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Okay, stay with us here.

This is a very loose Adaptation Expansion of the tale of Chanticleer the rooster, who believed his crowing made the sun shine. It is also an equally loose adaptation of the play Chanticler by the French writer Edmond Rostand (also known for Cyrano De Bergerac), bearing little resemblance to it apart from some of the characters.

In this version, Chanticleer is an affectionate caricature of Elvis Presley. After learning his singing doesn't have any effect on the weather, he runs away to seek his fortune as a rich rock star. Wouldn't you know it, Chanticleer does control the weather, so his friends run after him to try and convince him to come home and save the farm from flooding.[1] Fortunately, Chanticleer is disillusioned with his fame and fortune and fandom, and agrees to return to the farm and save the day.

Pretty straightforward as far as animated folktales go, right? Well, no. Because we didn't mention the Grand Duke, an evil wizard owl who hates the sun and wants it to rain forever. Or, speaking of, the flood that started once Chanticleer left.

The disastrous box office failure of the film, thanks in no small part to the fact that it was up against three other animated films, one of them being Beauty and the Beast, led to the bankruptcy of Don Bluth's studio.

To be fair, although the film runs in the exact opposite direction of everything Don Bluth stood for (including purposefully toning down anything truly scary), the film at least includes the very pretty character and effects animation that Bluth is well known for -- as well as quite a lot of his characteristic weirdness. A few folks even have warm nostalgia for the utter randomness and weird characters. And after all, the whole movie is supposed to be a sick kid's fever dream...

A making-of featurette can be seen here.


