Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Film Strip Friday! Chicken Little


It’s Film Strip Friday!

Chicken Little

Release Date November 4th, 2005

  

SYNOPSIS:

When the sky really is falling and sanity has flown the coop, who will rise to save the day? Together with his hysterical band of misfit friends, Chicken Little must hatch a plan to save the planet from alien invasion and prove that the world's biggest hero is a little chicken.    

FUN FACTS:

          Chicken Little is a 2005 American computer-animated sicience fiction family comedy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and loosely based on the fable The Sky Is Falling. The 46th animated film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, the film was directed by Mark Dindal with screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Ron Anderson, and story by Mark Kennedy and Dindal.

The film was animated in-house at Walt Disney Feature Animation's main headquarters in Burbank, California, and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 4, 2005 in Digital 3-D format along with the standard 2-D version. It is Disney's first fully computer-animated film, as Pixar's films were distributed but not produced by Disney, and Dinosaur was a combination of live-action and computer animation. It premiered on the United States version of the Disney Channel on February 8, 2008, as part of "Phineas and Ferb-ruary".

Plot


In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and cries for everyone to run for their lives. This sends the whole town into a frenzied panic. Eventually they calm down enough to ask him what's wrong, and he explains that a piece of the sky shaped like a stop sign had fallen on his head when he was sitting under the big oak tree in the town square. However, he is unable to find the piece. His father, Buck Cluck, assumes that this "piece of sky" was just an acorn that had fallen off the tree and had hit him on the head. Chicken Little becomes the laughing stock of the town.

A year later, Chicken Little has become infamous in the town for being crazy. His only friends are outcasts like himself: Abby Mallard, who has a crush on him; Runt of the Litter, who is extremely large; and Fish Out of Water, who wears a helmet full of tap water.

Trying to help, Abby tells Chicken Little to talk to his father, but he really just wants his dad to be proud of him. Instead, he joins his school's baseball team in an attempt to recover his reputation and his father's pride, but is made last until the ninth inning of the last game. Chicken Little is reluctantly called to bat by the coach, even though he is certain that he will lose the game for them. Little is able to hit the ball and make it past first, second, and third bases but is met at home plate by the outfielders. He tries sliding onto home plate but is touched by the ball. It is presumed that he lost the game, but the umpire brushes away the dust to reveal that Chicken Little's foot was just barely touching home plate, thus declaring Little safe and the game won. Little is hailed as a hero for winning the pennant.

But that night back at home, he is hit on the head by the same "piece of the sky" — only to find out that it is not a piece of the sky but a device which blends into the background (which would thereby explain why Chicken Little was unable to find it last time). He calls his friends over to help figure out what it is.

When Fish pushes a button on the back of the hexagon it flies into the sky. It turns out to be part of the camouflage of an invisible UFO. Chicken Little manages to ring the bell to warn everyone, but the aliens see the crowds coming and manage to escape, leaving an orange alien child behind. No one believes the story of the alien invasion, and Chicken Little is ridiculed yet again until the next day. He and his friends discover the orange alien, and a few minutes later a whole fleet of alien ships descends on the town and start what appears to be an invasion.

The invasion is actually a misunderstanding, as two aliens are looking for their lost child and attack only out of concern. As the aliens rampage throughout Oakey Oaks, vaporizing everything in their path, Little realizes he must return the alien to his parents to save the planet. First, though, he must confront his father and regain his trust.

In the invasion, Buck, now regaining his pride and trust in his son, defends him from the aliens until they get vaporized. It is then discovered that the aliens weren't vaporizing people, the ray guns teleported them aboard the UFO. Afterwards, the aliens return everything (except Foxy Loxy, whose brain gets scrambled and she becomes a Southern belle and as a result, Runt falls for her) to normal, and everyone is grateful for Chicken Little's efforts to save the town.

