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YMMV / Chicken Little

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The original fairy tale

  • Esoteric Happy Ending: In some "happy" versions of the story, Foxy Loxy eats everyone except Chicken Little, who manages to be an Idiot Houdini and escape without harm despite getting the others killed.

The 1943 Disney Short

  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Don't believe everything you hear, don't blindly follow others, and don't let yourself be led by rumors, at the very least. None of them especially offensive to family morals, but the bleak way in which they're hammered home can be a little hard for small children (and/or their parents) to stomach.
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  • Older Than They Think: Though the narrator in the original version of the short is shocked by Foxy Loxy winning, most versions of the fairy tale actually end up with everyone (except, in some cases, Chicken Little) being eaten; only the most "Disneyfied" versions have them all get away safe. This may be why Jiminy Cricket's narration of the ending is far more cynical.

The Disney movie

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Were the the townspeople genuinely thankful for Chicken Little's heroic deeds at the end of the movie, or were they just praising him so he doesn't betray them for their mistreatment of him should something else threaten their town?
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Disney doing a DreamWorks style film instead of relying on their usual sincere yet formulaic approach? Probably the reason why this film is widely considered Disney's lowest point.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character: Runt of the Litter. Some dislike him for being little more than the tired Fat Comic Relief (in a time when comic relief characters were starting to fall out of favor with the general viewing public), and because of how he takes advantage of Foxy Loxy's Mind Rape to involuntarily make her his girlfriend. Others single him out as being one of the film's only likable characters alongside Chicken Little, Abby, and Fish because he's a genuinely Nice Guy.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The film is absolutely full of random jokes that aren't very well set up or explained nor are they mentioned again, but a few (especially those that make pop cultural references for the simple sake of making them) take the cake:
    • Early in the movie, the town goes in chaos when Chicken Little claims the sky is falling, with one of the results being that the water tower collapses and the tank falls off, rolling around the town. We then cut to... a real clip of Raiders of the Lost Ark, namely the iconic scene where Indiana Jones is outrunning the boulder, before the the water tank bursts through the screen (a literal Breaking the Fourth Wall). This scene is just downright bizarre considering they're watching the actual movie. With live-action humans. In a world of anthropromorphic animals. Said scene is never mentioned again, has zero bearing on the plot (you could have cut it and the rolling tank would not have lost significance) and absolutely nobody questions the existence of human movies in this universe.
    • The scene where Abby and Runt are singing "Wanna Be" by the Spice Girls. Again, it comes right out of nowhere, it's quite over-the-top even by the movie's own standards (and that's saying something), and after it happens, it's never mentioned again. It's only until Chicken Little interrupts it with his own call that the plot moves forward again.
  • Broken Base: The film as whole among general Disney fans. While others consider it one of the weakest, if not one of the worst films in Disney's animated filmography, there are, in fact, some people that genuinely like Chicken Little, regardless of its flaws. Along with people who just simply considers it okay at best.
  • Catharsis Factor: After seeing how horrible and cruel the Townsfolk were to Chicken Little, it's incredibly satisfying to watch them getting terrorized and vaporized by the Aliens later in the movie.
  • Critical Dissonance: Panned by critics and thought of by many Disney fans to be their weakest film of the Disney Animated Canon, this film made $135 million at the domestic box office (their biggest domestic hit since Lilo & Stitch) and $314 million worldwide (their biggest worldwide hit since Dinosaur).
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: You can tell this film was trying (and failed, considering the company the film was released by) to emulate DreamWorks' then-huge brand of snarky, in-your-face "edgy" humor by just how cynical it is, from how the main character is bullied by his entire town, his father being openly ashamed of him and passively having one character be mind raped. It doesn't help that the film was conceived out of Michael Eisner's hatred of DreamWorks founder/Disney Renaissance alumnus Jeffrey Katzenberg, and this was his attempt to beat him at his own game. However, these factors make the film too mean-spirited in tone for most people to really enjoy.
  • Designated Hero: Buck Cluck. He's meant to be seen as one of the supporting heroes of the story, despite the fact that he constantly ignores his son being mistreated by the townsfolk and even joins them at certain points in excluding him. While he doesn't mean to be bad to Chicken Little, sees the error of his ways and saves his son from the invasion, it's still not enough for many people to forgive him, especially since we don't get an in depth reason for his neglectful parenting.
  • Designated Villain: Foxy Loxy. While she's a schoolyard bully and a jerk, she's the one who gets the baseball team to the finals and she actually did try to act heroic when the aliens invaded. Apparently she deserved to suffer Mind Rape and nobody seems to care.
