The Sky is Falling!
December 8, 2004 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Chicken Little is Disney's first feature length 3d animated movie (without Pixar). Mark Dindal, director of Cat's Don't Dance and Emporer's New Groove, is at the helm. Is there a chance that the sky won't hit them in the face?
posted by Hands of Manos (43 comments total)
Well, I think it will do pretty well. The moved the release date back to November, which should give them a better audience. Instead of having to contend with Shark Boy & Lava Girl and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory for family audiences, they go into a timeframe where there aren't many family films, and two straight weeks without another family flick (Harry Potter).
posted by shawnj at 11:25 AM on December 8, 2004

I plan on watching it while enjoying the cool, refreshing taste of Pepsi Blue.
posted by driveler at 11:28 AM on December 8, 2004

One thing I did notice as well:

The budget for Chicken Little is much, much lower than the others you linked to. Perhaps they learned their lesson after spending 140 million on Treasure Planet.
posted by shawnj at 11:30 AM on December 8, 2004

Speaking of which, are they coming out with Holiday Pepsi Blue Spicy? That would be cool and refreshing.

I'm sure Disney will do just fine with its offerings. Its not like little kids are all that discerning anyway. As long as there are ample marketing tie-ins so they can relive the movie again and again, Disney will get by just fine. Thank goodness, I was worried for them.
posted by fenriq at 11:32 AM on December 8, 2004

I'm a sucker for animated chickens, myself.
posted by pmbuko at 11:33 AM on December 8, 2004

Latest Jim Hill gossip article about Chicken Little and its potential marketing setup for failure.

For those of you having enough of a life to not be absorbed in Disney-goings on -- being an Orlando or Anaheim resident kind of puts you at an immediate -100 penalty on this roll -- Jim Hill is one of the "more connected" Disneyholics who builds a website tracking all that is in the house of mouse.

Your other references include Mouse Planet, Mice Age, Laughing Place.
posted by cavalier at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2004

For what it's worth, Atlantis wasn't a bad movie. Maybe a bit darker than Disney might like to present, but certainly not a grand scale flop. Neither was Treasure Planet, really, or even Lion King 1 1/2. Home On The Range? Well, you can't win 'em all.

But what you have to remember is that Disney has mastered a brand-based niche market. Parents trust the Disney label and they depend on these films to entertain (read: babysit) their children, particularly when said children are strapped into the back of the family minivan. So even if Chicken Little doesn't manage to capture the particular magic of Pixar, it will still do rather well in the theatre and more than make up for any failings once it pops on DVD.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2004

I'm a big, big, BIG Mark Dindal fan. I almost vomited when I heard that Diz was doing Chicken Little 3d...until I saw that Dindal was directing it.

To speak l337:

He is teh funny.

Cavalier: I'm not so much absorbed with the mouse (although I'd still like to be on their animation color theory/layout) but more the trend of animation. I'm really sad to see 2d go (for a while -- rumor has it Pixar is going to do a 2d flick. woot!) but am very interested to see if 3d develops into something worthwhile.

To me, and this is my shitified opinion, 3d has no's too perfect. I like my stuff to be dirty and not all washed up.

Grabbing: I stomached Atlantis, Lion King 1.5 and I actually did enjoy Home on the Range but Treasure Planet? God...that movie was just horrible. I actually think the magic was knocked out of the mouse when Katzenberg jumped over to Dreamworks (I think the last decent movie was Hercules...although I really thought Emporer's New Groove was a laugh a second).

oh and thanks for the Jim Hill link! Wow, good read there!
posted by Hands of Manos at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2004

I've seen the trailer and I've got to say - meh. Disney's not going to save their animation legacy with strained comedy and truly unattractive character design. And it doesn't convince me that they've teased an interesting story out of the old tale. Hope I'm wrong.

I'm also not thrilled about the trailer for Pixar's Cars. It's got more noise than characterization (remember how the teaser trailers for The Incredibles and Monsters Inc. introduced the characters, and told you exactly who they were?). And the design for the cars looks like an updating of old cartoons, like Tex Avery's One Cabs Family, rather than anything fresh.

Dreamworks' Madagascar has on OK trailer, fairly amusing and with a promising storyline. But the look is so-so, and it has Ben Stiller, which is a bad sign.

