Chicken Little (2005 film)

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For the 1943 short film, see Chicken Little (1943 film).
Chicken Little
Chickenlittlemcgiposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Dindal
Produced by Randy Fullmer
Screenplay by Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Ron Anderson
Story by Mark Dindal
Mark Kennedy
Starring Zach Braff
Garry Marshall
Joan Cusack
Steve Zahn
Dan Molina
Amy Sedaris
Mark Walton
Music by John Debney
Edited by Dan Molina
Production
  company
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 3, 2005 (2005-10-03) (Los Angeles premiere)
  • November 4, 2005 (2005-11-04) (United States)
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $314,432,837[1]

Chicken Little is a 2005 American 3D computer-animated comic science fiction family comedy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and loosely based on the fable of the same name. The 46th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series was directed by Mark Dindal with screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Ron Anderson, and story by Mark Kennedy and Dindal.

The film was animated in-house at Walt Disney Feature Animation's main headquarters in Burbank, California, and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 4, 2005 in the Disney Digital 3-D format along with the standard 2-D version. It is Disney's first fully computer-animated film, as Pixar's films were distributed but not produced by Disney, and Dinosaur was a combination of live-action and computer animation. It is Disney's second adaption of the fable of the same name, the first being a 1943 cartoon made for World War II. The film also is the last Disney film made before John Lasseter took over for Disney.

Plot[edit]

In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and warns everyone to run for their lives. This sends the whole town into a frenzied panic. Eventually, the Head of the Fire Department calms down enough to ask him what's going on, and he explains that a piece of the sky shaped like a stop sign had fallen on his head when he was sitting under the big oak tree in the town square; however, he is unable to find the piece. His father, Buck Cluck, assumes that this "piece of sky" was just an acorn that had fallen off the tree and had hit him on the head, making Chicken Little the laughing stock of the town.

A year later, Chicken Little has become infamous in the town for being crazy. His only friends are outcasts like himself: Abby Mallard (who has a crush on him), Runt of the Litter (who is extremely large), and Fish Out of Water (who wears a helmet full of tap water).

Trying to help, Abby encourages Chicken Little to talk to his father, but he really only wants to make his dad proud of him. As a result, he joins his school's baseball team in an attempt to recover his reputation and his father's pride, but is made last until the ninth inning of the last game. Chicken Little is reluctantly called to bat by the coach (even though the coach is certain that he will lose the game for them). Little is able to hit the ball and make it past first, second, and third bases, but is met at home plate by the outfielders. He tries sliding onto home plate but is touched by the ball. While it's presumed he lost the game, the umpire brushes away the dust to reveal Chicken Little's foot barely touching home plate, thus declaring Little safe and the game won; Little is hailed as a hero for winning the pennant.

Later that night back at home, he is hit on the head by the same "piece of the sky" — only to find out that it is not a piece of the sky, but a device which blends into the background (which would thereby explain why Chicken Little was unable to find it last time). He calls his friends over to help figure out what it is.

When Fish pushes a button on the back of the hexagon, it flies into the sky, taking Fish with it. It turns out to be part of the camouflage of an invisible UFO. Chicken Little manages to ring the bell to warn everyone, but the aliens see the crowds coming and manage to escape, leaving an orange alien child behind. No one believes the story of the alien invasion, and Chicken Little is ridiculed yet again... until the next day. He and his friends discover the orange alien, and a few minutes later a whole fleet of alien ships descends on the town and start what appears to be an invasion. The invasion is actually a misunderstanding, as the two aliens are looking for their lost child and attack only out of concern. As the aliens rampage throughout Oakey Oaks, vaporizing everything in their path, Little realizes he must return the alien to his parents to save the planet. First, though, he must confront his father and regain his trust.

In the invasion, Buck, now regaining his pride and trust in his son, defends him from the aliens until they get vaporized. It is then discovered that the aliens weren't vaporizing people, the ray guns teleported them aboard the UFO. Afterwards, the aliens return everything to normal (except Foxy Loxy, whose brain got scrambled, turning her into a Southern belle, and as a result, Runt falls for her), and everyone is grateful for Chicken Little's efforts to save the town.

Cast[edit]

  • Zach Braff as Chicken Little, a young (and extremely small) rooster who suffers under a reputation for being crazy since he caused a panic saying the sky was falling.
  • Joan Cusack as Abigail "Abby" Mallard (also known as the Ugly Duckling), a female duck (implied swan) with buckteeth. She is accustomed to being teased for her appearance, and takes a generally optimistic approach to life. She is Chicken Little's best friend.
  • Dan Molina as Fish Out of Water, a goldfish who wears a scuba helmet filled with water and lives on the surface. He is unable to speak properly, instead making gurgling sounds and acting out what he feels. He isn't very shy around others and he will perform brave stunts without fear.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig with a huge heart who is much larger than the other children, but is far smaller than the other massive members of his family. Runt is easily frightened and prone to panic.
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a mean, young fox who is a baseball star and the "hometown hero." She's also a tomboy and one of the "popular kids" at school. In the original fable as well as the 1943 short film, Foxy Loxy is a male fox.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a goose, and Foxy Loxy's best friend.
  • Garry Marshall as Buck "Ace" Cluck, Chicken Little's widowed father, a former high school baseball star.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, a turkey who is the mayor of Oakey Oaks. He is sensible, but not very bright.
  • Sean Elmore, Matthew Michael Joston, and Evan Dunn as Kirby, an energetic and hyper alien child.
  • Fred Willard as Melvin, Kirby's father and Tina's husband.
  • Catherine O'Hara as Tina, Kirby's mother and Melvin's wife.
  • Mark Dindal as Morkubine Porcupine, one of the cool kids. He also provides the voice of Coach in the film.
  • Patrick Stewart as Mr. Woolensworth, the class' sheep language teacher.
  • Wallace Shawn as Principal Fetchit, the school's main principal.
  • Patrick Warburton as Alien Police
  • Adam West as Ace - Hollywood Chicken Little
  • Harry Shearer as Dog Announcer, the baseball announcer at Chicken Little's school.

Production[edit]

New software and hardware tools were introduced for the production of the film:[2]

  • "Chicken Wire", a geometric wire frame model of the characters that the animators can stretch and squeeze as they please.
  • "Shelf Control", which makes it possible to see the whole model on the screen while having a direct access to any chosen area of the character.
  • New electronic tablet screens that allow the artists to draw digital sketches of the characters to rough out their movements, which is then transferred to the 3D characters.

At the time of the release of Chicken Little, the co-production deal between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios was set to expire with the release of Cars in 2006. The end result of the contentious negotiations between Disney and Pixar was viewed to depend heavily on how Chicken Little performed at the box office. If successful, the film would have given Disney leverage in its negotiations for a new contract to distribute Pixar's films. A failure would have allowed Pixar to argue that Disney could not produce CGI films without aid from Pixar. Discussions to renew the deal in 2005 were held off until both sides could assess Chicken Little's performance at the box office.

It is not known how the two sides regarded Chicken Little's modest success. While it underperformed compared to Pixar's product, it was more successful than Disney's recent output and was much more profitable for the company, since they did not need to share the revenue. Regardless, both sides decided that they were better off with each other than separate. However, instead of negotiating a new contract, on January 24, 2006, Disney announced their intent to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion. The purchase was completed on May 5, 2006.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, Chicken Little debuted at #1, the first Disney animated film to do so since Dinosaur (2000), taking $40 million and tying with The Lion King (1994) as the largest opener for a Disney animated film.[3] It also managed to claim #1 again in its second week of release, earning $31.7 million, beating Sony's sci-fi family film, Zathura.[4] The film grossed $135,386,665 in North America, and $179,046,172 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $314,432,837.[1]

This reversed a slump that the company had been facing since 2000, during which time it released several flops, most notably Treasure Planet (2002) and Home on the Range (2004). However, these films received better critical reception.[5][6]

Critical reception[edit]

Chicken Little received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 36% of critics gave positive reviews based on 159 reviews with an average score of 5.5/10. The critical consensus states "In its first non-Pixar CGI venture, Disney expends more effort in the technical presentation than in crafting an original storyline,"[7] for which critics panned the film. Another review aggretator, Metacritic gave the film an average score of 48 based on 32 reviews.[8]

Richard Roeper of the then-Ebert & Roeper gave the film a "Thumbs Down" rating saying "I don't care whether the film is 2-D, 3-D, CGI, or hand-drawn, it all goes back to the story."[9] A.O. Scott of the New York Times stated the film is "a hectic, uninspired pastiche of catchphrases and clichés, with very little wit, inspiration or originality to bring its frantically moving images to genuine life."[10] However, Ty Burr of the Boston Globe gave the film a positive review saying the film was "shiny and peppy, with some solid laughs and dandy vocal performances".[11] Angel Cohn of TV Guide gave the film 3 stars alluding the film that would "delight younger children with its bright colors and constant chaos, while adults are likely to be charmed by the witty banter, subtle one-liners and a sweet father-son relationship."[12]

Home media[edit]

Chicken Little was first released on DVD on March 21, 2006, only in a single-disc edition.[13] The first Blu-ray release of Chicken Little was on March 20, 2007, and contained new features that were not included in the 2006 DVD. A 3D Blu-ray version was released on November 8, 2011.[14] There is also an extremely rare VHS tape of the movie on Amazon.com.[15]

Soundtrack[edit]

Chicken Little
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released November 1, 2005
Genre Rock, pop, R&B, film soundtrack
Length 39:05
Label Walt Disney
Producer John Debney
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Home on the Range
(2004)
Chicken Little
(2005)
Meet the Robinsons
(2007)

The soundtrack album contains original score composed and produced by John Debney, with a music by a wide range of artists, some musical veterans, such as Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross, as well as others. Uniquely for a Disney animated film, several of the songs are covers of classic popular songs, such as Elton John and Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," Carole King's "It's Too Late," and the Spice Girls' signature hit "Wannabe." The soundtrack was released on November 1, 2005.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Stir It Up"   Joss Stone and Patti LaBelle 3:42
2. "One Little Slip"   Barenaked Ladies 2:53
3. "Shake a Tail Feather"   The Cheetah Girls 3:05
4. "All I Know"   Five for Fighting 3:25
5. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"   Diana Ross 3:28
6. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"   R.E.M. 4:04
7. "We Are the Champions"   Zach Braff 0:38
8. "Wannabe"   Joan Cusack 0:50
9. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"   The Chicken Little Cast 1:53
10. "The Sky Is Falling" (score) John Debney 2:49
11. "The Big Game" (score) John Debney 4:04
12. "Dad Apologizes" (score) John Debney 3:14
13. "Chase to Cornfield" (score) John Debney 2:00
14. "Dodgeball" (score) John Debney 1:15
15. "Driving with Dad" (score) John Debney 1:45
Total length:
39:05

Video games[edit]

Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action cover art

Chicken Little spawned two video games. The first, Chicken Little, which is the same name as the film, is an action-adventure video game released on October 18, 2005 by Buena Vista Games. It was released for the Game Boy Advance, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Windows. Chicken Little for Game Boy Advance was developed by A2M, while BVG's recently acquired development studio, Avalanche Software, developed the game for the consoles.[16]

The second video game, Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action, is a multi-platform video game, for the Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and PlayStation 2 inspired by the "superhero movie within the movie" finale of the film. It features Ace, the superhero alter ego of Chicken Little, and the Hollywood versions of his misfit band of friends: Runt, Abby and Fish-Out-of-Water. The crew of the intergalactic Battle Barn faces off against Foxy Loxy and her evil Amazonian sidekick, Goosey Loosey, who have an evil plan to take over Earth. Battle evil alien robots through multiple levels across the solar system and combat your foes in one of three distinct game play modes: Ace on foot as a soldier, Runt as the driver of an armored tank, or Abby as the pilot of a spaceship. The original Chicken Little and his friends Abby, Runt, and Fish from the film are featured in cut scenes throughout the game.

Chicken Little also appears as a summon gem in the video game, Kingdom Hearts II.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Chicken Little (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ "The Sky's the Limit". Computer Graphics World. November 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ Gray, Brandon (November 7, 2005). "Welcome to the Cluck: Chicken Little, Jarhead Top Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ Gray, Brandon (November 14, 2005). "Zathura, Derailed, 50 Cent Below Chicken Little in Pecking Order". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Home on the Range Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Treasure Planet Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Chicken Little Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved July 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Chicken Little (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Chicken Little - Ebert & Roeper". BV Entertainment.com. Retrieved October 22, 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ Scott, A. O.. "Chicken Little". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  11. ^ Burr, Ty (April 11, 2005). "Disney's digital animation can't bump Pixar in the pecking order". boston.com (Bosten Globe). Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Chicken Little: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  13. ^ Walt Disney Home Entertainment’ (January 20, 2006). "Disney’s #1 Animated Movie of 2005 Is Coming To DVD!". DVDizzy.com. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  14. ^ Smith, Matthew (August 8, 2011). "Bolt, G-FORCE, Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons 3D Blu-rays". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved October 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ICZZHI/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=
  16. ^ Buena Vista Games (October 18, 2005). "One Little Chicken, One Big Video Game Adventure!; Disney's Chicken Little Video Games Inspired by Walt Disney Feature Animation's First Fully Computer Animated Motion Picture Hatches on Store Shelves". Business Wire. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Square Enix and Disney's Buena Vista Games Unveil All-Star Voice Cast for Kingdom Hearts II". Square Enix viaPR Newswire. March 28, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 

External links[edit]