• Daniel Rae

Chicken Little Review

"Chicken Little", Walt Disney Pictures, 2005"

I do not understand the critical and commercial backlash to this film - I think it holds a lot of artistic merit, albeit not in the traditional Disney fashion. It's an interesting take on the disaster movie genre that plays around with narrative structure and style. Whilst I can appreciate the claim as to how badly it has aged, I think Dindal and his team were aware of the landmark of progression in animation technology it represents, and so, with it, explores some equally progressive ideas and revisits others in a suitably modern way.

I found the way in which this film incorporates the fundamentals of old and new models of storytelling instantaneously intriguing. The "boy-that-called-wolf" narrative structure was a perfect platform to present the main theme of acceptance, actually incorporating it in the final act of the film not only self-consciously, but effectively, tying up in a satisfying and witty way the importance of family. Although the backdrop of Oakey Oaks the adventure takes place in is feels empty outside the boldness of the colour palette and textures at the forefront of the mise en scene, this world fills lived in, with the caricatures of particular ideologies populating it in an equally witty fashion. Whilst the lack of subtly fails suspension of disbelief, it adds a whole lot of familiar warmth whilst also poignantly highlighting a humanist lens to Chicken Little's hardships. This is enhanced by a motif that is returned to often with "today is a new day", a humorously self-aware notion that reflects on the vapid changes of pace the story serves - something which I believed is overlooked as a result of the imagery the film throws out returning back to the trademarks of Disney's back-catalogue. The soundtrack that accompanies the various tonal shifts does a great job at enhancing the genres that the screenplay playfully utilizes, whilst retaining the early-2000s feel, especially with its theme. The relationship between chicken Little and his dad acts as the backbone to the story. Whilst the lack of a mother-figure takes away from the nuance that I think it deserves, the overlooked aspects and intricacies of masculinity go appropriately deep with the grounded appreciation the writing has towards how individual identity is constructed.

Overall, I think this film plays with genre effectively well despite its brevity. The propelling rhythm this film has towards action and disruptions of the equlibrims act as the cornerstone that held my attention as a kid. Whilst critics have interpreted much of the "quirks" this film has towards its fleeting sense of relevance it had in being the first of its kind, I disagree.

4/5 Stars

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