They’re back and better than ever, if you’re in danger just give them a call!
Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers is now streaming on Disney+ and with a reboot such as this, how well did it do compared to all of Disney’s other live-action attempts?
Rescue Rangers, for those who don’t know, was an animated adventure show starring Chip and Dale. Along with their friends, Gadget, Zipper and Monterey Jack, the gang go around the world saving the day.
The show was a part of the Disney Afternoon block, other shows included were Ducktales, Darkwing Duck and Tale Spin.
However, this time around the chipmunks join a wider, star-studded cast with a mission to save their friend, Monterey Jack, and find all the missing toons.
The movie is obviously very similar to the 1988 movie, Who Frame Roger Rabbit: a personal favourite of mine. From the animation style to the humor the movie just screams Roger Rabbit.
Funnily enough, Roger Rabbit only shows up in the movie for a split second, with his wife, Jessica Rabbit, being name dropped later in the film.
I love it when movies embrace different styles, and in a way, franchises; but I’ll get onto that later. The animation varies from stop-motion, 2D, 3D, puppetry and even the creepy half animated half human characters you’d see from movies like The Polar Express.
Sometimes the animation can look a little...iffy, especially when it’s “2D” characters interacting with real-world items. It looks particularly odd when “2D” characters are wearing real clothes instead of animated ones, you can just tell it’s a regular guy who’s been doodled over.
A lot of the 2D characters are actually 3D renders, they’re just cell-shaded to come across as 2D, and it sometimes works.
Onto the characters and the colourful cast that play them, for me the main selling point of this movie was that John Mulaney would be playing Chip. For anyone that knows me, they know I’m a sucker for anything John Mulaney. Besides his stand-up, he was great as Spiderham from Into the Spiderverse.
Mulaney does a great vocal performance as Chip, sometimes in emotional scenes he does sound a little lacking but overall he does a great performance. But no duo is complete without the other half, Dale, performed by Andy Samberg is wonderful.
The character and voice are so fun and lighthearted, sometimes it can get a little annoying, but it works well when combatted with Chip’s sarcasm. Their chemistry is great and I hope they continue to do projects together.
Now the plot of the movie isn’t anything new, it’s not boring but it isn’t the most groundbreaking thing you’ve ever seen. The movie focuses on the missing toons that were toon-napped after owing some money to Sweet Pete, voiced by Will Arnett.
The toons that can’t pay up get forced into doing bootleg movies for the rest of their lives, and honestly? It was a pretty dark tone for the movie to take. One moment you’re singing along to the theme tune, the next you’re traumatised by flounder being forced into a bootleg movie in another country.
Even though Sweet Pete is set up to be the main villain, we do see another one of his lackeys in the form of the police chief, played by J.K. Simmons.
Man, I absolutely adore J.K. Simmons, anything he does is pure gold, especially his voice work. Most notably, his work in the Valve game Portal 2 is exceptional. He’s also done work on the Disney show, Gravity Falls and played the mayor in Zootopia.
And let’s not forget his most iconic role as the yellow M&M.
The twist wasn’t really needed, Sweet Pete made a great villain on his own. I know the whole point of the twist was to fall into a Hollywood cliché, but it didn’t really matter story wise. Sure, it’s fun to say we won’t do this cliché because it’s been done so many times before and it’s too obvious, but they end up doing it anyway.
Sure, it’s a great joke, but after the punchline you’re stuck with this character that has no real importance and feels like a complete 180 from what we already knew about the character.
Background/side characters like Ellie were fun, there wasn’t much of a connection between the three and she felt a little wasted at times. I’m not sure if she was completely needed in the story at all, in fact, the whole police plotline could have been pushed aside and allowed more room for the chipmunks.
It would have been nice to see some more flashbacks from the “glory” days or see how being separated really affects Chip and Dale’s life.
Moving onto the cameos, this movie is cameo city; it definitely makes up for the lack in Multiverse of Madness. No franchise is left untouched, and it’s honestly impressive. Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Star Wars, Paramount, Fox, Disney; anything and everything is in this movie.
