medium popcorns and water than I did for the tickets themselves! Thankfully, the film made me laugh, more than I expected it too. Any film with Gary Marshall (even if it's only Gary Marshall's voice) is good for a few laughs. But this slightly-left-of-center retelling of the classic children's story comes nowhere close to the pedigree of the Disney-Pixar team-ups. It was fun to recognize Don Knotts' voice as the Turkey mayor of the town where Chicken Little lives. And some of the inside jokes were fun as well. Overall though, the quality of the animation lacked a certain depth and the story itself was equally as thin. The filmmakers' attempt to create an emotional center for the film is far too obvious. The characters are not allowed to develop emotions (as they were for example in The Incredibles) but rather have them foisted upon them in a stream of psycho-babble. I doubt that Chicken Little will have the legs to have much of a boxoffice run, or the wings to fly into a strong DVD release. But regardless of its intake, there simply isn't enough meat on Chicken Little for it to take its place alongside its legendary predecessors.

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