Robots, however, looks very cool.
posted by barjo at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2004

Hands of Manos, you've posted 4 links total and 2 were related to pixar. What's up with that?
posted by glenwood at 12:08 PM on December 8, 2004

Was Dinosaur not a Disney, non-Pixar, feature-length animated 3D film (that sucked)?
posted by O9scar at 12:14 PM on December 8, 2004

barjo - I agree about the Cars trailer. I'm thinking (hoping) that it was a character test that they decided to use as a teaser. Still, it looked reeeeally unfunny, stereotypical, and contrived ("I know: lets make a movie about NASCAR! That'll sell!"), which Pixar has not been so far.
posted by papercake at 12:20 PM on December 8, 2004

I always thought that Chicken Little was a girl. Possibly thanks to Pulcina. via TAL
posted by graventy at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2004

Robots? C'mon barjo, the Robin-Williams-as-manic-sidekick has been done to death. (See Aladdin and Aladdin 3)
posted by graventy at 12:25 PM on December 8, 2004

The only thing worse than a Ben Stiller movie is a Robin Williams-zany sidekick movie. Just say no!
posted by fenriq at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2004

Agreed barjo, Cars to me looks like Pixar saying "Oh yeah? You want another movie, yet you're gonna keep screwing us on the $$? Fine Eisner, have your movie *flap*" While I can't imagine Lasseter being so flippant about producing a bad story, it still makes Cars somehow more logical then the simplistic trailer I saw before the Incredibles.

Fated Animator Hands, I dig what you are saying about 2D. I'm still shocked, just plain shocked, that Eisner came out and said 2D is dead. It seems the pulse-sensing Eisner of 30 years past is the one to be dead, only listening to what his market testing people tell him. To see Disney move completely away from 2D is absurd, abhorrent, and down right atrocious (Three A's! Woot!). Where are the Don Bluths that can lead a renaissance of 2D animation? Where are the rebel rousers?

You know what, it's not about 2D/3D, that's not what really gets me. What gets me is that Eisner is shutting the door on a method, when it's the story, stupid. 3D can be very creatively fulfilling -- think Incredibles -- but that doesn't mean an entire medium is dead because your stories are hackneyed.

O9scar, Dinosuar definitely was their first tent pole CG, and their marketing dept is trying to make you forget about. Me, I was floored, floored when I saw the trailer, going on and on "my GOD.. those TREES... that water.. it's all so life like", and then being so nonplussed when I found out they shot live plates and then just compoisted the CGI on top of it. Bleh.

Though I should point out.. Disney's first CG effort was some little movie called Tron. :)

graventy, actually, you are quite correct, Chicken Little was originally a girl sorry, google cache link. The story has been rewritten I'm told about 20 times now. That's what I'm saying, they're so afraid of internal pressure, of Eisner and his once-golden-touch-now-copper-plated, wrecking it.
posted by cavalier at 12:37 PM on December 8, 2004

Also, this makes me think of the article I recently read in the NYTimes Magazine about dvds sales -- that's where the money is -- and how the studio attitude is rapidly becoming that theatrical release is merely a splashy ad for the upcoming dvd release. I can't imagine that an animated movie with the Disney name on it won't more than make its money back on dvd.
posted by papercake at 12:39 PM on December 8, 2004

and hey, glenwood, maybe it's possible his schtick is animation and Pixar is, well, the biggest US one doing it right now?
posted by cavalier at 12:42 PM on December 8, 2004

I'd hate to see 2d go too. But if more 3d animation looked like Appleseed I wouldn't mind as much. Cars didn't look that impressive, seen better cg on an xbox.

And I don't think there's any reason 3d animation intrinsically has to look so clean and perfect and, say, sterile looking. Like Chris Landreth's Ryan is as messy and expressive as the best 2d animation.
posted by bobo123 at 12:50 PM on December 8, 2004

Hands of Manos, you've posted 4 links total and 2 were related to pixar. What's up with that?

my interests are in art and animation. I like to get other people's point of view about the topics.

I want to make sure that I am following MEFI procedure correctly. Am I doing something wrong? Should I only be posting a link about a certain topic once?

I am just curious as I don't want to step out of line with posting formalities.
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:54 PM on December 8, 2004

double post:

wow, that appleseed thing is amazing!
posted by Hands of Manos at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2004


Hey glenwood:
Check out Handie's website. That'd give you a clue as to what Hands of Manos is about.

(Nice stuff, HoM-ie!)

(On preview, what HE said)
posted by Floydd at 12:58 PM on December 8, 2004

I am just curious as I don't want to step out of line with posting formalities.

Don't worry about it, it's just that there's been some suspicion about certain posts lately (see here).
posted by bobo123 at 1:11 PM on December 8, 2004

3D done by "technical directors" and CG-only animators is usually sterile and too perfect. 3D done by people who know how to classically animate in 2D, looks a hell of a lot better. Pixar's got a lot of those. And, really really good story people (most of whom defected from Disney, pretty much).