Here are some of my personal favourites: Shrek shampoo bottles, He-Man and Skeletor, Looney Tunes, Roger Rabbit, Scrooge McDuck, MC Skat Cat and Paula Abdul, The Simpsons and Pokemon.
Though I feel like the main star of this movie, and what everyone will most likely remember is the cameo we never thought we’d see again.
Let me take you back to November 2019, the world was still going on before the pandemic and a movie trailer for a certain video game franchise had just been released much to everyone’s disgust. Sonic The Hedgehog was here in all his glory, human teeth and everything.
The internet freaked out, they raged out about his design. In early 2020, we saw the new trailer, with a new redesign that was cute and fluffy, and the world was sane until March.
And now here we are in the present day, the Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers movie has been released and who do we see 23 minutes into the movie...Ugly Sonic.
I never thought I’d see him again, but when he came on screen I howled laughing, I’m pretty sure the sound I made isn’t humanly possible. I thought it would be a one-time cameo, but no... this...thing kept popping up. He was even a big part of the final act, and I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing, this disgusting creature is back on our screens and he’s very entertaining. But the design still gets me, and I hate that he’s there...and yet...he might be my favourite character from the movie just because it’s so left-field of him to be here.
I just want to know how Disney got the rights to use one of the worst things I have ever seen in my 20 years of living on this planet. How’d you do it, Mickey? Do you have something on the hog?
As I was watching the movie, I felt like there wasn’t enough reference to the Disney Afternoon shows, sure we got a nod to Talespin and Ducktales; but there’s one more.
The one show that I absolutely love and there was seemingly no mention to it, that was until the end of the movie.
The credits roll, the Rescue Rangers walk out on stage together again and the theme tune plays out. But what’s that? The camera pans over the stage to a booth, where none other than DarkWing Duck is sitting, begging for a movie about himself.
And honestly? I want to see it!
Where’s the Darkwing Duck movie? Superhero movies are all the rage now days, so where’s my superhero duck that patrols the streets of Saint Canard? And how can you not include his theme tune? In my honest opinion, and as a fan, I think the Darkwing Duck show had one of the best theme tunes from the Disney Afternoon block.
Anyway, back to the movie. There aren’t many negatives I have; the action was great; the comedy was outstanding. It definitely felt like someone just wanted to make Roger Rabbit 2 and slapped something for the 90s babies on it. There are some clever gags and there were many moments where I audibly laughed out loud, LOL, if you will.
Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers is a great movie and deserved better than a straight to streaming release, I think with the right marketing this could have been a big movie if it was in cinemas. But the question is, how well does it rack up to Disney’s other live-action reboots?
We all know the live-action reboots have a bad rap, most of which is completely and utterly deserved, but why? It feels pretty simple to say you can never recreate something from an animated world in live-action and it be 100% faithful to the original source material.
Take the 2019 Lion King reboot for example, by using “live-action” animals the movie lost its emotion and expression. By setting it in realistic backgrounds, the movie lost all the colour and fun that the original had. Taking out some of the songs made the movie feel dull, it felt more like a documentary than a Disney movie.
The only time I think anything ever came close to a good live-action movie was Who Frame Roger Rabbit, and that movie succeeded because it embraced the toons. The movie relied on animation as much as it did live-action. It was still a serious movie with serious actors and expressions, but it also didn’t shy away from the comedy and campness that is animation.
Sure, it’s not a fully live-action reboot, but it feels more realistic than anything Disney has tried putting out recently. Disney works best when it’s set in faraway lands, with things you’ve never seen before. It pulls out the magic when you just see a regular lion in a bit of dry land.
And that’s where I think Chip and Dale succeed compared to these other movies, they took the Roger Rabbit approach and embraced the toon. They had serious plots and tones but still kept it funny and light by having cartoons mix with the real-world. And as I said, it works out great.
Overall, Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers is no Encanto or Roger Rabbit, but it is one of the best reboots to come out of the mouse’s house in a long time. It’s funny and does offer its audience some serious underlining tones. The cameos are great, you could spend hours picking out characters from every franchise imaginable.
The acting is amazing, the look of the film in general is stunning and Ugly Sonic...well, he’s there too.
Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers gets 3 out of 5 nuts from me.
Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers is streaming on Disney+