Voice cast


  • Zach Braff as Chicken Little Cluck, a young (an extremely small) rooster who suffers under a reputation for being crazy since he caused a panic saying the sky was falling. He makes up for his small size by being extremely creative, for example, using a roller window blind to get into his high locker. Little is constantly trying to impress his Dad.
  • Joan Cusack as Abbagail Ducktail Mallard (also known as the Ugly Duckling), a female duck (implied swan) with buckteeth, and wearing a purple shirt and some hairbands. A slight speech impediment and a long, asymmetrical face earned her an unfortunate nickname from the less polite children. She is accustomed to being teased for her appearance, and takes a generally optimistic approach to life. She is Chicken Little's best friend and harbors a secret crush on him. Despite her appearance, because of her purple shirt and some hair bands and she is not wearing any pants, she is modeled after Gosalyn Mallard from Darkwing Duck.
  • Dan Molina as Fish Out of Water, a goldfish who wears a scuba helmet filled with water and lives on the surface. He is unable to speak properly, instead making gurgling sounds and acting out what he feels. He isn't very shy around others and he will perform brave stunts without fear.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig with a huge heart, Runt is much larger than the other children, but (unbelieveablely) is far smaller than the other massive members of his family. Runt is easily frightened and prone to panic. He's also a fan of Barbra Streisand (as when his mother told him to not make her take away his collection of Streisand's songs when she thought he was lying about the aliens invading the town).
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a mean, young vixen who is a baseball star and the "home town hero". She's also a tomboy and one of the "popular kids" at school. She bullies Chicken Little throughout the movie for causing the panic at the beginning. Her mind is altered during the alien attack, turning her into a much nicer Southern belle, and she is later seen in a romantic relationship with Runt. In the original fable as well as the 1943 short film, Foxy Loxy is a male fox. The character was made female for the feature film.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a goose, and Foxy Loxy's best friend. Usually helps Foxy Loxy do her bullying. She speaks in quacks, honks, and squawks.
  • Garry Marshall as Buck "Ace" Cluck, Chicken Little's widowed father, a former high school baseball star who has a hard time coming to terms with what it means being a good parent. Though he loves his son, most of the time he tries to apologize for his son's behavior and encourages him to keep a low profile. He was married to Chloe Cluck, Chicken Little's mother, but it is unknown what happened to her that causes to vanish in the movie.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, a turkey who is the mayor of Oakey Oaks. He is sensible, but not very bright.
  • Sean Elmore, Matthew Michael Joston, and Evan Dunn as Kirby, an energetic and hyper alien child who follows Chicken Little and hid friends and gets left beyhind on Earth. His parents, out of concern, trigger an alien invasion (which turned out to be a search party to look for him). In the end, he is returned to his family.
  • Fred Willard as Melvin, Kirby's father and Tina's husband. He is the character that triggers an alien invasion and at the end is reunited with his son, and has something called the "Big Voice" he uses to interrogate people.
  • Catherine O’Hara as Tina, Kirby's mother and Melvin's wife. She and Melvin land on Earth once a year on the way to her parents, and to collect acorns, but when Kirby went missing, Melvin triggered an invasion to retrieve their son.
  • Mark Dindal as Morkubine Porcupine, one of the cool kids. He is the only cool kid that hangs out with Chicken Little and his friends. In the music video, he is seen dancing with them. He only ever seems to speak one word at a time.
  • Patrick Stewart as Mr. Woolensworth, a sheep language teacher to the class, who is amazingly boring.

Production


New software and hardware tools were introduced for the production of the film:


  • "Chicken Wire", a geometric wire frame model of the characters that the animators can stretch and squeeze as they please.
  • "Shelf Control", which makes it possible to see the whole model on the screen while having a direct access to any chosen area of the character.
  • New electronic tablet screens that allow the artists to draw digital sketches of the characters to rough out their movements, which is then transferred to the 3D characters.

At the time of the release of Chicken Little, the co-production deal between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios was set to expire with the release of Cars in 2006. The end result of the contentious negotiations between Disney and Pixar was viewed to depend heavily on how Chicken Little performed at the box office. If successful, the film would have given Disney leverage in its negotiations for a new contract to distribute Pixar's films. A failure would have allowed Pixar to argue that Disney could not produce CGI films without aid from Pixar. Discussions to renew the deal in 2005 were held off until both sides could assess Chicken Little's performance at the box office.

It is not known how the two sides regarded Chicken Little's modest success. While it underperformed compared to Pixar's product, it was more successful than Disney's recent output and was much more profitable for the company, since they did not need to share the revenue. Regardless, both sides decided that they were better off with each other than separate. However, instead of negotiating a new contract, on January 24, 2006, Disney announced their intent to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion. The purchase was completed on May 5, 2006.]

Reception


Box office


In its opening weekend, Chicken Little debuted at #1, the first Disney animated film to do so since Tarzan (1999), taking $40 million and tying with The Lion King (1994) as the largest opener for a Disney animated film. It also managed to claim #1 again in its second week of release, earning $31.7 million, beating Sony's sci-fi family film, Zathura. The film grossed $135,386,665 in the United States and Canada and grossed $179,046,172 in other countries grossing $314,432,837 worldwide.

This reversed a slump that the company had been facing since 2000, during which time it released several flops, most notably Treasure Planet (2002) and Home on the Range (2004). However, these movies received better critical reception.