Yes, it's all about STORY. If you watch animatic work prints from a really good animated film, the animatic tells the story wonderfully! You don't even NEED to animate the damn thing if the story kicks ass!

I dunno, this movie might be fun. As long as the story is worthy.

I actually liked Treasure Planet, I got it on DVD and I've had a chance to go over it a few times. Is it Iron Giant? No. But it's not bad. They definitely spent way too much on it, but there are some really excellent parts in that film, if you're an animation geek.

And dammit... I STILL haven't seen The Incredibles. *sigh*

Oh, and welcome back from vacation, Manos! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2004

Based on the previews, I thought each of the Pixar movies was going to suck. I've been wrong each time. I mean, some of the movies haven't been as good as the others, but none of them was outright bad.

I watched both Brother Bear, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast last week, and the fantastic technical quality of the animation in Brother Bear really struck me. I'm serious. The story is about as bland as you can get, but in my opinion, the animation is beautiful. I love the crisp lines, and the CG stuff fits in nicely with the hand drawn parts. The animation in Beauty and the Beast was impressive at the time, but from a technical standpoint, it doesn't hold up to Brother Bear. The story, however, was much more enjoyable, which is why Beauty and the Beast is simply a better movie than Brother Bear.

It's a real shame that Disney fired the animation department instead of the writers. It shows how out-of-touch the management is over there.
posted by Loudmax at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2004

Disney animation was left for dead in the '70's and early '80's, then came out with the Little Mermaid, combining contemporary "Broadway show" music, a classic tale, and top notch animation. They churned out several more like that- Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc., but then they just seriously started to slip again. I think they are cycling back to a '70's-style slump and will churn out crap for another 5-10 years before they come back to high-quality stuff. It's all part of the circle of life.
posted by Doohickie at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2004

Robots, however, looks very cool.

I saw a preview screening (not-quite-finished) about two months ago. The middle part of the story still needs a little work, but the animation quality and character design are great. The robots and buildings all have this nice patina to them; the movie does for realistic metallic and plastic surfaces what "The Incredibles" does for hair and spandex. They even get rust to look good.

Keep in mind, though, that the movie is more consciously aimed at young kids, not at older kids or adults as "The Incredibles" was. And Ewan MacGregor's American accent is darling, but not always completely believable. But the film is cute, fun, and much less overly-self-aware and snarky than "Shrek" and its sequel (a good thing, IMHO).

(Disclaimer: I'm related to someone working on the film, but I promise I'm not trying to be a shill.)
posted by Asparagirl at 2:01 PM on December 8, 2004

Don't worry about it, it's just that there's been some suspicion about certain posts lately (see here).

oh dear! no no no no, I'm CERTAINLY not a Pixar employee (I'd love to be). I'm just a fan!!! I could give a rat's ass about chicken little (other than dindal directing it) or advertising.

in fact, I'm totally against the current forms of advertising. I mean, I'm a freelance illustrator but you see me never posting my webpage (except on my profile) publically here.

I just try to post informative things about art and media. Thanks for advising me on this, I will try to be aware NOT to goof up like this.

Glenwood: Please email me (see profile) if you have any questions or concerns about me or my reasons for posting.
posted by Hands of Manos at 2:15 PM on December 8, 2004

inside dirt from pixar-friends: cars is not up to par. There's a reason why the release date got moved, and (as usual), it's not a good reason.

But then again, you never know what the audience is going to respond to. But the gossip is that it's definitely not Pixar's finest hour.

Great post, the animation industry is something of interest to a lot of people.
posted by chaz at 2:26 PM on December 8, 2004

Yeah, dunno if you guys saw this morning's news yet:
"Pixar Delays Its Next Film 'Cars' to 2006
Wed Dec 8, 9:10 AM ET Movies - AP

By GARY GENTILE, AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES - Pixar Animation Studios will delay the release of its next film, "Cars," until June 2006 as it switches from a holiday release schedule to releasing films during the summer when more children are at home..."
posted by Asparagirl at 2:34 PM on December 8, 2004

And the design for the cars looks like an updating of old cartoons, like Tex Avery's One Cabs Family, rather than anything fresh.

In the upcoming "Cars," I don't get the cars having their eyes in the windshield, instead of the headlights! Looks very goofy.
posted by centerpunch at 2:39 PM on December 8, 2004

hey i didn't mean to oversnark, i was kind of being ironic and picking on mr. manos in regards to our recent run-ins with clubmedia.

didn't mean to give you the jitters buddy. i'm a pixar nerd too.
posted by glenwood at 3:37 PM on December 8, 2004

I just didn't get "the grab" from "Cars" that I have from prior Pixar projects.

