Chicken Little is a 2005 film by Walt Disney Pictures.

Young Chicken Little throws his small town into panic by claiming the sky is falling.

Unable to find the piece of "sky" that hit him, he earns the town's scorn.

A year later, outcast Chicken Little tries to redeem himself by joining the baseball team, helping to win a crucial game.

Later that night he is hit on the head again and discovers that the "falling sky" is actually from a UFO.

Now, Little must convince the skeptical town that an alien invasion is about to happen

Chicken Little/Credits

Plot

Buck Cluck tries to know how to open a movie.

In the small town of Oakey Oaks, Chicken Little rings the school bell and warns everyone to run for their lives.

This sends the whole town into a frenzied panic.

Eventually, the Head of the Fire Department calms down enough to ask him what's going on, and he explains that a piece of the sky shaped like a stop sign had fallen on his head when he was sitting under the big oak tree in the town square; however, he is unable to find the piece.

His father, Buck Cluck, assumes that this "piece of sky" was just an acorn that had fallen off the tree and had hit him on the head, making Chicken Little the laughing stock of the town.

A year later, Chicken Little has become infamous in the town for being crazy.

His only friends are outcasts like himself: Abby Mallard, Runt of the Litter, and Fish Out of Water.

Trying to help, Abby encourages Chicken Little to talk to his father, but he really only wants to make his dad proud of him.

As a result, he joins his school's baseball team in an attempt to recover his reputation and his father's pride, but is made last until the ninth inning of the last game.

Chicken Little is reluctantly called to bat by the coach.

Little is able to hit the ball and make it past first, second, and third bases, but is met at home plate by the outfielders.

He tries sliding onto home plate but is touched by the ball.

While it's presumed he lost the game, the umpire brushes away the dust to reveal Chicken Little's foot barely touching home plate, thus declaring Little safe and the game won; Little is hailed as a hero for winning the pennant.

Later that night back at home, he is hit on the head by the same "piece of the sky" — only to find out that it is not really a piece of the sky, but rather a device which blends into the background.

He calls his friends over to help figure out what the device is.

When Fish pushes a button on the back of the hexagon, it flies into the sky, taking Fish with it. It turns out to be part of the camouflage of an invisible UFO.

Chicken Little manages to ring the bell to warn everyone, but the aliens see the crowds coming and manage to escape, leaving behind an orange alien child.

No one believes the story of the alien invasion and think it is a repeat of the acorn incident, and Chicken Little is ridiculed yet again... until the next day.

He and his friends discover the orange alien, and a few minutes later a whole fleet of alien ships descends on the town and start what appears to be an invasion.

The invasion is actually a misunderstanding, as the two aliens are looking for their lost child and attack only out of concern.

As the aliens rampage throughout Oakey Oaks, vaporizing everything in their path, Little realizes he must return the alien to his parents to save the planet.

First, though, he must confront his father and regain his trust.

In the invasion, Buck, now regaining his pride and trust in his son, defends him from the aliens until they get vaporized.

It is then discovered that the aliens weren't vaporizing people, but the ray guns had teleported them aboard the UFO.

Afterwards, the aliens return everything to normal, and everyone is grateful for Chicken Little's efforts to save the town.

And they went to the theaters to see Chicken Little: The True Story.

Cast

  • Zach Braff s Chicken Little, a young and diminutive rooster who suffers under the reputation for being crazy since he caused a panic saying the sky was falling.
  • Joan Cusack as Abby Mallard, a female duck with buckteeth. She takes a generally optimistic approach to life. Unfortunately, she is often teased by Foxy for her appearance. She is Chicken Little's best friend, and by the end, his girlfriend.
  • Dan Molina as Fish Out of Water, a goldfish with a scuba helmet filled with water who lives on the surface. He makes gurgling sounds, cannot speak properly and acting out what he feels. He is not very shy around others and he will perform brave stunts without fear.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig with a huge heart who is much larger than the other children, but is far smaller than the other massive members of his family. Runt is easily frightened, anxious, and prone to panic.
  • Garry Marshall as Buck Cluck, Chicken Little's widowed father and a former high school baseball star.
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a mean, young fox who is a baseball star and the "hometown hero". She is also a tomboy and one of the "popular kids" at school. In the original fable as well as the 1943 short film, Foxy is a male fox.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a dim-witted goose and Foxy Loxy's best friend and henchwoman.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, a turkey and the mayor of Oakey Oaks, who is friendly and sensible, but not very bright.
  • Sean Elmore, Matthew Michael Joston, and Evan Dunn as Kirby, an energetic and hyper alien child.
  • Fred Willard as Melvin, Kirby's father and Tina's husband.
  • Catherine O'Hara as Tina, Kirby's mother and Melvin's wife.
  • Mark Dindal as Morkubine Porcupine, one of the cool kids. Dindal also provides the voice of Coach in the film.
  • Patrick Stewart as Mr. Woolensworth, the class' sheep language teacher.
  • Wallace Shawn as Principal Fetchit, the school's principal.
  • Patrick Warburton as Alien Cop
  • Adam West as Ace - Hollywood Chicken Little
  • Harry Shearer as Dog Announcer, the baseball announcer at Chicken Little's school and a news reporter for Oakey Oaks.

Additional Voices

Production

Writing

In September 2001, director Mark Dindal developed the idea for Chicken Little, with its title character envisioned as an overreacting, doom and gloomy female chicken, that went to summer camp to build confidence so she wouldn't overreact, as well as repair her relationship with her father.

