When I see a Disney movie like Chicken Little two things go through my mind. Firstly I’m hoping that the kid behind me doesn’t spit up on my shirt and secondly I always find myself comparing these computer-generated films to Finding Nemo. It’s not really fair because the story of the little fish who loses his mother is the Gone With the Wind of the genre and everything pales by comparison. Chicken Little, the story of the Petite Poulet who is just trying to restore his reputation after the infamous acorn-on-the-head-sky-is-falling debacle that sent his whole town into a panic, doesn’t suffer too much from the comparison with Nemo but it’s like weighing Gone With the Wind against Cold Mountain—they’re both good, but one is a classic movie while the other is just a movie.
At best, this is a sweet and funny movie which features one of the most expressive faces I’ve seen on film in a long time—animated or not. Chicken Little’s emotive eyes and furrowed feathered brow are very winning, as is the voice work by Scrubs’ star Zach Braff.
I think, however, that some of the action scenes—I don’t want to give anything away here, but there are aliens—might be a bit intense for very young viewers and I would have liked better music. I found the original tunes—with the exception of the title track by the Barenaked Ladies—quite dull, none of them had the oomph of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid and the inclusion of tired old tunes like REM’s The End of the World As We Know It and Wannabe by the Spice Girls felt unoriginal and unimaginative.