Best line ever when taken out of context: "And now I'm licking myself!"
When Hunch breaks into Pinky's aircraft while the good guys are trying to escape, he jumps down from the aircraft's entrance, hangs from a rope and, for a brief second, stares at Goldie's breasts before she slaps him away. Made funnier with Charles Nelson Reilly's signature "Hur hrrrmmm" laugh (and even funnier when one realizes that Reilly was gay).
When Goldie sullenly complains that she's too good to be just a chorus girl, Pinky snidely suggests that she could "give up show biz." Whether she's appalled at the general idea or at the, ah, other implications of that suggestion, well...
In fact, after Pinky makes that suggestion, Goldie falls to her knees and covers her chest, gasping "Pinky!" with a scandalized expression.
Some of the lyrics to the song Rock-a-Doodle, such as "Well, it ain't right to rock alone. It takes two, I do believe. I wanna rock-a-doodle doodle to you (To you). Like you rock-a-doodle doodle to me." Is Chanticleer singing about dancing or...?
While The Grand Duke was a tornado, a book flies around and on one of the pages, there is a message that says Chapter 17, Chocolate Bunnies from He**.
The second time the Duke morphs Hunch with his evil breath, after having accidentally sent the heroes down an aqueduct pipe, the shape of his oblong-shaped head has a......rather unfortunate design. Especially if you view it from the back.
This movie is very loosely based on a little-known play called Chanticler written by Edmond Rostand. In the play, a rooster named Chanticler is the protagonist, the Goldie character is a non-anthropomorphic pheasant, Edmund and the magical elements are completely absent, and both Patou and the Grand Duke of Owls appear (although both have significantly smaller roles than they do in the movie). Most significantly, Chanticler's crowing does not make the sun rise, and he accepts that.
The play, in turn, was based on Chaucer's "The Nun's Priest's Tale," which in turn was based on a popular medieval fable about a rooster named Chanticleer and his run-in with a fox (usually Renard). In that one, Chanticleer really was The Ace, really did think his crowing brought up the sun, and when he was kidnapped by the fox the farm really did mourn his loss.
Alas, Poor Scrappy: As unpopular as Edmund is with some viewers, it's hard not to feel sad when he gets strangled almost to death by the Grand Duke of Owls, seeing the action as his definitive Moral Event Horizon.
Animation Age Ghetto: Although Siskel & Ebert mostly pointed out the flawed plot, they both griped about the amount of violence and darkness in the film, saying that violence does not belong in a children's film. One has to wonder what made them think this was strictly a children's film. Maybe because it's animated. They made the same complaints for most of Don Bluth's previous films as well. Incidentally, this is actually one of the least dark of Bluth's films.
Alternate Character Interpretation : Some dialogue suggests that the Grand Duke is actually secretly envious of Chanticleer and wants to undermine him out of jealous spite. Noticeably, his first and last words before being shrunken down and begging for mercy from Hunch was both an irritation to being compared to Chanticleer. His actions in driving Chanticleer away from the farm beyond removing a threat to his hunting and dislike of the rooster's singing, also had implications of degrading him to make himself feel better- a symptom of schadenfreude, something that especially envious people tend to feel when a more successful person is brought down and undergoes a Villainous Breakdown when people still cheer for him, regardless of this humiliation. He has a habit of turning victims into smaller, degrading forms, hunt down the smaller animals or bolstering his size to make him more intimidating, Something that implies an immense inferiority complex.
Ass Pull: Where exactly was Peepers able to find and commandeer Pinky's helicopter after her close call in Pinky's trailer?
Chanticleer's crowing somehow being able to shrink down the Grand Duke to smaller than a mouse with no prior foreshadowing, since there was no indication that sunlight could do that.
Awesome Music: In the Swedish dub there are the songs "Sun on Me" and "Rock-A-Doodle". Even the music playing over the end credits manages to somehow be both bittersweet and charming at the same time.
The Norwegian dub has all of Chanticleer's songs performed by the Vazelina Bilopphøggers; Viggo Sandvig belts it out while the others perform gorgeous backup melodies.
