When I was a kid, Chip and Dale (or Tic and Tac, as our French cousins call them, according to the end credit sequence here…) were two of my favourite characters in Walt Disney World. They also had a series of short cartoons which I saw via Disney Channel sell-through collections. The Rescue Rangers series, whilst I caught some episodes, mostly through my younger sister watching them, only really crossed my threshold via the excellent video games that came from that block of Disney Afternoon favourites. Yes, kids, there was no YouTube.
Now, in a world where everything gets rebooted, my two fave funky munks return – the cleverest thing here is that it is NOT a reboot, it happens in the same universe as the original series, which was also a series in this world of toons and humans. Got it? Good.
The magic first becomes clear when you scan the credits. It stars Jorma and Andy of The Lonely Island and is directed by third islander Akiva Schaffer. Soooo, it is kind of a follow up to Popstar, not as good of course, but what, aside from Spinal Tap, is? Instead of the musical world, here we are in the equally cut throat world of kids entertainment, as those heroes you loved are chucked on the scrapheap after one film and have to find other ways to make money.
When Monterey Jack (from the original RR) gets too deep into a cheese addiction he cannot pay for (yes, really) he finds himself in the terrifying world of bootleg merchandise where your favourite characters are not quite your favourite characters. You know, stuff like ‘A Car’s Life’ etc. The film makes its own up, my favourite of which is Lady And The Tramp, I mean Spaghetti Dogs. Brilliant. Sight gags? This film has hundreds of them, as well as the pirate video boxes, there are billboards, bench ads and bus stop advertising, which pass silently but will no doubt reward return viewing – who is up for a watch of Mr Doubtfire – starring Meryl Streep?
The other constant, like in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the king of this sort of thing is reference to and appearance of many many characters, some iconic, some hardly known, they fly in, sometimes literally and then they are gone, but they bring plenty of laughs. Without highlighting too many, fans of Beavis and Butthead, South Park, Ren and Stimpy, The Lion King and that famous Paula Abdul video should not get up to get popcorn…The only one I feel free to mention, because the Internet is all talking about him so you have probably heard but UGLY SONIC IS IN THIS. Yes, that original, much hated, version of the blue blur finds himself, after being spurned from his own big screen adventure, showing up at comic book conventions, even using the Ugly Sonic name “You can’t hurt me if I am in on the joke!”. This is my absolute favourite part of the thing, aside from a 4 Seth Rogen scene. Be ready!
Andy Samberg and John Mulaney shine as the adventurous pair, charming when alone and chaotic when suddenly interacting with some of the biggest animated characters ever. The film never stops (never stopping, seeee?) and it is a joy waiting (never very long) to see where it goes next. And yes, Roger Rabbit himself does make an appearance, which I don’t think is a spoiler as I saw him in trailers, so we are okay there.
Going straight to streaming means that Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers is almost guaranteed to be a hit, but I am sure that it would have found its home on the big screen too. Sure, it might not be as good as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or Monkeybone and you might not return to it like you do The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, but it is head and shoulders above Cool World, Tom And Jerry and other attempts to prove it is a small (animated) world after all and certainly worth 90 minutes of your time.
Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers Is Available Now On Disney+