At the summer camp, she would uncover a nefarious plot that her camp counselor, who was to be voiced by Penn Jillette, was planning against her hometown.[7]

 Dindal would later pitch his idea to Michael Eisner who suggested it would be better to change Chicken Little into a male because as Dindal recalled, "if you're a boy and you're short, you get picked on."[8]

In January 2003, when David Stainton became Disney's new president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, he decided the story needed a different approach, and told the director the script had to be revised, and during the next three months, it was rewritten into a tale of a boy, trying to save his town from space aliens.[9]

During the rewriting process, Dindal, along with three credited writers and nine others, threw out twenty-five scenes to improve the character development and add more emotional resonance with the parent-child relationship.

Dindal admitted that "It took us about 2½ years to pretty much get back to where we started... But in the course of that, the story got stronger, more emotional, and funnier, too."[9][10]

Casting

When originally envisioned as a female character, Holly Hunter provided the voice for the title character for eight months, until it was decided for Chicken Little to be a male.[7]

 Against forty actors competing for the title role, Zach Braff auditioned where Dindal noted he "pitched his voice slightly to sound like a junior high kid. Right there, that was really unique — and then he had such great energy."[11]

In April 2002, Variety reported that Sean Hayes was to voice a character named the Ugly Duckling,[12] but the character was rewritten into a female.[13] 

Now conceived as Abby Mallard, Hunter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jodie Foster, Geena Davis, and Madonna were considered, but Joan Cusack won the role for her natural comedy.[14] 

In December 2003, it was announced Braff and Cusack were cast, along with other cast members including Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris, Don Knotts, Katie Finneran, and Garry Marshall.[15]

Marshall was asked to provide a voice for Kingdom of the Sun, which was re-conceived into The Emperor's New Groove and directed by Dindal, but was removed from the project for being "too New York".[10] 

When he was approached to provide the voice for Buck Cluck, Marshall claimed "I said I don't do voices.

You want a chicken that talks like me, fine. So they hired me and they didn't fire me, and it was like a closure on animation."[16]

Animation

To visualize this story, Disney selected 50 percent of its new CGI animation team from its 2D animation staff, and placed them through a rigorous eighteen-month training program, which included an introductory to Alias's Maya that would serve as the main 3D animation software used on the project.

As some of the animators had worked on Dinosaur, which used live-action backgrounds,[17] the animation team took inspiration for its staging, coloring, and theatrical lighting from Mary Blair's background designs featured in Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland.

For the aesthetics in the background designs, the background layout artists sparingly use digital matte paintings to render out the naturalistic elements, including the trees and the baseball diamond, but they were retouched using Adobe Photoshop as background cards featured in the film.[18] 

The lighting department would utilize the "Lumiere" software to enhance virtual lighting for the shading form and depth and geometric rendering for the characters' shadows,[19] as well as use real lighting to create cucaloris.[18]

For the characters' designs and animation style, Dindal sought to capture the "roundness" as seen in the Disney animated works from the 1940s to 1950s,[18] by which the characters' fluidity of motion was inspired from the Goofy cartoon How to Play Baseball.[18] 

Under visual effects supervisor Steve Goldberg who spearheaded the department, the Maya software included the software program "Shelf Control" that provided an outline of characters that can be viewed on screen and provided a direct link to the controls for specific autonomy, as well as new electronic tablet screens were produced that allowed for the artists to draw digital sketches of the characters to rough out their movements, which was then transferred to the 3D characters.[19]

All of the characters were constructed using geometric polygons.[1

For the title character, there was approximately fourteen to fifteen character designs before settling the design composed of an ovular egghead shape with oversized glasses.

The final character was constructed of 5,600 polygons, 700 muscles, and more than 76,000 individual feathers, of which 55,000 are placed on his head.[16]

Following the casting of Braff, supervising animator Jason Ryan adapted Braff's facial features during recording sessions to better combine the dorkiness and adorability the filmmakers desired.

"He's got this really appealing face and eye expressions," Ryan said, adding that he was amazed by Braff's natural vocal abilities.[11] 

Next, the animators would utilize the software program "Chicken Wire", where digital wire deformers were provided for the animators to manipulate the basic geometric shapes to get their desired facial features.

Lastly, a software development team constructed XGen, a computer software program for texturing the hair, cloth, feathers, and leaves.[19]

Trivia

  • According to the book Chicken Little: the Essential Guide, there became a sequel, Chicken Little 2: Mission to Mars that was released on November 15, 2005, similar to Spaceballs 2: the Search for More Money, so the video game Chicken Little: Ace in Action didn't quite serve as a sequel to this film.
  • Chicken Little was originally scheduled to be released on July 1, 2005, but on December 7, 2004, its release date was pushed back to November 4, 2005, the release date originally slated for Disney/Pixar's Cars.
  • This is the last film that the animation studio released under the name Walt Disney Feature Animation. Starting with Meet the Robinsons, further canon entities would be produced by the renamed Walt Disney Animation Studios.
  • This is the last animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon to use the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo.
  • This is the first CGI movie that Disney made without Pixar.
  • There are 250,000 feathers on Chicken Little.
  • The last Disney animated feature film to be released on VHS.
  • The technical team built a digital tool called "Chicken Wire", which is a geometric wire-frame model of the characters that the animators could squash, stretch, and smear. They wanted to get a 2-D animation style in 3-D animation.
  • Dedicated to the memory of Joe Grant (1908-2005).
  • This was one of Don Knotts' last roles before his death. The other was Air Buddies (2006).
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