Audience-Alienating Premise: Nothing says "box office smash hit" like "animated musical adapted from an obscure French play, featuring an Elvis impersonator chicken, and directed by Don Bluth." Because seriously, nothing says that. Although considerably less trippy and dark than some of Bluth's earlier work, it was still too dark and weird for many non-fans and preview audiences, while devoted Bluth fans considered the Lighter and Softer tone to be a betrayal of what made his style so unique, and the resulting film became his first to be savaged both critically and commercially.
The Don Bluth staple. Especially weird is where Edmund apparently runs into his own brain after Peepers' Disney Death, to resolve a minor character flaw.
While most of the songs do actually serve the plot, there are a handful of very short and completely unnecessary ones. The most notorious of these would have to be the bouncer's song and the Duke's "They're Running Out of Batteries" song.
Catharsis Factor: For those who are not rooting for the Grand Duke to win, especially after he nearly kills Edmund. After ruining Chanticleer's life, tormenting the farm animals by either almost eating them or destroying their hopes whenever possible, being a monstrously abusive uncle to his nephew, and almost killing Edmund, a little boy for spiteful reasons, it's satisfying that Chanticleer inadvertently gives the Duke a taste of his own medicine by having him be reduced the same form of small, helpless creature he often used his powers to turn others into in order to eat them and being chased by Hunch to be either eaten or tormented as payback for his years of abuse- even if the entire end is Played for Laughs.
Cult Classic: Despite its flaws, it still has a small nostalgic fan following for being a decent children's film that tries to tell an interesting story. (Emphasis on tries.)
Dork Age: After a long string of financial successes and runaway hits through the eighties, this film proved to be the start of one for Don Bluth, not helped by its baffling premise or its part in killing the studio of which he was the head at the time.
The people who like this movie tend to like the Duke's hilariously psychotic nephew, Hunch. Let's be honest, though, did you really care about how this boy who got turned into a kitten was going to find this big rooster so he can bring up the sun again, or did you wonder why the nutty little owl is so desperate for his uncle's affection?
Goldie Pheasant is ridiculously popular with fans of the film; her popularity in the Furry Fandom certainly lends itself to this.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The gag where Patou accidentally bashes Chanticleer on the head might be awkward for some people now, given how Glen Campbell developed and later died from Alzheimer's Disease.
Moral Event Horizon: The Grand Duke of Owls has done a lot of nasty Kick the Dog moves throughout the film. However, he finally crossed it when he tries to kill Edmund by strangling him and even mocking him for his loss by laughing at his apparent demise.
Understandably, its bewildering plot and often incoherent narrative led to it being a box office bust and in turn the end of Don Bluth's studio. Edmund's voice in particular is a frequent target for mockery even among legitimate fans of the film.
The entire film was this for Glen Campbell, who saw his career decline sharply for the better part of the Nineties in part due to how far his singing here strayed from his usual style. Tellingly, Campbell largely stayed away from filmmaking from that point onward.
Edmund, probably due to his voice and Elmuh Fudd Syndwome, at least in the original English version. Made even worse by the fact he's the lead character, even though he feels out-of-place in the story, being a kid from our world, transformed into a kitten and trapped in a cartoony world. Considering how little the potential Transformation Traumaimpacts his character, some wonder why they even bothered with the Live-Action scenes.
Peepers, though much lesser than Edmund, given that only people who watched the movie really noticed her, many hate her for being a little know-it-all, causing more trouble than she's worth and hating Edmund for all the wrong reasons. She doesn't hate him for being annoying, useless or talking too much, she hates him for being a cat, even though he isn't. And even if he was, he's just a harmless kitten who hasn't done anything to hurt her.
So Bad, It's Good: The storyline and everything about it is silly and ridiculous, but it still has its share of fans who enjoy it for how silly and ridiculous it is.
Superlative Dubbing: The Latin American Spanish dub improves the voice acting in many, many levels. Special mention to Edmund, who in this version doesn't suffer of the same problems with his voice, partly because his voice actress, Diana Santos, is a veteran voice actress with decades of experience voicing either cute little girls or boys and she does an outstanding job on voicing him.
Tear Jerker: Seeing the other animals mourn for Edmund after he is strangled by the Grand Duke of Owls is truly saddening, especially when they see him transform into a real boy the entire time. Peepers is especially moved by this, and tries to wake him just as he seemingly returns to the real world.
