- Hamish Hart
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) Review
THE idea of blending traditional 2-D and 3-D animation is hardly a new concept, but Disney+'s Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers manages to put a new spin on the notion by overshadowing its unusual mix of animation with self-referential humour that lands during minor interactions, but misses at the most important of times.
Thirty years following the show's cancellation, co-stars Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) have gone their seperate ways; Chip moving on to a humdrum office job, and Dale attempting to grasp onto the glory days. After receiving a distress call from old friend Monterey Jack (Eric Bana), Chip and Dale are left with no choice but to reunite and find out the truth behind their friend's sudden disappearance.
Having the beloved cartoon duo return as a pair of Hollywood has-beens is certaintly an intriguing idea, and for the most part, is handled with integrity and class. However as the film progresses and introduces its main villain, much of that class is immediately lost. A minor spoiler (even though it was shown in the film's promotinal material), the villain is revealed early on to be an older version of Peter Pan (Will Arnett) who explains he was cast out of the business after growing too old and became a shadow of his former self, becoming homeless and shunned by society. Whether it was intentional on Disney's part to represent Pan in this form or not, considering the fact that the original Peter Pan actor Bobby Driscoll was fired by Disney after developing a severe case of acne caused by puberty, leading him to alcholosim, homelessness, and death at age 31, this just comes off as inconsiderate and tastless on the company's part. If you're unfamilar with Driscoll's story, Chip 'n Dale's anatagonist is perfectly fine, but once you know the backstory of Peter Pan's actor, it's impossible to seperate fact from fiction which leaves a distasteful aura on the plot as a whole.
In terms of overall comedy, as mentioned previously, it's either hit or miss. While Chip 'n Dale contains small segments of hilarity, majority of the comedy relies solely on nostalgia, meta-humour, or both. This form of comedy has been handled well in the past, but Chip 'n Dale fails to understand the meaning behind subtley and pushing a joke too far. When Ugly Sonic appears, a character based off an interent meme and original design for Sonic the Hedgehog from 2019, it is enjoyable to see. But they keep repeating the exact same joke throughout what feels like the entire movie when it wasn't even that funny to begin with. If this scene was only shown once, it would have been a highlight, but now it's looked back as a failed attempt at a joke; wasted potential all around.
And that's ultimately the best way to describe Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: wasted potenital. The movie's awkward blend of 2-D and 3-D animation, along with peculiar choices of self-referential humour results in a film that could have been an unforgettable modern classic, and while I can't call it a bad movie as there were jokes and scenes I enjoyed, Disney's stubborn attitude at poking fun at other films and not their own leads to a gigantic mixed bag of bad jokes, unnatural animation, and unequal quality levels of vocal performances. Check it out if you're in the mood for a quick comedic romp, but if you're searching for a animatied feature with a little more substance and style, this is an easy skip.