Critical reception


Chicken Little received a poor reception from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 36% of critics gave positive reviews based on 153 reviews with an average score of 5.4/10. The critical consensus states "In its first non-Pixar CGI venture, Disney expends more effort in the technical presentation than in crafting an original storyline", for which critics panned the film. Another review aggretator, Metacritic gave the film an average score of 48 from 32 critics.

Richard Roeper of the then-Ebert & Roeper gave the film a "Thumbs Down" rating saying "I don't care whether the film is 2-D, 3-D, CGI, or hand-drawn, it all goes back to the story." A.O. Scott of the New York Times stated the film is "a hectic, uninspired pastiche of catchphrases and clichés, with very little wit, inspiration or originality to bring its frantically moving images to genuine life." However, Ty Burr of the Boston Globe gave the film a positive review saying the film was "shiny and peppy, with some solid laughs and dandy vocal performances". Angel Cohn of TV Guide gave the film 3 stars alluding the film that would "delight younger children with its bright colors and constant chaos, while adults are likely to be charmed by the witty banter, subtle one-liners and a sweet father-son relationship."

Home media


Chicken Little was first released on DVD on March 21, 2006, only in a single-disc edition. It was Disney's first animated film to receive a DVD-only release, as every Hollywood studio had phased out the VHS format in 2006. The first Blu-ray release of Chicken Little was on March 20, 2007, and contained new features that were not included in the 2006 DVD. A 3D Blue-ray version was released on November 8, 2011.

Soundtrack


The soundtrack album contains music by a wide range of artists, some musical veterans, such as Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross, as well as others. Uniquely for a Disney animated film, several of the songs are covers of classic popular songs, such as Elton John and Kiki Dee's "Don’t Go Breaking My Heart," Carole King's "It’s Too Late," and the Spice Girls’ signature hit "Wannabe." The soundtrack was released on November 1, 2005.


In one scene of the film, Runt sings Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", however it is not included on the soundtrack.

Track list:

No.
Title
Artist
Length
1.
"Stir It Up"
Joss Stone and Patti LaBelle
3:42
2.
"One Little Slip"
Barenaked Ladies
2:53
3.
"Shake a Tail Feather"
The Cheetah Girls
3:05
4.
"All I Know"
Five For Fighting
3:25
5.
"Ain’t No Mountain High Enough"
Diana Ross
3:28
6.
"It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Fell Fine)"
R.E.M.
4:04
7.
"We Are the Champions"
Zach Braff
0:38
8.
"Wannabe"
Joan Cusack
0:50
9.
"Don’t Go Breaking My Heart"
The "Chicken Little" Cast
1:53
10.
"The Sky Is Falling (score)"
John Debney
2:49
11.
"The Big Game (score)"
John Debney
4:04
12.
"Dad Apologizes (score)"
John Debney
3:14
13.
"Chase to Cornfield (score)"
John Debney
2:00
14.
"Dodgeball (score)"
John Debney
1:15
15.
"Driving with Dad (score)"
John Debney
1:45
Total length:
39:05

Video games


Chicken Little spawned two video games. The first, Chicken Little, is a 2005 action-adventure video game released by Avalanche Software. It is for the 2 DS, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2.

The second game, Disney's Chicken Little: Ace in Action, is a multi-platform video game, for the Nintendo DS, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 inspired by the "superhero movie within the movie" finale of the film. It features Ace, the superhero alter ego of Chicken Little, and the Hollywood versions of his misfit band of friends: Runt, Abby and Fish-Out-of-Water. The crew of the intergalactic Battle Barn faces off against Foxy Loxy and her evil Amazonian sidekick, Goosey Loosey, who have an evil plan to take over Earth. Battle evil alien robots through multiple levels across the solar system and combat your foes in one of three distinct game play modes: Ace on foot as a soldier, Runt as the driver of an armored tank, or Abby as the pilot of a spaceship. The original Chicken Little and his friends Abby, Runt, and Fish we know from the film are featured in cut scenes throughout the game.

Chicken Little also appears as a summon in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games.

Cultural references


The film contains many cultural references of movies. A fake opening is the same opening to The Lion King. There is even the actual footage of Indiana Jones being chased by the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the school gym, while fish fell from the paper Empire State Building, Runt says that beauty killed the beast in reference to King Kong's end. The little alien kid being left behind on earth is a reference to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The alien invasion has many similar shots to Independence Day and War of the Worlds, notably the shadow of the alien craft covering the city and the notion of vaporizing people. Product Placement in the film includes the Tic Tac candy, which the town's mayor is obsessed with, and the alien's violation code number is 90210, the ZIP code of Beverly Hills, California.








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