After an acclaimed return to form in the late eighties and throughout the nineties Disney started to struggle again around the turn of the century, there were still a good few great movies produced, with Treasure Planet being a surprisingly decent effort, but many were distinctly average and perhaps worst of all lost that Disney feel as the characters became oddly bland or, in the case of The Emperor’s New Groove, even quite irritating.
Chicken Little is the studio at their lowest point however, and it’s a very strange work indeed. Initially everyone in town is annoyed with Chicken as he claimed a piece of the sky fell to Earth, and his doing so caused a whole bunch of accidents to take place as the town panicked. In the aftermath he has no evidence and so no one believes him either, and his father especially seems embarrassed by his son, which leads to Chicken wanting to take up baseball to impress him even though he’s tiny and struggles to hold up the bat.
Chicken isn’t picked to play in any of the games until the final one of the season, where as they have no choice to let him play he has to try and win the game. Which he does, and everyone suddenly loves him, and then aliens arrive. And yes, this does seem bizarre and then some and is a swerve out of the blue, yet even though Chicken’s potential love interest Abby (Joan Cusack) and his friends also see them the townsfolk once again think he’s lying, and it’s irritating stuff indeed.
The plot feels really disjointed as it starts off as an underdog comedy, then it leaps all over the place once the visitors from outer space arrive and it becomes an alien invasion affair. Chicken’s romance with Abby seems like an after thought, the moralising involving Chicken and his disbelieving Father is so heavily handed that it’ll make you wish the aliens would murder both members of the Little family, and everyone else in the entire town for that matter.
One of the recurring jokes is that the pig is fat and nervous, it’s not funny at the start and is actively annoying by the end, Little is a whiny turd and though there’s odd action scene which is entertaining and the occasional joke hits home, many do not come even close to doing so. Sixteen years on and the cgi is looking ugly and dated, and it criminally wastes a lot of its supporting cast (with Patrick Stewart bizarrely only given a few lines), and there’s very little here that will entertaining even the very young.