Everything else they've done has generally grabbed my attention from the trailer level on, and kept it all the way through.

Of course, I guess Nascar fans are a viable demographic...

And that Appleseed trailer was intense!
posted by Samizdata at 3:50 PM on December 8, 2004

Larry The Cable guy is one of the cars (the stupid ass'd truck). He's reached such fame to be next to Jeff Foxworthy.


Fortunately, Pixar's next movie is....Ratoullie, right? (the first solo pixar flick).

when does that Appleseed flick come out?
posted by Hands of Manos at 4:48 PM on December 8, 2004

"Cars" (and "Robots") for that matter are very bad names for movies. Kind of thuddingly obvious. Imagine if "Toy Story" had been named "Toys" and "A Bugs Life" had been named "Bugs" and "Monsters Inc." had been named "Monsters." Or "Finding Nemo" had been named "Fish." It's like they think you'll go see the movie because it's about cars. Not bloody likely.
posted by kindall at 5:05 PM on December 8, 2004

"In the upcoming "Cars," I don't get the cars having their eyes in the windshield, instead of the headlights! Looks very goofy."

centerpunch, you can't put the eyes in the headlights without running into potential legal trademark problems with the Chevron Cars, as I found out doing an assignment for my day-job employer.

"He's reached such fame to be next to Jeff Foxworthy."

Oh yeah, that's way up the scale there. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 5:06 PM on December 8, 2004

You're kidding. Chevron has trademarked the obvious (anthropomorphizing cars with headlight eyes)?

I heard Appleseed was not so great, movie-wise, but worth watching for animation nerds like myself.
posted by kevspace at 6:11 PM on December 8, 2004

Thread derail: The new Appleseed movie looks fantastic. I remember seeing the trailer a while ago and being quite impressed. I'm worried, though, that it's going to completely mangle the original manga storyline. I'm totally not an anime nerd, I don't own any manga or wall scrolls or cute, fuzzy little Studio Ghibli plush toys or anything. But I do remember reading most of the original (translated) Appleseed manga titles back in high school. The storyline was nice, and it stuck with me, along with stuff like Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind, and others. Apparently the general opinion at IMDB agrees that it's been mangled.

Thread rerail: In my personal opinion, the Disney Co. never really had all that much magic going for them. Yeah, they were kind of innovative for a while. They've made a small handful of really nice movies. But they've sure produced a metric asston of painfully, incredibly and unredeemably bad crap. I'm not too hopeful that Chicken Little won't fall into the latter catagory.

The only thing they've done right in the past 5-10 years was distribute Swept Away here in the states, which was just amazing. Hell, I might have to watch that tonight.

Disney is indeed a cult, and the cries of "The Magic is gone!" and "The Magic is Back!" from it's glassy-eyed acolytes are both all too frequent.

However - while smoking in the smoking area near the docks to Tom Sawyer's Island - I recently heard from a friendly off-duty Disneyland CultCastmember they finally got someone in charge of the parks who gives a crap, and has been out on the floor in the parks and taking notes. Hopefully, they'll manage to turn Tommorowland at Disneyland back into a nerd paradise, instead of that horribly contrived faux-Vernes steampunk atrocity it is now. All I know is that Space Mountain is closed until the Spring of 2005 for a complete rebuild of some sort, and I'm vastly worried. I'm going to miss the old Arther C. Clarke-esque space decor something fierce. I practically grew up there.
posted by loquacious at 6:33 PM on December 8, 2004

The only thing they've done right in the past 5-10 years was distribute Swept Away here in the states, which was just amazing. Hell, I might have to watch that tonight.

Eww, that movie's terrible... oh wait, you probably mean Spirited Away.
posted by bobo123 at 7:09 PM on December 8, 2004

Err, yes. Sprited Away. Hooboy...
posted by loquacious at 12:48 AM on December 9, 2004

"The only thing they've done right in the past 5-10 years was distribute Swept Away here in the states, which was just amazing."

Now, let's be nice. Disney has done a lot more right lately than just distributing Spirited Away...

They distributed "Kiki's Delivery Service" too! ;-)
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:48 AM on December 9, 2004

I saw the trailers for Chicken Little and Polar Express at the same time. I think I'd much rather watch Chicken Little's sky falling than the Polar Express "people" plummeting into the Uncanny Vallery.
posted by straight at 10:16 PM on December 9, 2004

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