Chicken Little

Chicken Little

DVD Rating: **1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Chicken Little

This Disney DVD comes with a wide range of choices for audio and subtitling languages, including English, Norwegian, Danish, Hindi, as well as an audio described English version for the sight impaired and English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

Keeping in mind that it is most likely to be children who are interested in the extras, everything seems pitched at the "little" level. So alongside animation-heavy videos for the featured songs Shake Your Tail Feather by the Cheetah Girls and One Little Slip by the Barenaked Ladies, the latter is also presented in an animated karaoke version and sing-a-long version for anyone who wishes to join in.

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Similarly there is an interactive game (Where's The Fish?) available in one or two-player modes that tests visual co-ordination skills and ability to recall trivia from the film. It is repetitive, hardly challenging and, in the age of PlayStation, unlikely to divert the average kid for more than a couple of minutes.

A Making Of featurette divides into five bite-size sections, viewable separately, or altogether, dealing with: 1) the original fairytale and the original film concept; 2) the film's visual design and use of 3-D animation; 3) the voice actors; 4) the music; 5) a day in the life of director Mark Dindal. It is a breezy enough journey behind the scenes of the film, but the "interviews" with cast and crew are more like sound bites, far too superficial and inflected with the sort of backslapping tone. where everyone and everything is "great," that seems better suited to promoting a film than offering any real insight into the creative process. Most interesting is producer Michael Fullmer's revelation that Chicken Little was originally conceived as a girl, until the then Disney CEO Michael Eisner put in his two cents, and there is also a funny sequence in which the Barenaked Ladies improvise a bit of folk rap about the film's main character ("He's a chicken but he ain't yellow").

Best of all are the four deleted scenes, although it is not clear whether that is the correct term for them, given that three were never actually completed. They can be played separately, or altogether, each with an (optional) introduction by director Dindal and producer Fullmer explaining what they are and why they were not included in the final version of the film.

The first is a complete alternative opening that tells the original story of Chicken Little in more traditional 2-D animation. The second is a more elaborate alternative opening (with some sections not fully coloured, and others only in storyboard form) in which Buck Cluck struggles to cook a full breakfast for his son while the media converge outside the house. This is certainly more arresting, and to my mind better, than the opening that made final cut. The third is the originally conceived opening (black and white, with some storyboarding) with Chicken Little as a girl; and the fourth (told only in storyboards) is a disposable scene between Runt and Fish in the school cafeteria.

Reviewed on: 25 May 2006
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Chicken Little packshot
A story of misfits who save their high school (and the world) from alien invasion.
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Product Code: BUA0024001

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.78:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Deleted/alternate scenes; Making Of featurette; Where's The Fish? trivia game; Music & More

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