Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Thirty years after their popular television show ended, chipmunks Chip and Dale live very different lives. When a cast member from the original series mysteriously disappears, the pair must reunite to save their friend.
Review: Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, or the more fitting title, What Space Jam 2 Could’ve Been, shows what happens when you noticed the other guy’s homework got a F so you make sure to study before you submit your answers.
The main story follows Chip and Dale as they try and rescue their friend, Monterey Jack (voiced to perfection by Eric Bana) after he’s been kidnapped by the villainous Sweet Pete (Will Arnett). Pete is in the business of turning established Disney characters into bootleg versions of themselves, so he can make terrible rip-offs of their famous films (Lady and the Tramp is now Spaghetti Dogs and Peter Pan is The Flying Bedroom Boy). Most of the jokes in this movie work because Disney is poking fun at both themselves and the whole remake/reboot formula that they may not have created, but are definitely making big bank off of.
Directed by Akiva Schaffer who is joined here by his Lonely Island comedy group members Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as the voice of Dale and Jorma Taccone who does multiple voices here, as well as actor/stand up comedian John Mulaney as Chip. Mulaney is no stranger to voice acting and can most recently be heard doing his thing as Andrew Glouberman in Big Mouth as well as Spider-Ham in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I thought he was the voice of Sonic as well but that was Ben Schwartz; the two sound a lot alike, but I digress. Let’s talk about all the smart choices made here before I get into the bits that don’t quite live up to their potential.
While Sonic and the Looney Tunes are well known and well-established commodities, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers are the type of characters younger audiences will probably only be aware of through pop culture osmosis. This makes them choice characters to reboot as I don’t see many people taking to the internet to blast any studio for reinterpreting them for the big screen. The voice cast here is huge and made up of both actors you will readily recognise and voices that you probably grew up hearing but never knew the talented people behind them.
Samberg and Mulaney have fun with their roles and their comedic personalities mesh perfectly with their animated counterparts. Chip (Mulaney) is the level headed one who has moved on from his days of being a famous cartoon character, selling insurance and living with the love of his life, Millie (who happens to be a real life puppy), while Dale (Samberg) is hoping to regain his fame and has even undergone “CGI surgery” to turn himself three dimensional.
Speaking of which, I absolutely loved the artistic choices made here. The movie blends various styles of animation (Chip is still his old hand-drawn self) from both the past and the present, while setting the entire story in the real world. Think Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It makes for both an entertaining and engaging view and I’m sure a lot of people will be re-watching or, at the very least pausing numerous times, to see all the Easter eggs and meta jokes they missed on first viewing. Disney even makes fun at itself with pokes at past terrible animation choices like that of The Polar Express with Seth Rogen voicing a CG dwarf who has those uncanny valley eyes that never seem to be looking at anyone in particular and Ugly Sonic (everyone remembers the backlash when this monstrosity was revealed), which personally had me in stiches.
What doesn’t work is the story as a whole. Remove the meta jokes and all you’re really left with is another by-the-numbers adventure story. The kind we’ve seen in hundreds of similar films such as the much maligned (and deservedly so) Space Jam sequel or the Tom and Jerry Movie that came out last year, with a very similar style of placing the characters into the real world. The harsh truth is behind all those jokes and laughter, Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers doesn’t offer up much in terms of originality. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t entertain me from beginning to end.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
Have you checked out Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers? What did you think of it? And you can check out more film content that mixes animation/live action below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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