Movie #47 in the Disney Animated Marathon represents Michael Eisner’s vision for the future of Disney animation, and Houston, I think we have a problem!
Screenplay By: Ron Anderson, Steve Bencich & Ron J. Friedman
Directed By: Mark Dindal
When I reviewed Home On The Range a few months ago I went into a rather long and strong worded rant against Michael Eisner. Due to that, as much as I want to lambaste the man again, Chicken Little will be free of any long rants against He Who Tried to Kill Disney Animation. What does this have to do with Chicken Little you ask? That’s simple, Chicken Little is the first example of the one hundred percent computer animated presentation that he wanted Disney Animation Studios to adopt as they moved forward in their endeavors. It’s also the film that showed Eisner’s vision was less than adequate and that the direction he wanted the company to take was not going to work out.
The way the above paragraph ties into Chicken Little can be seen in its visual acuity and its story deficiencies. Chicken Little looks good, there’s no questioning that. It’s not a jaw dropping film by any stretch of the imagination, but it does look very good. The character animation is crisp and clear, Chicken Little looks very polished. However, even in the realm where Chicken Little should shine, there are strikes that could be levied against it. My very astute and beautiful girlfriend (me, kiss ass? What ever could you be talking about?) voiced that in her opinion the animation in Chicken Little was lacking in the details department. Looking at the film from a characters only perspective it’s easy to dismiss her claim, but when I started looking at the locales and background animation found in Chicken Little her words rang true. The non-character animation in Chicken Little has moments where it looks very good, but most of the time it’s simply a background, lacking the detail that can and should be found in great computer animation.
However, what is most troubling about Chicken Little is its story and its humor. I can identify with the great Disney animated features, I want my kids, well future kids, to see them, I can see why they are as popular and renowned as they are. Chicken Little comes across as a lesser film, it contains a story that fails to grab me as a viewer and characters who I don’t particularly care about. I didn’t find myself laughing that much either during Chicken Little, and I really wanted to. I should have laughed heartily throughout Chicken Little, instead I laughed a few times and never in a very convincing fashion. I know it’s something I say a lot, but I wasn’t interested in the story, the characters or the humor in Chicken Little and that created a perfect tempest for me to not care about what I was watching.
Luckily only one more film, Meet The Robinsons, in Michael Eisner’s new vision of the Disney Animated Studios is to come. Chicken Little is a frustrating entry from the Mouse because one can sense that if this movie had been made during any other period in their history it could have been turned into a good film. As it stands Chicken Little was made during a time when Disney only cared about their shiny new toy of computer animation, not about story and not about trying to get the most out of the technology of computer animation. Chicken Little is disappointing, because it does have its moments and it could have been a much better and funnier film if only the least bit of effort was put into making it so.