6 out of 10
Sky Falls on Disney
This first ever computer animated venture from Walt Disney is charming, humorous and visually entertaining, but like the piece of sky, falls unfortunately flat.
An adaptation of the traditional children's story, set in the present day in the All-American town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little, voiced by Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs), is faced with a dilemma when after throwing the town into panic over a falling acorn, he is later struck by an unidentified flying object which convinces him not only that the sky could really be falling, but that the world could also be at an end.
The development of the relationship between Chicken Little and his father, the importance of friendship and the awkwardness of being little are key themes. Although occasionally overly melodramatic, some scenes of bonding between father and son are heartwarming. Supported also by his friends, Runt of the Litter, Fish Out of Water and Abbey Mallard the ugly duckling, Chicken Little attempts to solve the mystery of the falling sky to save the world and to regain the respect of his classmates, his dad and residents of the town.
One of its strengths is the eclectic bunch of characters and vocal talents including Joan Cusack as Abbey Mallard, Gary Marshall as Chicken Little's father Buck Cluck, Patrick Stewart as Mutton Teacher Mr. Woolensworth, Wallace Shawn as Principal Fetchit. More bizarrely, the voice of Fish Out of Water, a cute Harpo Marx style character, was performed by the office water cooler at Disney.
Although humourous, particularly the interactions of Runt of the Litter, Foxy Loxy, Abbey and Fish Out of Water, the story unfortunately fails to develop much as it progresses. After diverting into an animated version of War of the Worlds, it nosedives into a rather flat and somewhat moralistic ending. Compared to the cleverness of short cgi films such as the Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, Pixar's For The Birds and the beauty of earlier Disney releases, Chicken Little may appeal to a younger audience, but overall isn't a memorable effort.
Film Critic: Jenny M Lillies