Have you written off Disney’s 2005 Chicken Little? I had, I found it okay, saw it in the theater and had bought it on DVD years later at a really discounted price. It was crazy prized, I mean I would pay that just for the Disney Movie Reward points pricing. Yet it simply was not a film I got excited about though I do love Scrubs’ Zach Braff. Recently my kids pulled it out and I found myself shocked by all the Disney connections especially amongst the voice talent.
· From the very opening Chicken Little pays tribute to other Disney movies as the narrator struggles with how to properly open his tale. In that search that audience gets sound and visual lifts directly out of Lion King. And he asks if he should use a book to open his story, instantly taking us to princesses and in my mind Sleeping Beauty.
· Additional video is lifted from Raiders of the Lost Ark and shown at the Oakey Oaks movie theater in full live action glory. The scene depicts Indiana Jones fleeing from a giant bolder and helps connect Disneyland fans to Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
· Talk about a Disney flashback in this voice cast. Joan Cusack plays Ugly Duckling, Abigail Ducktail Mallard. I cannot but think of Jessie from the Toy Story franchise every time I heard her provide a line. Wallace Shawn voices Principal Fetchit, who is slightly less grumpy than his Gilbert Huph from The Incredibles. Don Knotts voices Mayor Turkey Lurkey. Amongst his long and distinguished career, I remember his turn in Disney’s live action The Apple Dumpling Gang fondly from my childhood. But my favorite two voices give me instant smiles. Patrick Warburton voices an alien cop. As someone who loves Soarin’ and Soarin’ Over California, among his other contributions, his voice instantly made me check to see if I had stowed my ear hat. And Batman’s Adam West as the Hollywood version of Chicken Little was a complete surprise and brilliant. I loved him in Meet the Robinsons but did not realize that he had done other voices for Disney. Yeah, this voice cast is super Mousey.
· Story elements have a very Disney feel to it. In fact one of the key themes is does Chicken Little’s father trust him, in fact at one point he yells at him, “You can’t do this!” Instantly my mind replaced the image of a father chicken with a father clown fish and I wandered mentally to Finding Nemo. In fact, Chicken Little like Nemo and many Disney princesses comes from a one parent home.
I am still not in love with Chicken Little. But I am coming to enjoy it more. In fact I just have to say can you never go wrong with more Patrick Warburton and Steve Zahn. As Zahn’s Runt of the Little states, “Just leave me some ammo, a little water, some chips if you have them.” With those ingredients and a Mousey Movie, you have a night of family fun out here Between Disney.