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Chicken Little

Who's in It: The voices of Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Don Knotts, Patrick Stewart, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack, Amy Sedaris

The Basics: A little chick with a strained parental relationship and an undeserved reputation for unnecessarily sounding his town's alarm bell has to save it from real alien invaders.

What's the Deal? Animation is a thankless job. You can be Miyazaki and create enchanted other worlds, and it can take years for your work to be recognized outside your own small country. Or you can hack your way through a cruddy Saturday morning TV show and get insanely rich. This movie is that benign middle ground that kids will flip for and their adult chaperons will tolerate. Not that it matters much — if you're responsible for someone under the age of 8, you're probably going to see it, and they're going to love it so much they'll want the DVD a few months down the road.

What's Good About It if You're a Grown-Up: You can't accuse the character designers of sleeping on the job. No anthropomorphic detail is spared, which is really where Disney can't be beat. They brand it, and it stays branded. Plus, it's only 75 minutes long.

What's Good About It if You're a Kid: That part where the big fat pig gets stuck in the hole. Big fat pigs getting stuck = always funny.

And the Moral Is … If you, the grown-up, will recall, this classic tale was about a chicken that ran around making assumptions about the sky falling — it wasn't — and then continued to run around freaking out all the other animals. The point was not to be an idiot, but …

OK, There Is No Moral: … here, it's about how everyone else but Chicken Little is out of it and is damaging his precious self-esteem, how there really are dangerous things hurtling out of the atmosphere, and how your parents will never believe you until the very last minute, when there's incontrovertible proof.

Bottom Line: Hey kids! New cartoon! You love cartoons! Here you go!

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