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The Disneyathon Part 17: The Rise of 3D Animation

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Hahhha hahhha hahhhha hahhhha! I’ve been waiting to write about this particular film for a long time now!

2D animation just doesn’t sell anymore so Disney went all out with their first completely 3D animated movie, Chicken Little. I say completely because Dinosaur doesn’t count as it didn’t go all the way. This is the first Disney movie that I have a pretty good recollection of seeing in the cinema. It’s also the Disney movie from the 2000’s that I had the biggest obsession with. Yeah I loved Lilo and Stitch, but I never saw that in a cinema.

I loved watching Chicken Little on repeats, loved the story, the characters and playing the game that came with the DVD. (Anyone remember those?) I loved collecting the McDonalds tie-in toys, enjoyed the hell out of the Sci-Fi curveball and really liked the soundtrack. So when I got older it was just wonderful to learn that everybody else hated this film! This and Shark Tale were my rudest awakening to childhood treasures being shredded by the Internet. Now, having watched it recently for this series, I have come to the conclusion that I still like Chicken Little but I’m willing to admit where it dropped the ball.

I’ll start with the negatives and swing back to why I still like this film. The animation is seriously dated, even compared to some of the other animated films of that year like Madagascar or Robots. Some of it has to do with the bland locations and some of the character design being quite rubbish. It just looks stale as even the cool looking robot aliens kind of suck thanks to dated animation. If this was 2D like it was originally supposed to be it would be so much better.

The thing I dislike most is the humour as most of it is pop culture references. Oh that fish boy did the King Kong tower thing, oh look there’s Indiana Jones on the big screen and oh look they’re singing to the Spice Girls. This is DreamWorks humour and I don’t want to see that in my Disney movies because they should be above that. I forgot Chicken Little also ripped-off the opening to Shrek, how clever. Lastly the other thing I hate is Runt! Runt’s character is he’s fat, a whiner and likes bopping to popular music -that’s it!

The story I’m conflicted on as I do like Chicken Little. He is quite a strategist and is always determined to try out whatever challenge is thrown at him. I liked his friendship with Abby and some aspects of his relationship with his dad. Chicken Little is cool, too bad he lives in a town full of moronic jerks. These town people are constantly putting him down to the point where it’s just cruel, but it’s also full on World War III when someone rings the town bell.

Let’s talk about Buck Cluck. I like Garry Marshall’s voice work which is on the same level as the rest of the main voice cast. Some were obviously wasted like Amy Sedaris as I didn’t pick up that she played the bully. I enjoy the few bonding scenes Buck has with his son, but boy is he a terrible dad. When his son is being harassed by the whole town he’s way more concerned with his own reputation than how his son is going. We don’t know much about him except I get the impression he would rather be at the pub with some old mates then babysitting his crazy trouble-making son.

In the end I was still entertained by Chicken Little. The alien stuff is definitely where the film picks up. Not that it was that bad beforehand as there was some pretty good slapstick and even with how clichéd the baseball section felt, I still enjoyed it. I like the song choices as they fit the movie and made it a lot more exciting. The score was pretty good and the finale with the aliens and even the ending was awesome!

You could say nostalgia is the big reason why I’m so generous to this film and, yeah, that’s probably true. But it’s a fine kids movie that I had a pretty good time with. It could definitely be better, but whatever, it’s about on par with most DreamWorks films. 5/10.

This is me watching The Wild.

I know this is another non-Walt Disney animated film but as I proved earlier in this series that doesn’t really matter.

The Wild is a film I haven’t seen in over a decade but I can still recall watching it at the cinema like it was yesterday.  It’s a shame that this isn’t like Chicken Little or Home on the Range because I rarely got any enjoyment out of this obscure dumpster fire from my past.

The most common complaint about this movie is it’s a clear rip-off of Madagascar which even 6 year old me considered back in the day. Actually Madagascar was ripping off this movie, but luckily it was released first and got higher praise, leaving The Wild to be shoved out of Disney’s digestive system early in 2006 and receiving not as much love. But you have no idea how inferior this movie is to Madagascar.

It’s a pretty basic story. A son and everyone else idolises the dad to a ridiculous degree. The idiot son hops into an empty truck and is taken to an island that isn’t Madagascar. It’s up to the dad, who clearly isn’t as brave and heroic as he’s been hyped up to be, to rescue him. He and his gang of pointless sidekicks will run into a variety of one off characters like an Indian Pigeon, German Dung beetles and a cult of American Wildebeests who worship a koala doll voiced by Eddie Izzard.

The humour in this movie is mainly irritating and I honestly can’t recall any moment that made me even smile. Maybe except the sequence with the crazy Indian pigeons because I can’t think of any words to describe how this even got into the movie. The animation, while better than Chicken Little, I’m very mixed on. It’s not terrible, but I think it’s the technology as they’re going for the cartoonish realistic look, but the result is giving me grown-up nightmares.

On the plus side the message they have is pretty good and some of the voice acting is alright. The opening flashback should have been the animation they went with for the whole movie. Finally the best part of the movie is when they played Clocks from Coldplay while they drive through an empty New York City. Yeah, this isn’t worth your time and I’m giving it a 3/10.

Where we’re going we don’t need roads.

Disney has produced some iconic classics, some very overrated films and some obscure underrated gems. I think Meet the Robinsons is up there with Make Mine Music as one of the most underrated Disney movies. I say that because no one ever talks about this movie which is a shame as it’s pretty damn good.

Meet the Robinsons is another one of those movies that still holds up surprisingly well since the days of my youth. It’s a fun wacky movie that I’m sure kids would like whilst also being quite nuanced which I’m sure adults might appreciate. That’s my main gist with Meet the Robinsons, but if I have to elaborate, there are a lot of other aspects that make this movie as good as it is.

Something we haven’t seen before in this series: Time Travel. I’m always a fan of a good time travel story and this movie doesn’t disappoint. The future that the Robinsons inhabit feels like a child’s dream as it looks so innocent and sweet. This is nicely contrasted with the colourful Robinson family. There are certainly more standout characters in the family than others, but either way they’re all background noise in the overall story.

It’s a fun twist that we’re following the unaware kid meeting the out of time character and his time machine. Lewis and Wilbur are a fun duo, which is mainly to do with how energetic Wilbur is. The other standout is the villain because he would seem right at home with your typical cartoon baddies like Dick Dastardly or Mojo Jojo.

The only thing that really bothers me is that the robot hat’s evil plan is a complete rip-off of Plankton’s plan from the SpongeBob movie. (Shame Disney!) The animation is better than the last two movies. Whilst all of the main characters look great those background extras are so distractingly bad and creepy looking. Finally I love the ending as it nicely ties into the message of the film, but I wish they hadn’t shoved it down my throat the 40 times earlier. Some subtlety would be nice next time.

I have some other issues but none of which ruin the movie as it’s really solid. If you haven’t seen or heard of Meet the Robinsons I give it a strong recommendation as I need someone to talk to about this movie. 8/10.

My Official Disneyathon Ranking List

Link to Next Part: The Disneyathon Part 18: The End of the 2000’s Disney movies

Cameron Black

I review stuff and hate on everything you ever loved. But I’m still a super nice guy and make pretty entertaining content.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. The Animation Commendation

    I felt the same as you when I discovered that people hated Shark Tale although I quite enjoyed it.

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