This movie shows examples of... Edit

  • Absolute Cleavage: Goldie.
  • Action Girl: Peepers.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Inverted with Snipes. In the original Rostand play, the blackbird was a villainous character who conspired with the predators of the night against the farm animals, along with the farm's cat. In the movie, his counterpart Snipes is a Jerkass, but is an ally of Chauntecleer and not an outright villain.
  • Adorkable: Peepers.
  • All Just a Dream: According to the Book Ends, the whole movie is supposedly a story told to a sick kid by his mother.
    • Or Was It a Dream?: Well, the (Narmy) closing sequence that awkwardly combines reality and animation certainly doesn't think so!
      • It's worth noting that Patoo's narration implies that the tale of Chanticleer, the kid's fever dream, and the live-action bits are all real. Maybe. Have we mentioned that there are moments in the script that are confusing?
  • Alternate Animal Affection: This movie has the "squashy beaks" variant, so birds can kiss like humans.
  • Animorphism: The main storyline character is the kid from the Book Ends, who is turned into a kitten by the Grand Duke. Because Furries Are Easier to Draw. And (thanks to his little-kid intonation) it sounds like he even calls himself a furry.
    • The weirdest thing about this whole plot element? It has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the story; it's mentioned at the very beginning and end of the animated portion and in a few lines that sound like they were thrown in as an afterthought. This leads more evidence to the Throw It In nature of the live-action/animation sequences.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The villain is the Grand Duke of Owls.
  • Ascended Extra: In the Rostand play, the Grand Duke and Patou only appear briefly, although Patou does warn Chanticler about the treacherous Blackbird. The Blackbird and the rival rooster who fights Chauntecler are the main antagonists in the play.
  • Astronomic Zoom: Done in the opening, going from a view of the earth from orbit to Chanticleer's uvula in a matter of seconds.
  • Ax Crazy: Hunch. He'd be frightening if he weren't so pathetically incompetant.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The vulnerable nature of this was handwaved to be the reason why Edmund was transformed in the first place.
  • Becoming the Mask: Chanticleer, in his career as a rock star, gains a Brainless Beauty of a chorus girl to be his girlfriend, on the orders of her boss who is working for the Duke to keep Chanticleer distracted and thus not crowing. However, as the narration helpfully informs us, she falls in love with him for real and brings him home.
  • Big Bad: The Grand Duke of Owls
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Grand Duke and Pinky. When the writers agree that Pinky is the Duke's minion.
  • Butt Monkey: An unnamed owl is always maltreated by the Grand Duke.
    • Hunch is also regularly abused, beaten, and inadvertently transformed into things you'd see in a fever dream.
  • Call on Me: Subverted; during the flood scene at the beginning, Edmund runs up to the window and tries to summon Chanticleer by shouting out his name, only for the Grand Duke to appear instead.
  • Captain Obvious: Edmund, who, throughout the film, repeats everything several times.
  • Carnivore Confusion: If animals in the world the Grand Duke transports Edmond to all live in the city or at least in a human like way, how are carnivores supposed to get their meal? On another note, since when do owls eat pigs, chickens, or turkeys?
    • Since always. Large owls such as the Great Horned Owl and the Eagle Owl (which is also called the Grand Duke, btw), will hunt and eat anything from rats and rabbits to piglets, cats, small dogs and even small sheep and fawns. This, of course, doesn´t explain why the Duke and his owls are so friggin huge compared to the pig (which doesn´t seem to be a piglet anyways) and the other farm animals.
    • Furry Confusion: Actually, the weirdest part about all this is the fact that the city is inhabited by animal-people. So... what does this mean for Edmund and his human family?
  • Cool Airship: Averted with Pinky's pink airship, which looks more like a flying caterpillar.
  • Cool Car: Pinky's Pink Cadillac.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Pinky.
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: The plot outline on the current DVD states that Chanticleer forgets to rise the sun because of "oversleeping". Either that, or "oversleeping" is slang term for "being in a fight with one of the villain's goons".
  • Detail-Hogging Cover: Subverted, the DVD cover actually seems to have rather cheap flatly colored drawings on a sparse background.
    • Played straight with the VHS cover, which featured the poster art.
