1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #29: The Rescuers Down Under

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #29: The Rescuers Down Under

Disney Movie Review: 29/52 - The Rescuers Down Under

Ryan Dosier- When Disney Animation Studios decided to make its first (and technically only) feature length sequel, they turned to The Rescuers. This seems like a very strange choice to me, since the first film was not ripe for more storytelling potential, but Disney saw something I clearly don’t, since they made The Rescuers Down Under in 1990. 

There is very little that is impressive about The Rescuers Down Under. The story is uninteresting and rather dry, even though the feel and scope of the film is much grander than the original. The Australian Outback is a really interesting choice for a setting and it is designed and presented incredibly well. The layouts and design of the setting are all really, really gorgeous and well done.

But when the story of the film starts up, The Rescuers Down Under loses what little charm it started with. Perhaps Bernard and Miss Bianca are just boring characters not fit to carry a feature film (let alone two), but once they’re back on the scene the film becomes rather monotonous. The story sees Bernard and Bianca traveling with an Australian mouse companion leading them through the Outback and wrangling various animals to help. Eventually they find the kidnapped boy and defeat the evil poacher. It really is that simple and unsurprising.

There are no songs present in the film whatsoever, which is incredibly strange after the musical successes of both Oliver and Company and The Little Mermaid directly before it. Maybe some songs would’ve added to the entertainment factor, but it’s hard to say.

The Rescuers Down Under does have a few really spectacularly animated sequences throughout. Every scene with the incredible golden eagle is amazing. It is huge in scale and flies and moves with magnificent realism.  These flying scenes are by far the best in the film and a true highlight of Disney animation.

The film is also the first to use CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) to help animate and color the characters and backgrounds. This system created the modern look of the Disney films, first shown in The Rescuers Down Under. Because of this, everything looks absolutely stunning. Comparing the look of Down Under to the look of the original Rescuers shows how well the system works and defines a new era in the look of animation. 

John Candy provides a voice in the film and he is clearly having a blast with it. He is hysterical and great and never stops talking. His scenes are the funniest of the film, but his character is really just a distraction, which is unfortunate. The rest of the voice cast is good as well, but none of them really stand out. Even Bob Newhart is just sort of passable in his role.

The Rescuers Down Under is an odd anomaly in an otherwise stalwart start of the Disney animation renaissance. It is not a bad film by any means it is just not extraordinary. The animation and the layouts are completely wonderful, but the story and characters are completely lacking. Thankfully, the film is harmless and passable. It does provide us with the first use of CAPS, which is incredible and led to much bigger and better things.

2/5 Golden Eagles

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