Thursday, November 03, 2005

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…and nobody believes you--not even your Dad? That's the premise of Chicken Little, Disney's latest animated film, opening nationwide on Friday. One of the perks of my job is that I on occasion get advance screening tickets, so I took the younguns out to the gigaplex tonight, grateful that we still had 18 or so pounds of candy left, and bulky parkas to hide the loot. And I thought I'd share my views on the experience.

Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) stars in the titular role, a plucky, never-say-die piece of poultry whose life was ruined one autumn day by a piece of sky that fell and hit him on his little feathered head, cluck, cluck.

Oops. Sorry. That last part was from the story book that I read ad nauseum to my kids for several years.

And the film definitely has a children's book feel to it. Cars putter, rattle and wheese along on oblong wheels, each reflecting the character of the driver. The buildings are pleasantly haphazard, and the characters themselves have very animalistic qualities to them that were not present in earlier films. For example, Marlin, the father in "Finding Nemo," was Albert Brooks as a clown fish. No matter what the situation, the character was an Albert Brooks character, except with gills. Oscar the…well, oscar in "Shark Tale" was Will Smith's street hustler Fresh Prince. They were people as animals. These characters are definitely animals as people.

Too bad they don't have much to do.

Oh, there's lots of action, starting with a slam-bang opening sequence that starts by making fun of opening sequences, with a very frantic ping-ping-fwee feel to it that will translate quite easily into the inevitable children's picture book. Then it all just sorta ends, with everyone standing around the old oak tree in the center of town, and everyone certain that it was just the old acorn that got C. Little all upset, and his put-upon dad apologizing to all for his excitable son, who inexplicably starts speaking gibberish for the only time in the film.

The film then jumps from scene to scene, with very little interconnectedness.
Turns out his father, now a jiggly, wobbly, world weary gobbler named Chuck Buck (Garry Marshall), was once the town hero as a baseball player. But now, he's just a tired old widower (I guess--they show a picture of a happy family, and he talks to his wife in the picture…maybe she just ran away with Frank Perdue), who can't relate to his son. After another zip-zap-zowie series of events lands CL in trouble again, he announces to his Dad that he's going to solve all their problems by trying out for the baseball team.


Yeah. Baseball. Don't ask. And, of course, there's the inevitable group of outcast friends--Abby (Ugly) Duckling (Joan Cusak) his best friend/love interest, The morbidly obese song loving Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn), and the silent, Harpo-like Fish out of Water, who walks around with a diving helmet on. Just as inevitably, there's the group of cool kids, led by Foxy Loxy (Amy Sedaris), who pick on CL and his crew. And, of course, the alien invasion which is just a simple misunderstanding because parents don't listen to their kids.

Bottom Line: Your kids will love the action and the simple characters. If you're a geek like me, you can impress your friends with observations like "this is truly a second-generation effort in the world of 3-D film animation. Like Madagascar, the goal isn't to try and make this look as real as possible; rather, the emphasis is on translating the plasticity of three dimensional graphics to serve as a reflection of an existing 2-D milieu. In Madagascar, it was the madcap animation technique of Tex Avery. In Chicken Little, it is the world of children's books."

If you can score some cheap tickets and smuggle in some Fun-Sized chocolate, it's worth the trip. Otherwise, wait for the DVD.


*reposted for my friend Ro. I'm rapt, too.


Blogger Rowena said...

so you wrote this BP? I could just make out the "yeharr" at the bottom. Please post in big type as I am blind as a bat.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

i think i'll just skip this one, although that pig at the coke machine cracks my shit up every time i see it.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Kandice said...

Even though I love Zach Braff something fierce, I too will wait for video.

Thanks for the wonderful movie review, you should do it for a living.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Well, I rarely get to see movies unless they have loveable 3-D animated characters in them, so I figured, what the hell.

I also saw the new Zorro. Any interest in a review of that one?


4:29 PM  
Blogger Rowena said...

thank you for fulfilling my request BP.

I'm not sure this sounds like my kind of flick (Aussie slang for movie), but my 10-year-old cousin might dig it, and I will therefore alert her to its existence.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I didn't think it would be your cup of tea, rowena (American slang for 'your cup of tea').

Your cousin probably already knows about it and has the Happy Meal toy. She'll love it.

I was aware of 'flick.' Didn't know it was Aussie, tho.


7:11 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

was zorro any good? as a latina, and a latin americanist (let me just get all nerdy here) i have a problem with the movie in general, but what i really have a problem with is hollywood continuing to place non X people in ethnic a welsh chick as a spanish dona. morgan freeman as mandela.

ok, nerdy glasses off...getting off of soapbox. hunting for something thin minty

8:34 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Thank you for a eggcelent (ahem) review. I will wait for DVD.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Tropical Fish Guy said...

Good post. I really liked it. You may like my blog about tropical fish . Please take a look and leave a comment about it.

9:23 PM  

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