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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Chicken Little [Blu-ray]

 

(Mark Dindal, 2005)

 

 

Re-issued on February 8th, 2011:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Disney

Video: Disney Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:20:54.933

Disc Size: 26,213,485,873 bytes

Feature Size: 18,041,204,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.27 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 20th, 2007

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary with director Mark Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer and visual effects supervisor Steve Goldberg
Filmmaker Q&A and introduction (:37): allows pop-up windows with questions and answers during the film
Movie Showcase -described as "Instant Access to the Filmmakers most cinematic moments that showcase the ultimate in HD picture and sound." Essentially, 3 scenes with the best a/v (4:38 in HD)
Alien Invasion Game: BD Exclusive interactive game
Eight Deleted Scenes - playable with introductions (28:37 or without intros - 23:15) - 4 are listed as 'BD Exclusive' (meaning not on the DVD edition)
Music & More: Two music videos (Cheetah Girls - 'Shake Your Tail Feather' - 3:05 / Barenaked Ladies 'One Little Slip'  - 2:54) - both sing-along and Karaoke for 'One Little Slip'
Hatching "Chicken Little" - 5-part Making of... (18:04 in HD!)

Easter Egg "Runt of the Litter" (1:07)

Easter Egg "Foxy Loxy" (:57)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Disney's first venture into the realm of CGI animation (without Pixar) tells the tale of all-animal town Oakey Oaks's most infamous resident, Chicken Little (voiced by Zach Braff), who causes town-wide panic when he claims the sky is falling. A year later he's still shunned by everyone, including his dad (Gary Marshall), a single rooster with an incredibly wide tie. Determined to end his losing streak, the bespectacled Little joins the baseball team, even though he can barely lift the bat. Luckily his three equally outcast friends have faith in him: a pig with a yen for '70s disco (Steve Zahn); a Harpo Marx-esque goldfish in a diving helmet; and Abby, a buck-toothed female duckling (Joan Cusak). According to her sources in magazines such as Modern Mallard, Abby is sure Chicken Little merely needs closure with dad over the sky incident. But when the sky really does start falling due to a full-on alien invasion, and only Chicken Little knows why, dad still doesn't want to believe him. Kids are sure to understand Chick's frustration in this matter, and parents will dig the sly riffs on films like 'Vertigo' (1958), 'The Blob' (1959), 'Independence Day' (1996), and 'War Of The Worlds' (1953), as well as Disney's own back catalogue. In place of the usual musical numbers, 'Chicken Little' includes montages set to Barenaked Ladies songs and reinterpreted pop favourites (the old Art Garfunkel gut-wrencher, 'All I Know', is a standout), while celebrity voiceovers come from Harry Shearer, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Stewart, Adam West, and Don Knotts, with Amy Sedaris as the obnoxious 'Foxy Loxy'.

 

 

The Film:

Chicken Little is a revenge of the nerds movie, starring a spunky, pint-sized baby rooster, an obese, apologetic porker who talks in song lyrics and a mallard called Abby whose views on personal relationships have been lifted cliché by cliché from girlie duck glossies. This trio from the high school losers' team, with the help (?) of a goldfish, become heroes of a very special kind. With a little love and a burst of speed, they save the world from alien invasion.

It's all about making dad proud (sob!). Chicken Little will do anything to erase the "sky is falling" incident from the collective memory of his peers. How could anyone mistake an acorn for a collapsing galaxy? Put it down to CL's vivid imagination if you like, but his dad has never recovered from the embarrassment and that HURTS. His son, ever optimistic, with his sad face eager for a crumb of praise, is going to make a difference - however, wherever. He'll find a way.

If you thought Shrek was funny, this takes funny into fresh fields of rollabout. The dialogue may not be as acerbic as South Park, but it's sharp as a dart and the voice actors go so with the flow that they raise the bar to the Toy Story level and beyond. As for the CGI graphics, hold the phone! Animated creatures have never been this expressive. You can feel their pain and exhilaration. You can read their fears and expectations, like bullet points, from subtle nuances of body language.

Excerpt from Angus Wolfe Murray at Eye For Film located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Chicken Little is a different style of animation that many may be used to. But, especially on Blu-ray, you begin to appreciate it very quickly. It has wonderful textures and depth that are highly impressive and colors are tight and vibrant when called upon.  It looks both excellent in the below stills and in-motion. This sneaks into dual-layered territory and it's the first Disney, sans Pixar, CG animation feature. It, predictably, looks flawless and... brilliant. Not seeing it theatrically I have no real means to critique the appearance - to me it looked as good as most digital animation I have seen in 1080P - most probably replicating the filmmakers intent.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Great audio - a linear PCM 5.1 track at a massive 4608 kbps. Beyond the voice characterizations it's all exceptionally well-done effects... and music. There is separation and depth. Speaking of music, which aside from Barenaked Ladies and Cheetah Girls, we get vintage gems "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", Ashford and Simpson's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" performed by Diana Ross, "I Will Survive", "Stayin' Alive" and "Lollipop" among other toe-tapping, well-remembered, standards. Let's not forget John Ondrasik's 'All I Know' (approaching the sensitivity of Art Garfunkel's rendition).  It's a great track sounding, like the video, perfect. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

The audio commentary with director Mark Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer and visual effects supervisor Steve Goldberg is pretty standard stuff covering production and more intimate details of the animation process. I wasn't overly keen on the filmmaker Q&A and introduction which allows pop-up windows with questions and answers during the film. This was an early attempt at the BD capabilities and this doesn't come across very seamlessly. The Movie Showcase is described as "Instant Access to the Filmmakers most cinematic moments that showcase the ultimate in HD picture and sound." Essentially, It is 3 scenes with the most impressive looking and sounding a/v running about 5-minutes in total. There is an interactive Alien Invasion Game, 8 deleted scenes playable with introductions (28:37 or without intros - 23:15) - 4 are listed as 'BD Exclusive' (meaning not on the DVD edition) and there is amusement here. Music & More consists of two music videos (Cheetah Girls - 'Shake Your Tail Feather' - 3:05 / Barenaked Ladies 'One Little Slip' - 2:54) and both sing-along and Karaoke for 'One Little Slip'. The Hatching "Chicken Little" is a 5-part making of... for less than 20-minutes which doesn't repeat too much from the commentary and is okay for any who are really keen on the filmmaking process here. Lastly there are two inconsequential 'Easter Eggs' entitled "Runt of the Litter" (1:07) and "Foxy Loxy" (:57).

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Of Dinosaur, The Wild and Chicken Little - I'd say Chicken Little is the most fun for adults. It is easily my favorite the of three and doesn't lose an iota for transfer quality. I really question reviewers that had a middling response - I have seen this with my kids at least half-a-dozen times and it is never without total charm. The music and voice characterizations are tremendous (Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack - as my favorite, Miss Abby Mallard - Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, and Adam West among the notables.) The parody and film references are rife (very intelligently written with hints at the original Chicken Little fable, the magic of the great American pastime, War of the Worlds and yes, even celebrating uniqueness with square-peg friends supporting each other 'till the end') and the Blu-ray supplies a perfect presentation. I'm giving this a strong recommendation - I think it's too good to pass-up. I kinda love this film. 

Gary Tooze

November 15th, 2010

 

 

 

Re-issued on February 8th, 2011:

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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