Chicken Little (2005 film): Wikis

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Chicken Little

Promotional poster
Directed by Mark Dindal
Produced by Randy Fullmer
Written by Steve Bencich
Ron J. Friedman
Starring Zach Braff
Garry Marshall
Joan Cusack
Steve Zahn
Don Knotts
Patrick Stewart
Music by John Debney
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) November 4, 2005 (2005-11-04)
Running time 81 minutes
Language English
Budget $150 million
Gross revenue $314,432,837

Chicken Little is a 2005 American computer-animated family film loosely based on the fable The Sky Is Falling. The film was animated in-house at Walt Disney Feature Animation's main headquarters in Burbank, California, and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution on November 4, 2005 in Disney Digital 3D format along with the 2D version.

It was written by Mark Dindal and Mark Kennedy with the screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Ron Anderson, and was directed by Mark Dindal. It inspired two video games, and one indirect video game was Kingdom Hearts 2, where Chicken Little is a summonable character, one directly based on the film, the other, Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action, based on the inaccurate "movie-within-the-movie" depicting Little as a buff action hero.

This was Disney's first fully computer animated film, as Pixar's films were distributed but not produced by Disney, and Dinosaur was a combination of live-action and computer animation. It premiered on the U.S. version of the Disney Channel on February 8, 2008, as part of "Phineas and Ferb-ruary."

Contents

Plot

In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and cries for everyone to run for their lives. This sends the whole town into a frenzied panic. Eventually they calm down enough to ask him what's wrong, and Chicken 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's unable to find the piece. 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. Chicken Little becomes the laughing stock of the town.

A year later, Little has become infamous in the town for being crazy. His only friends are outcasts like himself: Abby Mallard, (who has a crush on Chicken Little); Runt of the Litter, who is extremely large; and Fish out of Water, who wears a helmet full of tap water.

Trying to help, Abby tells Little to talk to his dad, when Little wants his dad to be proud of him. Instead, Chicken Little 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. Chicken Little is reluctantly called to bat by the coach, even though he's certain that he'll lose the game for them. However, Little scores an inside-the-park home run, and is hailed as a hero.

But that night back at home, he is hit on the head by the same "piece of the sky" -- only to find out that it is not a piece of the sky but a device which blends into the background (which would thereby explain why Chicken 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 hexagon it flies into the sky. It turns out to be part of the camouflage of an invisible UFO. Little manages to ring the bell to warn everyone, but the aliens see the crowds 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 orange alien, and a few minutes later a whole fleet of alien ships descends on the town and start what appears to be an invasion.

The invasion is actually a misunderstanding, as two aliens are looking for their lost child and attack only out of concern. As the aliens rampage throughout Oakey Oaks, vaporizing everything in their path, Little realizes he must return the alien to his parents to save the planet. First, though, he's forced to confront his father and regain his trust.

In the invasion, Buck, now regaining his pride and trust in Little, defends him from the aliens until they get vaporized. It is then discovered that the aliens weren't vaporizing people, the ray guns teleported them aboard the UFO. Afterwards, the aliens return everything to normal, and Hollywood makes a heavily dramatized, inaccurate film about Chicken Little which ends up as a cross of Star Trek and Star Wars. Everyone is grateful for Chicken Little's efforts to save the town.

Cast

  • Zach Braff as Ace "Chicken Little" Cluck, a young rooster who suffers under a reputation for being crazy since he caused a panic saying the sky was falling. He makes up for his small size by being extremely creative, for example, using a roller blind to get into his high locker. Little is constantly trying to impress his Dad.
  • Joan Cusack as Abby Mallard (aka the Ugly Duckling), a female duck (implied swan) with buckteeth, and wearing a purple shirt and some hairbands. A slight speech impediment and a long, asymmetrical face earned her an unfortunate nickname from the less polite children. She is accustomed to being teased for her appearance, and takes a generally optimistic approach to life. She is Chicken Little's best friend and harbors a secret crush on him.
  • Dan Molina as Fish Out of Water, a goldfish who wears a scuba helmet filled with water and lives on the surface. He is unable to speak properly, instead making gurgling sounds and acting out what he feels. He isn't very shy around others and he will perform brave stunts without fear.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig with a huge heart, Runt is much larger than the other children, but is far smaller than the other massive members of his family. Runt is easily frightened and prone to panic.
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a vixen who is a baseball star and the "home town hero"; she is a tomboy and one of the "popular kids" at school. She bullies Little throughout the movie for causing the panic at the beginning of the film. Her mind is altered during the alien attack, turning her into a much nicer Southern belle, and she is later seen in a romantic relationship with Runt.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a goose, and Foxy Loxy's best friend. Usually helps Foxy Loxy do her bullying. She speaks in quacks, honks and squawks. She usually teases Chicken Little, but becomes his friend when he wins the baseball game.
  • Garry Marshall as Buck "Ace" Cluck, Chicken Little's widowed father, a former high school baseball star who has a hard time coming to terms with what it means being a good parent. Most of the time he tries instead to apologize for his son's behavior and encourage him to keep a low profile.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, the city mayor. Sensible but not very intelligent.
  • Sean Elmore, Matthew Michael Joston, and Evan Dunn as Kirby, a lost alien child whose parents, out of concern, trigger an alien invasion (which turned out to be a search party). In the end, he is returned to his family.
  • Fred Willard as Melvin, Kirby's father and Tina's husband. He is the character that triggers an alien invasion and at the end is reunited with his son, and has something called the "Big Voice".
  • Catherine O'Hara as Tina, Kirby's mother and Melvin's wife. She and Melvin land on Earth once a year on the way to her parents, and to collect acorns, but when Kirby went missing, Melvin triggered an invasion to retrieve their son.
  • Mark Dindal as Morkupine Porcupine, one of the cool kids.
  • Patrick Stewart as Mr. Woolensworth, a sheep language teacher to the class, who is amazingly boring.

