Back in the day, any 3D movie released theatrically would use the classic red and blue glasses; I have yet to see a film like that. But in 2005, Walt Disney Pictures prepped around 100 theaters to exhibit their latest animated film with Disney Digital 3D, more of a title than an actual format. One of the movie theaters to be fitted with that was not too far from where I live. I went with my youngest brother and father one Sunday morning a few weeks after the release and saw it in 3D. I still have the glasses and the wrapper. But was it necessary for something like Chicken Little? No. Watching it now on just a 2D DVD print, I realize that there’s not much to the story and that it doesn’t really age well.
Chicken Little sets the town in a panic as three minutes or so are spent in chaos and Indiana Jones is parodied (the useless references keep coming, just wait). Humiliation and embarrassment plague the Little family consisting of the title character and the father, Buck Cluck. So, where does the Little name come in? Never explained. Mother? Dead or divorced, never explained.
One year later, it’s another start to a school day as we get a music number, one of many that will serve no purpose other than to keep the ending credits from coming sooner. Oh, the mishaps and hilarity ensue as Chicken Little sticks a landing through a window in his underwear in front of cheerleaders. Point is, he’s not popular.
A dodgeball game in gym class serves no purpose other than seeing Chicken Little converse with his outcast friends and talk about what he needs to do to get back in good graces. For no reason, we get a King Kong reference as a fish builds the tower out of paper. The sprinkler system is set off in the gym through a case of bullying and Chicken is to blame. This upsets his father as he learns that his dad was the baseball star back in his school days. One awkward conversation later and things aren’t resolved. Cue sad music.
As soon as that song is over, we immediately jump into a Rocky training montage complete with another song. It’s championship baseball time as our hometown team is down by a few runs. Who saves the day? Our dinner, I mean our main character. But that moment is short-lived after singing out of tune to Queen on air guitar/spoon. A piece of the sky falls and manages to perfectly hit our hero on the head through the window without causing too much property damage given the speed it falls at. It turns out to be some panel from an alien ship. With pop culture references to Star Wars, “I Will Survive”, Independence Day (R.E.M. included), Signs, and other things, the day is saved more or less.
The only character that you can try to emote with is Chicken Little but even then it’s not much to go on. He screwed up and the whole town won’t let him forget it. Wouldn’t that be enough to, I don’t know, LEAVE THE TOWN if they treat your offspring like that? But no, everyone goes Rudolph at the end by praising the misfit and realizing that they were wrong. Instant forgiveness, just add aliens like in the original story.
Thanks to Shrek, this movie tries to capture the Fractured Fairytale idea but without success. It has not aged well at all. The Star Wars reference now wanders into the ironic as Disney owns the franchise now but will eventually, if it hasn’t already, become stale in the next few years to the point of not even laughing at it. Pop culture and modern quirks does not a good movie make. It’s the story and character development; if I can’t care about those aspects, then I can’t care about the product.