By Madelyn Ritrosky-Winslow
Chicken Little, Disney's latest animation effort, turned out to be rather entertaining. My six-year-old attended with me, and while his enjoyment of the film was no surprise, I found myself caught up in the story, too.
Despite its G rating and the obvious appeal to children with the title character, it's a story that certainly has appeal for adults - particularly the second half of the film. It falls under that category of moviemaking that has proved to be quite lucrative over the last several years. This is a family movie, with targets across the board.
If I was to compare Chicken Little to other recent animated family fare, such as The Incredibles, Robots, or Shark Tale, Chicken Little holds up well. For me, it was when the film veered off into the land of H.G. Wells that it became more interesting.
This is War of the Worlds for the real young set, for the kiddies. There are also some other science fiction-fantasy movie references thrown in for good measure for older members of the audience to catch and enjoy.
You can spot Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Matrix universe, The Wizard of Oz, and the War of the Worlds as it was re-invented via Independence Day. You might also notice that one of the supporting characters, Chicken Little's fish friend, is the Harpo Marx of the aquatic world.
So, when Chicken Little caused the stir about a piece of the sky falling, in this film, he is not only right, but that piece of "sky" leads to an unexpected adventure. I guess that's partly why I found the latter half of the film amusing - because I did not expect to be taken on a sci-fi ride.
I do want to add, however, that I was unsurprised to find that of thefive central characters (Chicken Little, his dad, and his three intrepidfriends), only one was female. How about an animated film like this where the main character is a girl?
The Incredibles has the family as the central "character" (though one can argue that it's more the dad than anyone else), but Robots, SharkTale, and Finding Nemo all sport male main characters. What else is new?
Chicken Little opened in theaters Friday, November 4, 2005.