Chicken Little 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.78:1 1080p 3D transfer that is Region free.
Astonishing as it may seem, Chicken Little is not a natively produced 3D film, it is actually a convert; however it was produced from the original 3D models, so it’s almost native rendering and the results speak for themselves, as we have a terrific sense of space and solidity within that space that fully resembles a 3D environment. Characters and objects have a good sense of volume, i.e. there is a ‘roundness’ and tangible front-middle-back. Backgrounds give a reasonable sense of distance into the frame, though there aren’t many establishing shots, those that do make use of the positive parallax come off well. There has been little attention to framing though, meaning that whilst the 3D effects do exhibit decent space, there is not that overriding sense of ‘being there’ or immersion that one expects. Negative parallax is well catered for with various objects coming out of the screen, though it’s never too gratuitous and you remain in the ‘moment’. On the whole the 3D is very good, but nothing exceptional scoring its best points with the solidity to the objects within decent 3D space.
The rest of the picture suffers from the same ‘problem’ in that there is nothing technically wrong, it’s just there is nothing of that sparkle needed to bring the picture to life. Detail, when it is available, is good, the leather on the car seats, or Chicken Little’s feathers show decent textures, but overall the detail, whilst perfectly sharp, lacks punch or a finite look – as I mentioned in the main text, it looks computer animated with everything that that entails; sharp well defined images that are clinically correct but lacking warmth. This has a lot to do with the lighting which is very basic and for a film from 2005 is sadly below par compared to its peers.
Colours are bold and strong, grade well and add to the form of the piece, but are centred around the primaries, lush greens, deep blues and fiery reds are all available to see but none of them have that urgency or vibrancy that one has come to associate with top tear pictures.
Brightness and contrast, too, suffer with the same aspect, they are set to give decent enough blacks, there is some shadow detail going on within the alien spaceship, but it is never deep and penetrating or really brings out the depth of frame or the vibrancy of the colours.
Digitally there were no compression problems nor was there any edge enhancement, though a few grading issues were present in banding, light but it was seen. Now, something of a contentious nature, this disc has been widely criticised for its crosstalk – well I’m here to tell you using LG passive 3D Cinema this title exhibits none, no crosstalk whatsoever and believe me I was looking for it. That is not to say that other viewing methods may see it, but I don’t think you can fault the disc, just the delivery method/set up.
On the whole this is a perfectly serviceable picture with decent 3D, it's just nothing remarkable, and therefore I’m going with an eight.
I concentrate on the English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. Just like the picture the surround track is perfectly functional but not spectacular in its presentation. Effects come thick and fast, however, from front to rear, left to right, never more so than in the opening ‘panic’ with the alarm bell ringing in the distance and the general mayhem exploding about; cars, screeching tyres, shouts and yells all combine to great effect. The ‘Indiana Jones’ moment is terrifically well realised with all the speakers coming alive to represent the crushing ball, however it never really controls the bass enough, nor goes deep enough to fully engage. Bass throughout is slightly lacking, not weak per se just when compared to the best missing that oomph needed to punish the furniture. The many songs that proliferate through the score come through loud and clear though, making full use of the speakers. The surrounds are in near constant use with plenty of ambience to help place you in the centre of the sound field. Dialogue too is clear and precise and very natural sounding, though its directionality is somewhat limited. One the whole the mix is very good and services the visuals well, it's just not exceptional.
- Audio Commentary – Director Mark Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer and visual effects supervisor Steve Goldberg give us the run down on the film from its earliest story point, through development, production, post production, test audience reaction to final edit. Despite being incredibly enthusiastic about their film the three can be quite candid in places and cover everything you need to know about the animation process. A lively chat that is more technical than it is anecdotal but covers all the bases.
- Filmmaker Q&A – A series of predetermined questions are presented through the film and if selected a short video snippet with Dindel and Fullmer plays in which they answer the question.
- Deleted Scenes (28.37, SD) – Eight scenes removed from the final edit which can be [played individually or all together with a play all function, with or without introductions from Dindel and Fullmer. We get Chicken Little Storybook, Cooking with Klaus, Original Opening with Chicken Little as a Girl, Lunch break, Mayor Lurkey's Pep Talk, Buck's Apology, Something must be done and Lunch Room B all of which are presented in various states of finished quality.
- Hatching Chicken Little: The Making of the Movie (18.05, SD) – Five short featurettes (entitled The Incubation Period, Cracking new ground, Birds of a feather, Rock-a-doodle-doo and Ruling the roost) which can be played individually or all together with the play all function and take a look behind the scenes of the production of the film, headed up, once again by Dindel and Fullmer. The features are peppered with short sound bites from other cast and crew members that look to be culled from EPK sources. Doesn’t cover any new ground but if you need a short and to the point feature, this is your stop.
- Music Videos - Shake Your Tail Feather by the Cheetah Girls and One Little Slip by the Barenaked Ladies (the latter is also available in a karaoke and sing along version).
- Alien Invasion – An interactive game in the ‘Space Invaders’ mode, can have one or two players.
- Easter Eggs – Listed in the menu(?) and titled Runt of the Litter (01.07, SD) and Foxy Loxy (00.57); kind of trailers for the film.
- Movie Showcase - Instant access to the filmakers choice of 'cinematic moments'
- 2D Version – The film in its 2D form; is actually the same disc that has been available for a number of years now and it contains all the extra material.
- DVD – The film in its DVD form.
Chicken Little is Disney’s very loose retelling of the ‘Sky is Falling’ fable, in which the titular character incites panic through his belief that the sky is litterally falling, only to be ridiculed by the town and suffer the disappointment of his father. So he sets off to put things right, and nearly succeeds when the sky does indeed start falling and the fate of the world rests with the plucky little chicken who must prove to his father, and the town, that he has what it takes to make them proud. What is basically a frivolous and much seen sci-fi homage actually has a little bit of heart in its emotive core with regards to its parent and offspring relationships, though this is extremely well hidden in the slapstick comedy and stylised animation of a typical Disney production. Neither as deep or as engaging as anything Pixar has produced, nor Disney’s own cell animation, Chicken Little nevertheless has a harmless charm and zips along never really outstaying its welcome.
As a 3D Blu-ray package Disney have bundled together the 3D disc with the already available 2D Blu-ray making this a good future proof buy, if you don’t already own it. The 3D image is pretty decent with some good effects and overall solidity to the layers; however its picture is hampered somewhat by the very CG looking CG animation. The sound track is boisterous enough with plenty to keep the speakers awake, though it never pushes the system too hard. Round this up with a basic, but serviceable, extras package and you have a reasonable buy.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £27.89
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