  • Did Not Do the Research: At one point, the Grand Duke gives Hunch sunglasses to go to the city because Hunch is an owl and therefore cannot stand the sun or any kind of light. Hunch is a pygmy owl. Pygmy owls are not nocturnal.
    • Most owls aren't even consistently nocturnal anyway.
  • Disney Death: Edmund. And Peepers.
  • The Dog Bites Back: At the end when the Duke, now even smaller than a mouse, gets chased away by Hunch, who he's been threatening to kill if Edmond and the gang weren't killed.
  • Drunken Montage: Happens in one scene when the characters are trying to find Chanticleer.
  • Dueling Movies: With Beauty and the Beast, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Felix the Cat: The Movie. Guess who placed third? It's tragically ironic when a sequel to a Bluth movie without his involvement out-does an actual Bluth movie.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Edmund. It's so bad it is that sometimes you can't understand what he's saying.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Grand Duke.
  • Evil Uncle: "Uncle Dukie," the Grand Duke of Owls.
  • Expy: Goldie's design is very reminiscent of Princess Daphne from the Dragon's Lair games if she were a mutant bird thing.
    • Also her shiny, sparkling, revealing red dress makes her design similar to an anthropomorphic bird version of Jessica Rabbit.
  • Fat Southern Fox In Striped Pants: Pinky. He even plays golf and chomps cigars.
  • Feather Fingers
  • Fix It in Post: Almost all of the songs are completely covered up by narration and dialog, leaving it as muffled quiet background noise. Whether or not this is because they thought the songs were bad, or simply didn't make enough scenes for proper exposition and speech isn't clear.
    • The way this troper heard, it was the latter, and the narration was added after test-screening the film.
  • For the Evulz: The Duke doesn't seem to have much of a motive for making sure the sun never comes back other than hating the sun.
    • He's a nocturnal creature, so they would prefer it being always night.
      • But wouldn't they need to sleep eventually?
    • The light hurts the owls badly, limiting the amount of time they can be out and about. How would you feel if you could only leave your house 8-14 hours of the day without being in terrible pain? If it's always night, then the owls can go where they want, when they want.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Most obvious in the scene where Goldie, um, seduces Chanticleer on a giant swing. She appears to be pouring martini glasses full of what looks to be milk down his throat. Ick. It's supposed to be soda, as you can see from a bottle of King Soda earlier in the scene, but it still looks like milk.
  • Furry Confusion: Okay, so in the beginning the animals live on a farm. Then, after Edmund shows up, they all go to the city. But the city is not populated by humans, but instead by more Funny Animals. A-bwauh?!?
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Hunch breaks into Pinky's aircraft while the good guys are trying to escape, he jumps down from the aircraft's entrance, hangs from a rope and, for a brief second, stares at Goldie's breasts before she slaps him away. Made funnier with Charles Nelson Reilly's signature "Hur hrrrmmm" laugh (and even funnier when one realizes that Reilly was gay).
    • The 'other way' Goldie can break out of being a chorus girl.
  • Happily Ever After
  • Jerkass: Snipes the magpie.
  • Karmic Transformation: Edmund, a "scaredy-cat", gets turned into a cat by the Duke. This was actually so that the Duke could eat him for trying to call back Chanticleer ("Kittens are more digestible", apparently) but the point still stands.
  • Kick the Dog: The Duke's threats his own nephew that he will kill and eat him if he doesn't kill the good guys. One of Pinky's toad bodyguards kicks a grill for no reason.
  • Large Ham: The Duke and Hunch.
    • "But you see, we creatures of the night have worked very hard to make absoLYUUTEly sure that that..BIRD does not return!"
  • Lethal Joke Character: Hunch has a swiss army knife with everything in it. This would make it seem like the heroes are doomed to death, but Hunch is as dim-witted as he is aggressive, coming to the Grand Duke's disadvantage.
  • Light Is Good / Dark Is Evil
  • Limit Break: Chanticleer's crowing at the climax of the movie.
  • Mind Screw: Oh yeah, most of it unintentional.
  • Minion with an F In Evil: Hunch, who attempts to kill Edmond's group twice, but only helps them get further along in their mission. The first time, he "sucked em' into an adequate pipe" which only lead them to the city and the second time he tried killing them while they were tied up, but he only let them loose.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Goldie's reaction to losing her high heels while climbing a ladder

