The Rescue Rangers Are Back!
When the trailer for this movie first dropped, there was such a mixed bag of reactions online. Some criticized the look of the varying animation styles, others expressed their disdain of rebooting the old show, and a small few were actually intrigued or excited. I myself thought the trailer looked super fun, and at the very least would feature a fun mix of 2D and 3D animation. Maybe it was because I didn’t grow up watching Rescue Rangers all that much as a kid that I wasn’t so opposed to this movie. I looked at this film as potentially a new Roger Rabbit for a new generation, which seems a bit backwards considering this movie is sort of a continuation of an older show. To my surprise, this movie exceeded all my expectations.
Self-Aware Humor Saves the Movie
With John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, it’s no surprise that this movie is just exploding with jokes and hilarious bits. The majority of the humor in this movie is just very meta and tongue-in-cheek. I was surprised that Disney, and the other studios who lent some of their IPs, allowed some of these jokes. And it wasn’t just jokes on the various characters and movies that these big studios put out, they also made jabs at the state of Hollywood and the unoriginal, reboot. remakes and sequels that they keep cranking out. (Some of the jokes are very on the nose here.) The two comedians have great chemistry together and deliver their jokes excellently. Now if only Mulaney could give life to his character rather than just reading right off the script. Sometimes it’s better to get real professional voice actors Disney!
The film also features so many blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gags in almost every scene. All these laugh out loud jokes accompanied with the action of the plot will have audiences engaged for every second of this movie. I will say that the film uses a lot of shock and awe with their jokes and this might damper the rewatchability of the movie since you’ll already know all the outrageous cameos and scenarios.
Nods of Nostalgia Done Well
Going into my first viewing of this movie I was worried of two things: that this movie would really pander to the fans of the original show or that this movie wouldn’t acknowledge the source material and expand upon it in a fun and new way. Luckily the team behind this movie were able to find a sweet spot of referencing Rescue Rangers while also embracing the future of these characters in a fun way. Fans of the show will get plenty of fun Easter Eggs and callbacks to some of their favorite episodes while also poking fun at how strange that show was at times. And since this movie is supposed to appeal to the kids who don’t know who the Rescue Rangers are, it doesn’t waste a lot of time being bogged down by nostalgia and presents these characters in a new and entertaining light.
Mixed Feelings on the Mix of Animation
Now for some of the cons for this movie. One of the draws this movie had was the mix of 2D and 3D animation combined with a live action setting. For the most part, all the animation looks great (or purposefully bad). Maybe it just need time to get used to, but I found the appearance of Chip and Dale in the opening sequence to be a bit off. The only way I can think to describe what I mean is how some people thought that the visual style of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse was a little hard to look at in some scenes. Chip and Dale just seemed kind of jittery and hard to focus on. But as soon as the plot gets going and we’ve had some time with the characters, the look of the two chipmunks looked great.
All the other characters look great too. A stand out character would be Chief Putty played by the talented J.K. Simmons. A spoof of Gumby and old claymation characters, Putty adds this fun, dynamic movement and energy to every scene that he’s in. The inclusion of claymation really made me wish that Disney had implemented this idea for a character back in the 80’s when they made Roger Rabbit. The background characters interacting with the real world had very similar vibes to the one-shot sequence from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but there was an element of charm missing. As a big fan of Roger Rabbit I was really hoping they would lean into the charm that Robert Zemeckis and crew had. It’s probably just because nowadays it’s so easy to incorporate the unreal into reality whereas back then so much work and timing had to go into a scene of a stork riding a bicycle or a hippo sitting down on a bench. But that isn’t to say that Zemeckis’ influence is absent from this film. There are plenty of fun nods to the world and similar ideas of Roger Rabbit included in the plot of Rescue Rangers.
A So-So Story That Checks All the Action Movie Boxes
Not that it was a real detriment to the movie, but the plot is very predictable. Luckily every other aspect of this movie makes up for the lackluster plot. I do have to give credit where credit is due though; I was very happy to see that the writers for this movie went with a film noir detective story, similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The film follows the titular chipmunks in present day having to come together and solve the case of their missing friend, Monterey Jack. While the plot never gets as twisty or exciting as other detective stories, the beats of the film are appreciated by fans of the genre. The clear signs of Zemeckis’ influence were a joy. The idea that the villain of the Rescue Rangers movie kidnaps toons to force them to star in his bootleg movie studio feels very reminiscent of Judge Doom erasing toons from existence. There’s even a brief shot where you see a bottle of The Dip in the movie!
Final Thoughts and Consensus
I know that people are going to look at this movie and see it as Disney just advertising all of their IPs and trying to be “edgy” by making fun of all their terrible live action remakes and other various sequels and reboots, but I gotta say that it’s genuinely a really fun time. This movie will have you laughing out loud, having you in shock over some of the cameos this movie features, and leave you nostalgic for those old Saturday morning cartoons and animated movies from your childhood. Despite the lackluster performance from John Mulaney, the iffy animation, and the basic plot, I give this movie a solid 9/10 and highly recommend it to anyone who wants some fun, dumb humor.
Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers is streaming exclusively on Disney+ on May 20
While the plot is nothing new and exciting, the blending of animation styles and meta humor make this movie super fun, hilarious, and just a joy to watch.
Even when I was just a young kid I had always been fascinated in film and the work that goes into them. I love animation, blockbuster hits, indie films and everything in between. Some day I’ll have the privilege of being apart of the filmmaking process.