Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is available to stream now via Disney+.
Chip and Dale are living amongst cartoons and humans in modern-day Los Angeles, but their lives are quite different now. It has been decades since their successful television series was canceled, and Chip (voice of Mulaney) has succumbed to a life of suburban domesticity as an insurance salesman. Dale (voice of Sandberg), meanwhile, has had CGI surgery and works the nostalgia convention circuit, desperate to relive his glory days. When a former castmate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must repair their broken friendship and take on their Rescue Rangers detective personas once again to save their friend’s life.
The adventures of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers first aired on Disney Channel back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It ran for 3 seasons and remained in syndication on the Disney channel throughout the 90’s. Along with other Disney 90s cartoons such as Darkwing Duck, Ducktales and Talespin, it was these action adventures with these cartoon characters and all of them hold a special place in my heart. Flash forward to 2022 and Chip N Dale are brought back for their own movie. But writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand completely shifted what any of our expectations would have been!
It would have been easy to simply mimic all the previous live action remakes and call it day! But Disney have amazingly turned this into a semi sequel to their 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Set in a world where cartoon characters are real actors and live/exist in the real work, it follows the titular duo as they struggle with a by-gone fame of their 90’s show and a broken friendship. Dale (Andy Samberg) tried to kick up his career with numerous failed acting endeavours as well as ‘CGI Surgery’ to keep him relevant for work while Chip (John Mulaney) has moved on and living a standard life as a life insurance salesman. When an old friend is kidnapped though, they are forced to work together to uncover the shady underworld of the cartoon world.
Firstly, this film is absolutely bonkers! Much like ‘WFRR’ it is clear Disney had made some calls with other companies such as Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon to use some of their characters and give the background world more life. This is a fully realised world, not just a simple set piece, every scene is designed to work in a world where you could be 6ft 1, 14ft or even a foot tall! It adds to the submersion within the movie and the set designers deserve real credit for putting it all together.
The story is a lot darker than its main characters ever let on. This is a world where cartoon characters either have to change their entire appearance or face never being cast again! Because of this, we see many characters (or parts of them!) in dark and depressing situations and some being forced to make bootleg versions of films or being forced to sit at empty tables at fan conventions just to stay afloat.
This brings me to what makes this film shine the most, its incredible amount of character cameos, from the blink and you’ll miss it to full blown roles to some absolutely absurd takes that will leave you holding your sides in from laughter!
I won’t spoil the best of them in this review though so you will just need to watch it a few times yourself to catch them all! But for every minor cameo like having Squidwards name on a Hollywood star of fame there is a Luminere from the original animated Beauty and the Beast Disney film.
The only real let down this film has, is that it went straight to Disney+ and negated the cinema, this would have been so much fun to watch with like minded fans of the original 90’s cartoon.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is full of love and admiration of the characters and the other cartoons of a bygone era of children’s entertainment. While also managing to throw shade at the corruption and ‘use then throw’ attitude of the entertainment industry. It deserves many many watches and each time you will see something new!
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