  Aaaaah! My SHOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEESSS!!!

    • Hilariously, Goldie's shoes reappear on her feet a couple shots later.
    • How about The Duke singing about how Patoo bit his leg? Complete with one of his henchmen standing behind him making the sad face.
      • To be fair Patoo got a pretty good chunk in the bite, which had to hurt, and likely would have broken the leg had the Duke not managed to shake him off. Still hammy though.
      • It was bad enough that he had to have the wound dressed for most of the movie, and the movie had to take place over a minimum of three or four days.
  • Mr. Exposition: Patoo the dog doubles as the narrator, who explains. Every. Single. Thing. That. Goes. On. In the movie. Except for the really weird things, which you'd think would have demanded further explanation.
  • Nice Hat: Edmond's raccoon-fur hat. Although coupled with his long-sleeved baggy sweatshirt it makes him look like a Palette Swapped Fievel sometimes.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Brought on by Chanticleer not being around to raise the sun, except for that one time where it did come up without him.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Goldie's voice calls to mind that of Marilyn Monroe.
  • No Name Given: The Duke's owl henchmen (besides Hunch), the rabbit that warns Stewie the pig as the flashlight is going out, and all of the other farm animals that stay at Edmond's house and nearly get eaten by the Duke.
    • According to The Animated Movie Guide, the rabbit's name is Minnie.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: Chanticleer and Goldie.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Goldie.
  • One for Sorrow, Two For Joy: Snipes the magpie.
  • One-Winged Angel : Near the end, the Grand Duke regurgitates magic all over himself and becomes a giant tornado demon.
    • Clipped-Wing Angel: After Chanticleer does his thing at the climax, the Grand Duke is shrunk to barely a couple inches high, even smaller than his own nephew, who then chases him off trying to eat him.
  • Owl Be Damned: The Grand Duke and his minions.
  • Petting Zoo People with a Non-Mammal Mammaries chaser: Thanks to Don Bluth's bizarre idea of attempting to mimic Jessica Rabbit's sex appeal.
  • Plot Hole: The sun rising once (and only once) without Chanticleer is never explained. Then there's the ending, which seems to imply that the whole thing was a fever-dream. No, wait, it was real. No, wait... aw, forget it. Roll credits.
    • The opening narration seems to imply the sun woke up, took a look around, and then went back to sleep... which still doesn't explain the situation since Chanticleer was supposed to raise the sun, implying that the sun shouldn't have risen at all unless he crowed...
      • You're presumably supposed to assume that since the Duke has magical powers and arranged the whole thing, he was also able to make the sun rise temporarily to fool everyone. Why they don't notice the sun going back down as Chanticleer leaves is another question.
      • The way this troper understands it is the sun is like an electric alarm clock. It has a little battery with a couple hours of emergency power but needs an outside source of energy (in this case, Chanticleer's crowing) to continually function. The sun rising without the crow and then going down that one time is it using up its reserve power. When Chanticleer gives that big crow at the end, it supercharges the sun, causing it to rise to mid-day levels almost immediately.
  • The Power of Rock
  • Punch Clock Villain: It is implied by the way Hunch walks to the Duke with a smile that says "Finally!" whenever the Duke says "Come to Uncle" that he just wants his uncle's attention. The reason why he looks so happy when he thinks he's about to kill the good guys is most likely because he knows if he gets the job done right, his Uncle Dukey will love him. Murray, Pinky's assistant, may also count, although we don't see much of him.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Just how old is that kid supposed to be?
    • Hilariously, the trailers for the movie dubbed the kid's voice over with another actor, correctly assuming that hearing him talk would not be an incentive to see the film. They kept it in the actual movie, sadly.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The transitions between the Live-Action and Animated segments. The effects are pretty embarrassing in the wake of Roger Rabbit though.
  • Say My Name: "CHANTICLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!"
  • Shout-Out: When Edmund and co. are floating down the river on the way to the city, Hunch and the owls prepare to attack, while Hunch is humming "Ride of the Valkyries".
    • Edmond is named after the French writer Edmond Rostand, who wrote the play that the movie is (very) loosely adapted from.
  • Sissy Villain: The Grand Duke, voiced by Christopher Plummer, enjoys baking and embroidery, and is a phone cord twiddler. Poor guy wasn't allowed to do anything really evil after the concerned parents in the preview audiences got through with him.
    • Hunch is even worse though. Oh, and Beware the Nice Ones- the bakers/phone cord twiddlers are the true psychopaths.
  • Smug Snake: The Duke.
  • Species-Coded for Your Convenience: Owls are evil, all other animals (except frogs/toads and foxes) are good.
  • Species Surname: "Grand Duc" is the French name for the eagle owl. Compare the photo on that page to the Duke's character design.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Grand Duke of owls or sometimes just "The Duke".
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Hunch has one of these with nearly every common item you could think of in it.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Everyone will sing about pretty much anything going on. A group of bouncers sing about how they're bouncing groupies. The owls sing about how they hate the sun. The owls sing about how they're eating the farm animals or how farm animals are running out of batteries.
  • Third Person Person: Sometimes the Duke does this, such as "But that is not why The Duke is going to eat you.", and "The Duke gives you one last chance!".
  • This Was His True Form: When Edmond "dies," he returns to his live-action human form.
  • Toothy Bird: Since there are so many birds in this movie, of course some of them are bound to show their pearly whites at at least one point in the movie.
  • The Unseen: Murray (Pinky's chauffeur/valet), until the chase, where he becomes a One-Scene Wonder.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: At the end, you can see Chanticleer and Goldie's son and daughter very briefly. Look for them sitting on the first rung of a fence during the finale.
  • Villain Song: The Duke and his owls get three -- "Never Let Him Crow/We Hate the Sun", "No Batteries!" and "The Owl's Picnic".
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The sun and any source of light for the Duke Of Owls. Any source of light, even a flashlight.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Duke frequently threatens to kill and/or eat Edmund, who can't be much older than six (and that's being generous). Oh and let's not forget the fact that he actually strangles him nearly to death in the climax.
  • Your Size May Vary: Oh, God. Just check out the scene in Goldie's trailer. In a world with talking animals and no (non-live action) humans to speak of, why does she live in a room full of ridiculously large objects?

Notes

  1. It wasn't necessarily the WEATHER Chanticleer controlled, but rather the sunrise. Without his crowing every morning, the sun would never rise.