Reviewed by

Bud Carlson

I never really understood quite what was meant by the phrase “There’s not much there, there.”  But after seeing Chicken Little, I think I am beginning to understand.


We all remember the story of Chicken Little from when we were kids. You know, the little critter who called out “the sky is falling” and caused a false panic in his town. Well, this movie begins where that story leaves off. We meet Chicken Little (voice of Zach Braff) one year after he caused the town panic. He’s a scrawny little guy who is still being ridiculed by the townspeople, and who yearns for the trust of his protective but doubting father, Buck Cluck (voice of Garry Marshall). In short, CL is the poster-boy of rejection. Luckily, at school, he has the obligatory group of fellow outcasts to hang with. There’s Runt of the Litter (a huge piglet voiced by Steve Zahn), the ugly duckling Abby Mallard (voice of Joan Cusack), and the bubble-miming Fish Out of Water, who walks around with a helmet of water over his head.


The movie spends an extraordinarily long time introducing these characters (who are admittedly cute), and then dwells further on CL’s failures and successes on the school baseball team. Oh, and then there’s Abby Mallard’s tireless (at least for her, but certainly not for us) campaigning to encourage CL to reconnect with his father.  


OK, at this point the movie is half over, and still nothing has happened. Only now do we get to know what the movie is going to be about. It turns out CL wasn’t imagining things when he felt the sky fall on his head. Aliens are in fact circling above, and what

hit him was a stray tile from their spaceship. So CL and his gang have to sound the alarm again to save the world from alien invasion. 


The problem is that the movie is zany, not funny. Lots of critters running around falling all over each other, but only for effect. It is slow at the beginning and compressed at the end, rather than having a balanced pace throughout. The characters are appealing and well-crafted, but their lines are cliché and they don’t really do anything compelling. The story is predictable and cliché, not smart and creative. The animation is excellent, but the story is suspect.  In short, there’s not a lot there there.


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