Even the music playing over the end credits becomes surprisingly somber the longer they go, which may make some just a bit misty-eyed before they finally close out.
In the beginning, Chanticleer after fighting an enemy rooster sent by the Duke, sees the sun rise without him- destroying everything he believed his purpose to be in raising the sun with his voice- heavily implied to be have inherited from his father as a part of a generational inheritance- and the majority of his fellow farm animals turning on him for "deceiving" them the entire time when he had no idea what was happening with the sun at that time; by mocking and casting him out as a fraudulent pariah- with Snipes twisting the knife further by giving a sarcastic "cock-a-doodle-doo", which made the poor Rooster go into the city, becoming a dispassionate singer who doesn't believe in himself for most of the movie.
Hunch, in spite of, or because of his incompetence, while overshadowed by the main plot, being emotionally and physically abused by his Evil Uncle, who takes opportunities to change him into degrading forms, pretend to be accepting before he insults/punishes him, and verbally threatens him with threats to kill him. Regardless of his villainy, it's pitiful to see this scrawny owl desperately trying to win the affection of an uncle that sees him as a tool at best or something abhorrent at worst.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Chanticleer. After the prologue sets him up to be the lead, he's promptly replaced by Edmund, despite the movie being an adaptation of a play that had him as the definitive main character. Hearing his side of the story would've been much more interesting.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A movie about a kid that gets transported into an Alternate Tooniverse, becoming one of them in the process and needing to go back home? That does sound interesting. The movie doesn't focus on that at all, the kid being human is pretty much forgotten about in the plot until the climax, the focus is more on bringing a different character back.
This Is Your Premise on Drugs: It starts off relatively normal with an Elvis impersonator rooster whose crow apparently brings up the sun on a frame, but is forced to leave in shame when this proved to be not the case in one instance and it's revealed to be a an animated interpretation of a story as a metaphor for the situation told by a mother to her son in live action while they deal with the storm happening outside. Then, it turns out that not only the Grand Duke of Owls is real and by extension the story, but also has magic breath that turns the boy into an animated kitten while somehow transporting him into the realm of the story, where this kitten now has to work with the farm animals to save the rooster who now has taken his Elvis motif more literally- being a jaded rock singer working with a sleazy music executivethat is literally a plump fox in the city and the boy briefly has a Heroic BSoD that he enters into his own brain and sees images of the people that frighten him. This is just one of the several instances of insanity that the plot brings.
Tough Act to Follow: Compared to Don Bluth's previous films, the films afterwards never became successful nor memorable as their predecessors. It also had to try to do this with Disney and Spielberg.
The Grand Duke of Owls sending Hutch to deal with Edmund and his friends. In all honesty, he probably hoped to just get him off his back due to his incompetence, but having already contracted Pinky to keep the group away from Chanticleer, sending Hutch after them as well actually only serves to completely screw things up when Pinky has already gotten a hold of them. Without Hutch's overzealous interference, Pinky might've stood a better chance of stopping Chanticleer from reaching his friends.
The animals at the farm for not using their flashlight more sparingly in keeping the owls away. They could not have known when the Grand Duke and his flock would try to strike, but having their only means of defense on nonstop with almost no batteries to spare very nearly has them at the Duke's mercy before Edmund and his friends finally return.
Let's not forget Chanticleer, who was laughed off the farm by his friends and family and abandoned his former life to find a new purpose in the city, where despite his incredible fame as a singer he is wracked with loneliness and depression. Then he finds out his employer is working against him and trying to keep him from reuniting with his friends, resulting in a harrowing journey to get back home where he is completely helpless to save it from the flooding. By the end, you will be crowing just as loudly as he does when he finds his true calling again.
The creative and lively Norwegian and Swedish dubs tend to improve character likeability, especially in the case of Edmund, a fair deal. The movie's still what it is though.
The Norwegian version featuring the popular band Vazelina Bilopphøggers and the Swedish version having The Boppers and The Jordanaires certainly helps; the music went from awkward and dorky to Awesome Music thanks to Viggo Sandvik's and Jerry Williams brassy vocals.