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Chicken Little is a 2005 computer-animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation (not by Pixar). It is the 46th film in the Disney Animated Canon, and is also Disney's first movie to be completely made via computer animation (2000's Dinosaur had CG characters against live-action backgrounds). It is based on the fairy tale of the same name, but set in modern times and given a Science Fiction spin.
In the original tale, a little chicken is hit by an acorn on the head and believes that the sky was starting to fall down in pieces; she sets out to warn the king and is joined by other animal characters, eventually running into the evil Foxy Loxy, who wants to eat them.
In the movie, Chicken Little is male, a nerdy boy who gets bullied in school despite his cleverness because of that ONE false alarm he created that caused waves of panic throughout the town a year earlier. He also has a troubled relationship with his widowed father, Buck Cluck, who cares more about the approval of his peers than caring for his son. He tends to hang out with other unpopular kids -- such as Abby Mallard (a homely duck girl who has a crush on Little, but he doesn't seem to realize it); Runt of the Litter, a cowardly, morbidly obese pig who can't stop eating; and Fish out of Water, who is an actual fish who wears a diving helmet (filled with water) to be able to breathe. They often get teased by Foxy Loxy, a female bully. But as the film progresses, Chicken Little and his friends uncover the presence of extraterrestrials in their town and attempt to warn the now-extremely skeptical townsfolk before all havoc breaks loose.
One of the reasons this was made was because Disney was in a turbulent relationship with Pixar since their contract with them would expire soon, and Disney wanted to prove they could make a blockbuster CGI family film without the Pixar name, in the chance that Pixar would either go independent or find another distributor. It's unclear if they succeeded in this goal. While this film was critically panned, it did mildly well at the box office. It turns out that Disney realized they did need Pixar and bought them out, hired John Lasseter as the new Disney creative officer, and their goal was hand-waved. It is often regarded as the absolute worst film in the Canon due to it being a blatant cash-in on the Fractured Fairy Tale genre popularized by Shrek.
The movie had two game adaptations, one of them based in the movie-within-the-movie.
Note: Disney had already adapted the Chicken Little story once, as an animated short parodying, of all things, Nazi propaganda. In a contrast to the source material the short has a downer ending with the bad guy winning, which is lampshaded by the narrator.
Tropes in the movie:
- Advertised Extra: Despite appearing on the DVD cover, the front of the DVD itself and in much of the marketing for the film, Morkubine Porcupine only appears in about 3 scenes in the film and has exactly 3 lines of dialogue.
- Anticlimax: The "invasion." Wait, that's it? That's all there is?
- Audible Gleam: Made by a penny that distracts the Mayor.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Most of the cast.
- Broken Aesop:
- The movie inverts the original tale's.
- Foxy Loxy gets turned nice, docile, and perfectly feminine against her will, but everyone's happy with that, especially the guy that adopts her to be his girlfriend when she's too brain-fried to protest.
- Any parent would do anything to protect their child, such as blow up an innocent planet that has nothing to do with their child's disappearance. There's some good strong family values!
- Governments have nothing better to do than to invade another planet in search of a single child.
- Butt Monkey: Chicken Little.
- Cannot Spit It Out: "Big acorn lebefluh"
- Cassandra Truth: Naturally, nobody believes Chicken Little about the UFO.
- Catch Phrase: Chicken Little says "Who we talkin' about?" a lot. Though this is normally because he breaks down under the pressure.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The Mayor, though he has moments of lucidity.
- Cue Card: Turkey Lurkey's aides hold up cue cards to inform him on how to act, including one telling him his fly is open.
- Cute Mute: Fish Out of Water.
- Disaster Dominoes: Chicken Little has a habit of creating more than a few of these, some intentionally, some not.
- Dodgeball Is Hell: A scene early on.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Chicken Little repeatedly struggles with derision and mistrust from friends, family, and all who know him. Also, his mom is dead.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The titular character appeared in Japan in Kingdom Hearts II before the film was released in theaters. Ironically, Little is quite useful, and you get him very early. (After the first two Disney worlds you complete.)
- Executive Meddling: The movie originally stuck to the fable by using a female Chicken Little and you can even see the original opening with the female Chicken Little on the DVD special features. Michael Eisner had her changed to a boy to appeal better to little boys, because he believed boys would refuse to watch a film with a female lead. This from the guy that was the driving force behind The Little Mermaid.
- Foot Popping: Done by Abby when kissed.
- Furry Confusion: Chicken Little has a broken egg for a rug. Yolk and all.
- Gang of Bullies: Foxy Loxy and Goosey Loosey.
- Hand or Object Underwear: Little loses his pants in one scene, and covers himself with his schoolwork.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: A rather surprising subversion considering the company this came from - Almost everyone wears a full set of clothes. Not wearing pants is treated as nudity. Except for Abby who doesn't wear pants and for Fish who is completely nude.
- Hyperventilation Bag: Runt does this so hard he accidentally swallows it.
- Improvised Clothes: Chicken Little makes pants out of his homework.
- Jerk Jock: Foxy Loxy is unusual in that she is a female one, rather than being the Alpha Bitch.
- Marth Debuted in Smash Bros: Kingdom Hearts II came out before the actual movie in Japan, so this was Chicken Little's official introduction to Japanese audiences.
- Merchandise-Driven: A claim constantly lobbed at the film, as it existed more to be lucrative like Shrek while milking products in a way that Pixar wouldn't.
- Missing Mom: Chicken Little's mom died at some unspecified point before the start of the film and Buck Cluck still hasn't learned how to be an effective single parent to his son.
- Mood Motif
- Murder Is the Best Solution: The aliens were actually peaceful acorn gatherers, but when their son disappeared, they immediately decided the best solution to the problem would be to blow up the entire planet.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Abby's nickname of "Ugly Duckling", as given to her by Foxey.
- Movie Within A Movie: At the end of the film, a movie is made of Chicken Little's exploits in saving the town and the world from the aliens. Instead of telling it faithfully, the movie is a cross between Star Trek and Star Wars and stars Adam West.
- Also the one at the start.
- The Other Marty: Holly Hunter was originally cast as Chicken Little and recorded all her dialogue before the film was rewritten. Zach Braff replaced her.
- Padding: The whole business with baseball could have been dropped without having to substantially rewrite the rest of the film.
- Papa Wolf: Threatening to wipe out a whole planet to find your missing son? Yeah.
- Shout-Out: When trying to cross the road, Chicken Little uses a daisy stem to climb up a telephone pole and press the button in a similar fashion to Mulan and her weights.
- Similar to the Show: One of the trailers resembled one made for The Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy movie (Disney made both films). The movie posters and the box art for the DVD borrow from the then-current Men in Black II.
- Theme Naming: The characters names either rhyme with the species of animal they are (as in the original story), or form an animal-related idiom.
- Toothy Bird: Abby with her ever-present buck teeth.
- Trailer Spoof: See above.
- The Unintelligible: Fish, who wears a water-filled helmet and communicates through bubbling sounds.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: "You want me to do WHAT?!"
- Voice of the Legion: The alien leader's. It was just a trick.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Lampshaded; at the end, Hollywood gets a hold of the story and butchers it right into a stereotypical Sci Fi action film.
- You Have to Believe Me: Chicken Little says this a lot.
- You Were Trying Too Hard: Runt does a good job avoiding dodgeballs for such a large target just by running around in fear. It isn't until he copies Fish's moves at Abby's suggestion that he starts getting pelted with balls.