In new movie, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, 30 years have passed since Chip and Dale were TV stars, playing the roles of gumshoes in a hit Disney cartoon. But while Chip has put his celebrity career behind him by taking an office job, Dale is appearing at fan conventions in order to pay the bills, all the while hoping he’ll return to his past glories.
The lives of the two chipmunks have taken vastly different paths, which are unlikely to converge. That is until their former co-star, Monterey Jack, goes missing, and the pair are forced to reconnect and work together to find him.
As they dig deeper into the case, Chip and Dale uncover a worrying situation involving other missing cartoon characters and a bootleg movie industry. But will they be able to crack the case and locate their friend, or will their unresolved personal issues get in the way, putting Monty’s life at risk?
Combining live-action with animation, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is an action-comedy from director Akiva Schaffer. The movie features the voice talents of John Mulaney, Andy Samberg, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Seth Rogen, and J. K. Simmons, and is new to Disney+ from today.
Taking a similar path to Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), the movie uses a mystery plotline to form the backbone of the film, before fleshing out the story with plenty of satirical humour and lots of cartoon cameos. In fact, just like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, half the fun of this movie lies in the in-jokes, nods, and references to past cartoon stars, some of which are non-Disney characters.
No spoilers here, but a strong plus point of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is that while this is a Disney movie, the film isn’t just an in-house love-fest which delves into its own property portfolio. Plenty of iconic characters from other studios get referenced in this picture, including one very surprising movie reject, to ensure this feels like a fully fleshed out film and a love letter to animation as a whole.
The jokes are also pretty good too. There are enough gags in the film to keep things fun throughout, with the interplay between Chip and Dale being the driving force behind the picture.
What works best about Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is the tone and approach of the movie. This is a film which is written for both children and adults alike, with the two generations getting something different out of the film depending on their age.
Those who grew up watching the Rescue Rangers cartoon back in the ‘90s, will get a huge shot of nostalgia at every turn, and will understand and appreciate the way in which Chip and Dale’s lives have panned out over the past 30 years. Meanwhile, younger audiences, who probably have little concept of Chip and Dale, will find themselves with enough action and adventure to remain interested at all times, regardless of who the title characters are.
Director Akiva Schaffer, and writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand, have worked hard to ensure this film works on these two levels, and as such, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a solid family film. This is the type of picture that everyone can gather round and enjoy, irrespective of age.
I also expect that with this film premiering on Disney+, which is also home to old episodes of the Rescue Rangers, the movie will help steer audiences toward the classic cartoon. Adults will want to reconnect with a favourite show from their past, to see if it is as fun as they remember, while kids will want to check it out for the first time.
So, mostly positive stuff from Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers. This is a fun film, which leans heavy into self-referential humour, and has been put together by people who seem to care about the movie they have made.
Is it the best live-action/animated hybrid film? No.
While it follows in the footsteps of the aforementioned Roger Rabbit movie, it never quite hits the same heights of creativity or originality. However, I feel this is largely because this approach to movie making has been done before, and we are now living in an age where crossovers, multiverses, and cameos dominate our lives, so we kind of expect to see this kind of storytelling in our movies.
But believe me, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is far superior to say, something like Space Jam: A New Legacy, which tried this sort of thing last year and failed miserably. Rather than just being a 90(ish)-minute excuse to hurl cameos and cross-promotions at the screen, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers has something to say, which is why it works as much as it does.
If you are a long-time fan of Rescue Rangers then you don’t need me to tell you to watch the movie, but I’ll tell you anyway: Watch this film. You are sure to enjoy it.
As for everyone else, this is good stuff. It won’t necessarily rock your world, but Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers provides enough entertainment to sustain its runtime and if you’ve got kids, they will have a blast.
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