Additional voices include Brad Abrell, Tom Amundsen, Steve Bencich, Greg Berg, Julianne Buescher, David Cowgill, Terri Douglas, Chris Edgerly, Amanda Fein, Caitlin Fein, Patrick Fraley, Eddie Frierson, Jackie Gonneau, Archie Hahn, Jason Harris, Brittney Lee Harvey, Brian Herskowitz, Amanda Kaplan, Nathan Kress, Anne Lockhart, Connor Matheus, Mona Marshall, Scott Menville, Rene Mujica, Jonathan Nichols, Paul Pape, Aaron Spann, and Pepper Sweeney.

Production

New software and hardware tools were introduced for the production of the film:[citation needed]

  • "Chicken Wire", a geometric wire frame model of the characters that the animators can stretch and squeeze as they please.
  • "Shelf Control", which makes it possible to see the whole model on the screen while having a direct access to any chosen area of the character.
  • New electronic tablet screens that allow the artists to draw digital sketches of the characters to rough out their movements, which is then transferred to the 3D characters.

At the time of the release of Chicken Little, the co-production deal between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios was set to expire with the release of Cars in 2006. The end result of the contentious negotiations between Disney and Pixar was viewed to depend heavily on how Chicken Little performed at the box office. If successful, the movie would have given Disney leverage in its negotiations for a new contract to distribute Pixar's films. A failure would have allowed Pixar to argue that Disney could not produce CG films without aid from Pixar. Discussions to renew the deal in 2005 were held off until both sides could assess Chicken Little's performance at the box office.

It is not known how the two sides regarded Chicken Little's modest success. While it underperformed compared to Pixar's product, it was more successful than Disney's recent output and was much more profitable for the company, since they did not need to share the revenue. Regardless, both sides decided that they were better off with each other than separate. However, instead of negotiating a new contract, on January 24, 2006, Disney announced their intent to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 Billion USD. (Note that Pixar had roughly $1 Billion in cash, making the effective cost closer to $6.4 Billion.) The purchase was completed on May 5, 2006.

Soundtrack

Reception

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Critical reception

The film received mixed or average reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 36% of critics gave positive reviews based on 152 reviews with an average score of 5.5/10. The film's consensus was that "In its first non-Pixar CGI venture, Disney expends more effort in the technical presentation than in crafting an original storyline" [1] which critics panned the movie for. Another review aggretator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating of 100 reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average score of 48% of critics.[2]

Richard Roeper of the then-Ebert & Roeper gave the film a "Thumbs Down" rating saying "I don't care whether the film is 2-D, 3-D, CGI, or hand-drawn, it all goes back to the story."[3] A.O. Scott of the New York Times stated the film is "a hectic, uninspired pastiche of catchphrases and clichés, with very little wit, inspiration or originality to bring its frantically moving images to genuine life."[4] However, Ty Burr of the Boston Globe gave the film a positive review saying the film was "shiny and peppy, with some solid laughs and dandy vocal performances"[5] Angel Cohn of TV Guide gave the film 3 stars alluding the film that would "delight younger children with its bright colors and constant chaos, while adults are likely to be charmed by the witty banter, subtle one-liners and a sweet father-son relationship."[6]

Box Office

In its opening weekend, Chicken Little debuted at number one, the first Disney animated film to do so since Tarzan (1999), taking $40 million and tying with The Lion King (1994) as the largest opener for a Disney animated film.[7] It also managed to claim the number one spot again in its second week of release, earning $31.7 million, beating Columbia Pictures' sci-fi/family flop, Zathura.[8] The film grossed $135,386,665 in the United States and Canada and grossed $179,046,172 in foreign countries grossing $314,432,837 worldwide.[9]

This reversed a slump that the company had been facing since 2000, during which time it released several flops, most notably Treasure Planet (2002) and Home on the Range (2004). However, these films received better critical reviews.[10][11]

When released in 3D, the entire length of the film, including the credits, was presented in 3D. The 3D version did quite well in the 79 theaters (84 screens) that showed the film.[citation needed]

Home media

Chicken Little was first released on DVD on March 21, 2006, only in a single-disc edition. It was Disney's first animated film to receive a DVD-only release, as every Hollywood studio had phased out the VHS format in 2006. The first Blu-ray Disc release of the film was on March 20, 2007, and contained new features that were not included in the 2006 DVD.

References

External links


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