*/**** Image A- Sound A- Extras C
screenplay by Ron Anderson, Steve Bencich and Ron J.Friedman
directed by Mark Dindal
by Walter Chaw Frantic, frenetic, anxious, obnoxious: the ideal audience for Chicken Little should be in bed by seven, and Disney's umpteenth cry of "sure-fire comeback project" looks, appropriately, like another convulsive episode of corporate crying-wolf. Chicken Little, for instance, makes pop culture references that don't mean anything in the context of a film whose sole purpose appears to be instructing your children to be fearful and hyper. They're just there to give parents, alternately stunned and bored, a little rootless pleasure in the middle of epileptic flash; what's left isn't clever (or kinetic) enough for us to ignore its essential emptiness. What Chicken Little is more than anything else is exhausting. You could by rights hope that it's is a send-up of the Fifties cycle of Martian invasion pictures (it name-checks War of the Worlds for no good reason) as The Incredibles was a send-up of Golden Age superhero comics, but even a cursory comparison between the two films shows that Disney's desperation to make Pixar's looming secession a non-issue is as limp and impotent as the Nevada State Boxing Commission.