Chicken Little = Bush

News & Politics

Spoiler alert: If you plan on seeing Chicken Little and don't want the plot revealed, go to another post!

Michael Berubé is "blown away" by Chicken Little, calling it "a powerful allegory for our times" following in the footsteps of a spate of recent films that: "[deal] with the trauma of a son who isn’t adequately recognized or supported by his accomplished, well-respected father."

After a flukey success, Chicken Little -- along with a cabal of misfits -- begins to hallucinate that the sky is falling. Berubé explains that: "he experiences a complete psychotic break, and begins to believe he has obtained material evidence that the sky is, in fact, falling. The delusion builds until he is fantasizing a full-scale attack on his homeland, involving fearsome weapons of mass destruction..."

The film itself follows the cabal into the fantasy, with others following along, and we never return to reality. I won't give away the "post-postmodern postscript" but it is eerie.

Berubé is pleased by the clarity of vision this allegorical blockbuster provides but after reading Lawrence Wechsler's essay in November's Harper's I'm somewhat less optimistic.

In Valkyries Over Iraq, Wechsler proposes that there is no such thing as an anti-war war film. That, as with an anti-porn film that illustrates its point utilizing pornography, the very depiction itself is titillating and thus, works on some level to promote interest in, and exciting associations with, the subject.

By way of illustration, he notes that in Sam Mendes' Jarhead, marines screen an ironically-meant scene from Apocalypse Now -- an ostensibly antiwar film -- to get pumped for battle.

Sure, Chicken Little presents a slightly different scenario in terms of the contrast of image and intention but i'd gamble that the "take away" for the majority will be less a sense of foreboding than either a respect for the power of the wounded individual to change reality or perhaps just a bland deference to power. (Michael Berubé)

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