Screen Test
Phil Space

Chicken Little

As for Chicken Little, it's rubbish, and certainly not worthing braving the appalling AMC booking system.

Disney haven't had a hit for years, and most of their recent efforts have been panned by the critics. Not exactly true, of course - Disney have had several hits in the last 10 years, but all of them have come from Pixar, which makes it rather unfortunate that they have managed to fall out with them. Maybe the deal can be salvaged with the changes at the top of Disney, and some say that the recent deal between ABC and Apple (for TV shows to be made available on the iPod) is part of an attempt to persuade Steve Jobs (wearing his Pixar hat) to change his mind. Anyway, Disney are working on their own computer-generated animation, in the hope of becoming less reliant on Pixar, and Chicken Little is their first offering.

Sadly, it's a horrible mess. It's both too short and too long - too short to properly develop the characters and the storyline, and too long for the plot they have cobbled together. In fact, it's as if it was put together by a hyperactive child who was worried that we might get bored with a simple tale - so that is dismissed in the first half-hour, then it inexplicably veers off at a tangent before delivering an entertaining (but somewhat odd) finale. All very confusing.

It also lacks subtlety. To a large extent the story is about a father and son relationship, but someone must have worried that viewers might not figure it out, so one of the characters spouts psycho-babble about 'closure' that will surely go over the heads of children and annoy most adults. Pixar would have left it for viewers to figure out for themselves, meaning that the kids would have taken it at face value and adults (or at least some of them) would appreciate that there was something to think about.

So what's left? We get fat people gags, and we get a bubble gum gag that is almost a direct copy of a much more effective gag in Toy Story 2, and we get some slapstick.

Yes, I am being a bit unfair, because there are some funny gags, and parts of it are well-written, but this is Disney, so expectations are high, and you can't help but compare it to the Pixar gold standard. Unfortunately there really is no comparison, and the really scary things is that these are the guys who have the rights to make future Toy Story movies.  Please guys, agree a new deal with Pixar!

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