Chicken Little [1943]

A classic fable gets fused with War of the Worlds in Disney's Chicken Little. In the small town of Oakey Oaks, young Chicken Little (voiced by Zach Braff, Garden State) struggles to live down the embarrassment of having once thought the sky was falling. But when he gets struck again by a hexagonal, sky-camouflaged, hi-tech doohickey, he and his friends Ugly Duckling (Joan Cusack, School of Rock), Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn, Sahara), and Fish Out of Water discover that aliens are preparing to invade Earth--but since no one believed Chicken Little the first time, why would they believe him now? Though kids will enjoy the bright whizz-bang action sequences of Chicken Little, discerning parents will find the movie tedious. Technically, it has the computer animation quality of Pixar--but with none of their intelligence, heart, or simple storytelling skill. The basic idea of connecting the fable to aliens is amusing, but the script routinely bogs down in clumsy father-son issues that seem like material edited out of Finding Nemo. The jokes rarely have anything to do with the characters, but are mostly pop-culture references that are sadly out of date. The action sequences were obviously created with the inevitable video game in mind, for which the movie is little more than an advertisement. Chicken Little falls flat. --Bret Fetzer

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