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Chicken Little (March 11/06)

Chicken Little is notable as the Disney company's first computer animated feature produced without the involvement of Pixar, the studio responsible for such financial and critical successes as Toy Story and The Incredibles. And while the film is just as impressive as any of Pixar's efforts in terms of its visuals, the overall lack of substance ultimately lends the proceedings a vibe of irrelevance.

The story revolves around the title character (voiced by Zach Braff), a gregarious young chicken whose propensity for crying wolf has caused his father (Garry Marshall) no end of embarrassment. After one such incident transforms his family into the laughing stock of their community, Chicken Little is determined to keep a low profile - which he succeeds at, until he stumbles upon a possible alien invasion. Now it's up to Chicken Little and his pals - including Runt of the Litter (Steve Zahn) and Fish out of Water (Dan Molina) - to convince the townspeople that the impending incursion is more than just a figment of Chicken's over-active imagination.

At a brisk running time of 81 minutes , Chicken Little moves at a blistering pace and features one overblown, larger-than-life action sequence after another. There is, consequently, not much subtlety at work here - something that becomes especially pronounced during sequences revolving around the fractured relationship between Chicken Little and his father (such moments feel as though they've been unnaturally shoehorned into the screenplay).

The voice acting is uniformly top-notch (even Garry Marshall delivers an effective performance that's free of his usual, grating ticks) and there are a few admittedly funny bits spread throughout the film, but in the end, Chicken Little just doesn't have a whole lot to offer viewers over a certain age (say, 12).

out of

About the DVD: Chicken Little arrives on DVD courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, armed with a crisp and vibrant letterboxed transfer and a number of intriguing bonus features (including deleted scenes, an 18-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, and more).