  • Dork Age: The end result of the studio's worst one since The Black Cauldron and is universally considered the lowest point for the Disney Animated Canon. The good news is the studio finally took notice and did something about it.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Morkubine Porcupine is often this for viewers. Not only is he one of the few individuals outside of the main characters who's not a raging Jerkass, but his monosyllabic punchlines are also consistently hilarious.
    • Fish Out of Water is also generally well-liked by both the movie's fans and detractors, and is often singled out as the movie's most likable character.
    • Foxy Loxy seems to be pretty well-liked by the film's detractors, considering how many of them have complained about her Heel–Face Brainwashing at the end.
  • Fair for Its Day: It wasn't lost on viewers and critics just how much Disney was going out of their way to replicate DreamWorks' success with the edgier, more mean-spirited humor that was their trademark for much of their run up to the time in which this film was released. However, it was not long after that DreamWorks changed its approach and started actively producing more family-friendly films in which these elements have been considerably downplayed, vindicating the general consensus from audiences that Disney's attempt at copying this routine was both a misplaced and ill-timed gamble that fans of the House of Mouse never asked for.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • Being a schoolyard bully is grounds for getting mind raped.
    • 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.
    • By learning that the heroes and villains were both equally right, we learn that governments have nothing better to do than to invade another planet in search of a single child.
    • The moral of the original? "Don't get caught up in hysteria because one guy said something crazy." The moral of this film? "THAT GUY WAS RIGHT, RUN FOR IT!"
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the Japanese dub of the film. Tina the Alien Mom is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi. It seems someone from the Disney's Japanese branch decided to have some fun on Mitsuishi's expense, if you take into account that one of her most famous roles is someone who is trying to stop an alien invasion.
    • During the first several minutes, a movie theater is briefly shown playing Raiders of the Lost Ark. That movie's production company, Lucasfilm, would be acquired by Disney some 7 years after the film's release.
    • Early on in the movie, Abby mentions that she hopes Chicken Little's movie goes "Straight to video". They were actually going to make a Direct-to-Video Chicken Little sequel, but it was canned once John Lasseter took over.
    • The Movie Within the Movie at the end portrays a space-faring Chicken Little and his crew battling aliens with the song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" playing in the background. Nine years later, the song would be used again in another Disney film that also dealt with an outer space crew fighting evil aliens.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Think "Numa Numa" and recall the early teaser commercials with Chicken Little dancing to notorious earworm "Dragostea din tei". Then have it come back to haunt you when you hear "Down" by Jay Sean, a Suspiciously Similar Song version of the Numa Numa song whose lyrics specifically allude to the story of Chicken Little.
    • "Close the book. We're not doing that."Explanation 
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Fans of hand-drawn animation have pointed to this film as proof that Disney would never be as good as it once was after shutting down the 2D unit to focus solely on CGI, although it hasn't been as big of a deal since Disney all but disowned this movie and has since made better-received CGI ones, including Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, Moana and Zootopia, the last of which also used a cast of Funny Animals but was much more successful with audiences and critics than this movie.
    • Disney's attempt to emulate DreamWorks with its "edgier" humor and more mean-spirited tone, and also the last time they'd ever try it. Ironically, it came on the heels of the time where this approach at DreamWorks had begun to fall out of favor with audiences, with their shift to more family-friendly productions in the years that followed.
    • The Mind Rape of Foxy. Again, we must stress that she was just a very arrogant schoolyard bully and that the worst she really did was bully Chicken Little and his friends and generally be an Attention Whore. Apparently that's punishable under pain of permanent mental alteration, especially considering the rest of the townspeople are actually worse than she is.
    • Buck's highly questionable parenting may be bad, but certainly not bad enough to warrant people making him out to look like an outright abusive sociopath and putting him with Thanos, Ragyo Kiryuin, and Shou Tucker on the list of "worst parents in fiction", or even one of the most evil Disney characters.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The video game based on the movie is heralded as an enjoyable platformer in its own right. Some would even go as far as to say its better than the movie itself.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Adam West as the actor playing Chicken Little in the Movie Within the Movie at the end of the film. So glorious is his Large Ham that many wished that he was the actual main character, and Disney eventually gave him his own video game: Chicken Little: Ace in Action.
  • Padding: The whole business with baseball could have been dropped without having to substantially rewrite the rest of the film.
