Chicken Little

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and warns everyone to run for their lives, allowing the whole town into a frenzied panic with much damage ensuing. Eventually, the Head of the Fire Department calms down enough to ask him what’s going on and Little 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 it. 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 Little the laughing stock of the town.

A year later, Little has become infamous in the town for being crazy. His only friends are outcasts and underdogs like himself: His literal “Ugly Duckling” friend — the dorky and supportive Abby Mallard (who has a not-so-secret crush on him), Runt of the Litter (who ironically is extremely large), and a literal Fish Out of Water (who wears a helmet full of tap water).

Trying to help, Abby encourages 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. 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, only to be touched by the ball. While it’s presumed he lost the game, the umpire brushes away the dust to reveal 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 at home, Little is hit on the head by the same “piece of the sky” that he had mentioned earlier at the beginning — only to find out that it is not a piece of the sky but a device designed to blend into the background (which would thereby explain why 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 piece, it becomes a hovercraft in which Fish rides on. It turns out to be part of the camouflage of an invisible UFO. Little manages to ring the school bell to warn everyone, but aliens who have emerged from the spaceship see everyone coming and manage to escape, leaving an orange alien child behind. No one believes the story of the alien invasion, and Little is ridiculed yet again…until the next day.

He and his friends discover the little alien (whose named turns out be Kirby) and a few minutes later, a whole fleet of spaceships descends on the town and start what turns out to be an invasion, which is actually a misunderstanding, as the two aliens are looking for their lost child and only attack out of concern. As the aliens rampage throughout Oakey Oaks vaporizing everything in their path, Little realizes that he must return the alien to his parents to save their planet. Despite this, he first has to confront his father and regain his trust.

As he begins to tell his father the truth inside an abandoned cinema, Abby bursts in and says they should address the problem, as in the invasion, but because it is a phrase that she used to Little about his issues with his dad, then he begins to explain them. Little talks about what his father was doing and that he had emotionally let Little down by not being there for him and not listening to him enough. After he and his father reconcile and begin to leave to return Kirby to his parents, Little runs back down the row of seats to Abby and tells her that he always found her extremely attractive and he kisses her, only for her to act silly.

Their first attempt to return the child to his mom and dad is aborted when they witness town mayor Turkey Lurkey get apparently vaporized, after offering the key to the city, the key to his car and finally Tic Tacs as surrender terms.

In the invasion, Buck, now regaining his confidence and trust in his son, protects him from the aliens until they get vaporized. It is then discovered that the aliens weren’t vaporizing people, but the ray guns had 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.

One year later, the townsfolk have made a film about the story, exaggerating it incredibly. In the film, Little is more masculine and Abby is far more beautiful in reality, and Fish can speak properly. After the film finishes, everyone begins to celebrate, Buck lifts Little onto his shoulders as he is applauded, and Abby (now his girlfriend), kisses him on the cheek

REVIEW:

In our infant and/or toddler years, we are all told the story of Chicken Little, as a way to deter us from becoming big fat liars. I don’t think it worked that well, look at all the lawyers, politicians, and cable tv execs in the world today! Disney took note that the story just wasn’t working in its old fashioned telling and gave us their version of Chicken Little.

What is this about?

No one believes Chicken Little (who has a history of overreacting) when he tries to warn of an alien invasion. But this time it’s the real thing — so it’s up to him and his misfit friends to save the world!

What did I like?

Creativity. When dealing with a story that is more of a passed down tale, it is important to come up with characters to keep the audience interested. These animators did just that in bringing to life other characters from similar tales like Foxy Loxy and the Ugly Duckling, as well as taking random saying and making them characters like Runt of the Litter and Fish out of Water. The characterization given to each of these side characters was interesting, as well. Who knew that Turkey Lurky was the mayor of Oakey Oaks?

Papa can you hear me. It seems like every family film these days has some sort of family struggle. I was almost going to say this is a negative thing for this picture, but then I realized how the relationship and characters grew. Sure, Chicken Little and his dad have some issues, but when the time comes, they quickly work those issues out and are ready to work together to save the world!

Scared straight. If I were watching this as a kid, I would have been enthralled by the bright and colorful characters, but when the aliens come down and start blowing stuff up, as if it were War of the Worlds, then I would’ve been scared out of my wits. Truthfully, the scenes where the aliens are vaporizing everyone and everything can be scarring for a child, until you see a little later on that the people are just vaporized to a dark limbo. It is Disney, after all, they can’t go around randomly killing people and destroying things

What didn’t I like?

Come together. Is there some unwritten rule in film that says the lead character has to have a love interest, even if they are supposed to be kids? I saw no reason for Chicken Little and Ugly Duckling to hook up, unless they were forced to. It made no sense to the how the story was progressing. Sure, the tease of a childhood crush is fine, but to have them actually get together in the middle of an alien invasion?!?

Another widower. Think of every Disney cartoon and movie for a second. How many of them had the “nuclear family”? Not many that I can think of. Most of our characters were raised in one-parent households, if any at all! Ace Cluck is another in the long line of a widowed fathers raising his kid after the mother has left, for whatever reason (kidnapping, divorce, death, etc.) I appreciate telling us that at least there was a mother, but know I want to know what happened to her.

Small time. You may notice that Chicken Little is very small. I think this is only mentioned once or twice. Normally, I’d be ok with that, but it seems that this is such a major part of his character bringing it up some more would have done wonders. Also, the short gags pretty much write themselves!

Final verdict on Chicken Little? This is a cute kids film about a tale we have all been told time and time again. The creators got creative with the characters and inserting the alien invasion plot was an interesting addition, to say the least. The furry alien rescue mission was a letdown after all the buildup, but I think that is more of me not thinking as a kid watching. All in all, this is a pretty solid flick and I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5 stars

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