Friday, June 3, 2022

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)


Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Length: 1h 37min
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: Mandeville Films, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Writers: Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Tad Stones, Alan Zaslove, Kathleen Shugrue
Actors: Andy Samberg, Anthony Molinari, Chris Parnell, Dennis Haysbert, Emil Beheshti, Eric Bana, Heather Dragulescu, J.K. Simmons, James Joseph Pulido, James M. Black, John Mulaney, Julian Graham, Juliet Donenfeld, Keegan-Michael Key, Kenzo Lee, KiKi Layne, Mason Blomberg, Matt Cook, Paula Abdul, Ryan Alosio, Seth Rogen, Sophie Fatu, Tim Robinson, Tress MacNeille, Victor Turpin, Will Arnett
IMDb Blurb: In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, 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 has succumbed to a life of suburban domesticity as an insurance salesman. Dale, 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.
Cat’s Point of View:
I was so excited for Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers to hit Disney+. My daughter was even eagerly anticipating watching this movie as a family – and she really hadn’t gotten into the animated series. I, on the other hand, had watched it every day when it originally aired 1989-1990 on Fox’s afternoon cartoon block. I was 11 at the time and adored every bit of the after-school cartoon fare. I’m hoping that, in the wake of this film, she might want to watch the old series with me for a good giggle. I digress…

In my #3 entry for my Top 20 Movies to Look Out for in May article, I anticipated a lot of feelings of nostalgia from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) with live-action characters mingling with animated ones throughout the story. It’s a fascinating world to imagine, where animations are just as real as anyone else and are shown in and out of character for the productions they’re known for.
That sort of element also helped sell some of the casting differences between the original voice actors for the roles and those in this new movie. A prime example of this was Zipper, who was voiced by Dennis Haysbert (24, Ted 2, Fist Fight). In the series, Zipper really didn’t “talk” in a way people could understand as cohesive language for the most part. His voice was high-pitched and fast-paced. Haysbert’s voice is the exact opposite of that and the deep resonating tones were initially odd to hear, but reinforced that this Zipper was outside of his role in the old show and living his normal life.

None of the performances or new character voices did any disservice to the characters – there was just a clear line of demarcation between their in-character personas for the show and their regular selves. It’s another case of the high squeaky voice for the show for the chipmunks and decidedly otherwise voices for the majority of the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie. I felt John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Dickinson) and Andy Samberg (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania) were believable in their respective roles as modern-day Chip and Dale. Not everyone got a revised vocal performance, though. Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons, Animaniacs, Futurama) reprised her role as Gadget and also gave us the traditional high-pitched chipmunk voice for at least one of the primary duo.
All of the Easter Eggs, laced throughout this Rescue Rangers adventure, were a lot of fun. Some were obvious and jumped right out at me. Others took a second viewing to pick up on. I think fans of animation should get a kick out of spotting them throughout the feature.

The story was actually more interesting and had a bit more heart than I originally gave it credit for from watching the trailer a few times. Honestly, it didn’t really matter to me since I was in it for the nostalgia and sharing something I loved when I was younger with my daughter – but those who might need more to take away from this Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers would find a bit of substance here beneath the silly cartoon veneer.
That actually brings me to the elephant in the room. There has been a bit of controversy swirling around some character decisions made in Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers – specifically regarding the story’s villain. I’m afraid there’s not much I can specifically address without spoilers, but the crux of the situation is that the ‘bad guy’ strongly resembles a former child star who was let go by Disney as they aged and their lives took a decidedly tragic turn. Some have found that this choice was in poor taste as a story element here. I can’t entirely disagree, but at the same time Disney is putting egg on their own face with this plot element. The story doesn’t mock the individual outright. It’s unfortunate, but not something egregious enough for me to outright cancel the whole production over. It did, however, affect my rating somewhat.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was everything I wanted it to be, and then some. The different styles of animation and the running gag on bootleg animations certainly hit the mark. If you have access to Disney+, this would be a fun movie for summer viewing. You can bet I’ll be watching something related to the Rescue Rangers again soon, myself. The theme song is currently on loop in my head. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 82%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 82%
Metascore – 66%
Metacritic User Score – 6.5/10
IMDB Score – 7.1/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

P.S. - There is a brief additional scene during the closing credits.
Movie Trailer:

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