'Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers' Review: Oh Lord, Save Me
Tightly targeted at grown-ups with fond but not very accurate memories, the film debuts on Disney Plus.
Now Streaming: I've never felt so old as I did while watching this feature-length adaptation of a television series that I'm sure is beloved by somebody, somewhere.
A bewildering combination of live-action people and landscapes serve as background for the, animated characters who inhabit the meta-world depicted in Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers, which posits that its titular twosome became television stars back in the 1980s before splitting up, only to reunite in the present day to complete a mission.
Granted, I am not the target audience for this movie, which is aimed at grown-ups with fond recollections of the television series that originally aired from 1989 to 1993. My own memories date back to the original incarnation of the characters, created in 1943 and appearing in 23 animated short films, the last in 1956 -- before I was born -- and which I have some vague memory of seeing sometime later, most likely on television.
In any event, I love animation, so I was open to the idea of this movie. John Mulaney and Andy Samberg voice the titular twosome, who meet early in their lives, become best friends throughout their childhood, move to Hollywood, and then hit it big before splitting up. Decades later, one of them -- sorry, I couldn't keep track of which one, which isn't helped by the similarity in the sing-song voices employed by Mulaney and Samberg -- remains an aspiring actor, while the other has married and settled into a routine life as a non-show business citizen.
I must have missed an explanatory line about why one of them remains animated in 2D and the other appears 3D in the present day; I'm sure it sounded like a clever idea to the filmmakers. Also, I'm not sure why the film is overwhelmed with so many, many characters from so many different cartoon universes; there's tacit acknowledgement of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but perhaps that's a holdover from the TV show? I dunno.
The "IP run wild" idea feels like a cheap copy of the worst ideas in Free Guy (the weak Ryan Reynolds movie from last year), though there are also lame jokes about "Uncanny Valley" characters that felt old and creaky even when they were first made 20 years ago.
In general, the movie smells like recycled trash that's been washed up and dried out and offered for fresh consumption. Not for me, thank you. [Disney Plus]