    Roger Ebert: He joins the town baseball team, but even though he plays in the big game, this sequence feels, frankly, as if the plot is killing time. That's because it is... As a general rule, if a movie is not about baseball or space aliens, and you have to use them anyway, you should have started with a better premise.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Buck was a neglectful jerk in the film, but despite his questionable parenting, it's pretty clear he's not intentionally abusive and he redeems himself at the end. However many reviewers make him out to look like an outright abusive sociopath. The Disney Wiki's article on him was once written to make him out into the main villain and even lists "neglecting his son" under the list of things he likes before being edited to be more neutral. Many people (see YouTube comments) actually label him as one of the most evil Disney characters, and he's been compared to Thanos, Ragyo Kiryuin, and Shou Tucker on levels of Abusive Parent status.
    • Runt of the Litter is also this. In the film he's a nice person, but because he used Foxy's Mind Rape to make her his girlfriend, many people think he's a bad character.
  • Rooting for the Empire: It is easy to say that the Townsfolk are not worth saving from the Aliens since they were shown to be nothing but insensitive assholes towards Chicken Little throughout the film, until the end.
  • The Scrappy: Buck Cluck for being incredibly neglectful, barely paying much attention to his son and never defending his son for whatever misfortune he gets swept up in unless it benefits himself. Even with his change of heart at the end, people didn't like him more.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Even though the entire film was an embarassment to Disney, and is not a fan favorite as such, the shunting of aliens, pop-culture Shout Outs and other ludicrous plot elements into a fable that didn't benefit from them is just so out there that it can become this trope for several viewers, and is possibly the sole reason why it was a big financial success. Nonetheless, it makes for a good film to riff with friends.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Considering most of the Shrek-inspired formula films that were being released at the time, this film only barely stands out. One IMDb reviewer called it "average in every way".
  • Strangled by the Red String: Chicken Little and Abby. There were quite literally no hints that the two were attracted to each other even before The Big Damn Kiss, and even after that, they hardly interact during the climax and they only really hold hands once during the final scene.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: The film was very obviously trying to capitalize on the snarky, more cynical approach that had worked so well for DreamWorks in their previous works, as seen in Michael Eisner's rivalry with Jeffrey Katzenberg. The studio very quickly found out that this is not what their audiences wanted from Disney, and have since made a point to avoid this approach in their later movies.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Movie Within A Movie would've been more enjoyable than the actual movie. It's deliberately over the top and has Adam West.
  • Uncanny Valley: Some of the character designs and movements, despite being heavily stylized, have become this over the years due to the dated CGI.
  • Unfortunate Implications: This didn't sit well with some viewers because of the way the story treats Foxy Loxy. She's a popular, athletic tomboy and a bully (without succumbing to the "mean girl" stereotype). And by the end of the film, not only is she the only real antagonist, but she's also mind raped into becoming docile and feminine after being trapped, terrified, in a featureless, black void. When a cure is offered, Runt exclaims "She's perfect!" and she instantly becomes his girlfriend. So her character arc ends with her being brainwashed into becoming traditionally feminine, and no-one advocates for her right to her own personality because a boy likes her better this way. And then there's the fact that Chicken Little, a girl in the original fairytale, is made a boy, apparently to better appeal to general audiences. The issue of gender roles hasn't gone unnoticed.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Foxy Loxy is an arrogant bully. Apparently, this was worthy of getting mind raped into being a sweet Southern Belle.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Buck is presented as a desperate father coping with the loss of his wife and trying to do what's best for his son despite his unpopularity. What he comes off as is a neglectful bum who will only come to his son's aid when it seems to benefit him. That being said, Buck apologizes sincerely to his son after he calls him out on ignoring him, joins him on his quest to save the town, and even saves him by fist-fighting the aliens who tried to capture him.
    • After watching Chicken Little get bullied by the townfolk for most of the movie, there's a good chance you won't feel sorry for them getting vaporized by the aliens.
  • What an Idiot!: A chicken rings the bell and tells everyone that the sky is falling. You better believe him, don't just check for yourself.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: The voice actors of Chicken, Abby and Runt don't even attempt to sound like kids, though the film never is clear on whether they're supposed to be young children or teenagers. This can be justified since Word of God states that Chicken Little (at least) is a "teenager" around 12-13 years old. And casting Patrick Stewart for barely over a minute of dialogue has no point (other than Patrick Stewart is awesome, of course).


Example of: