Zach Braff voices the plucky Chicken Little, who brings shame to his family by setting off panic in his small town by telling everyone that the sky is falling. Only, the sky really did fall, but no one, not even his dad, believes him.
Alas, its stale in the wake of two folk- and fairy-tale-skewering Shreks. In fact, most everything in Disneys first CGI-movie feels like a rehash of other, better-written and far more original kiddy comedies.
Gary Marshall voices the dad, Buck Cluck, whose character embodies a cocktail of unoriginality: Hes a widower (whats the deal with dead moms in Disney tales?) and town hero who cant express his feelings or deal with his sons emotions, let alone trust him to do anything right. Ah, the old animated movie standby, the if-I-could-only-please-pops line. Theres nothing like it to tug at the old heartstrings. Sniff. Sniff. Theres even that pinnacle moment when Buck Cluck has to suck it up and trust in Chicken Little. More sniffs.
Even a supporting cast of sidekick all-stars that reads like a character actor hall of fame Amy Sedaris, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Catherine OHara and Patrick Warburton doesnt do much for Chicken Little. None of the supporting characters really comes to life, and the funniest of them is the break dancing, miming, goofball Fish out of Water who doesnt talk.
So what if the animators got the surface of a car so shiny you can almost see your reflection, or that sidewalks look gravelly enough to skin a knee? It may be high-tech, but Chicken Little like most of Disneys recent hand-drawn flicks lacks a compelling story thatll stand up well after the CGI wow factor has faded.
You dont have to look that far back to find it, either. Remember 1989s Little Mermaid? The animation isnt all that spectacular by todays standards of capturing every feather on a ducks butt, yet the story captivates and captures kids imaginations, not just pacifies them with fart jokes, silly sight gags and flashy action sequences, as does Chicken Little.
Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].