Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

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.

The stars of the 1990s Disney Afternoon animated series reunite for a new adventure in Chip ‘n Dale: Recuse Rangers. Thirty years ago, lifelong friends Chip () and Dale () had a big break with their hit TV series named after them, though they went their separate ways when Dale decided to pursue a solo career. However, both are called by their old co-star Monterey Jack (), who owes money to a criminal named Sweet Pete (), who has been kidnapping cartoon stars and turning them into foreign bootlegs. When Monterey Jack subsequently becomes the latest kidnapee and Police Captain Putty (J. K. Simmons) considers the case hopeless, Chip and Dale reluctantly reteam to find their friend, with the help of human rookie police detective Ellie Steckler ().

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a live-action/animated hybrid directed by Akiva Schaffer (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping) of the comedy trio The Lonely Island, which also includes Andy Samberg, who voices Dale, who in the last 30 years has undergone “CGI surgery” and whose career has been relegated to poorly-attended to solo appearances at conventions. Meanwhile, Chip, voiced by John Mulaney, has moved into a career in insurance and lives alone with his dog. Chip and Dale are reluctantly brought back together when their friend Monterey Jack is kidnapped, resulting in them using tricks learned in their TV series episodes to rescue him before he is bootlegged.

It is immediately apparent that the vibe director Akiva Schaffer and writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand (Dolittle) were going for with Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was a mix of 1990s nostalgia with a live-action/animation hybrid plot reminiscent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, to the point the character of Roger Rabbit makes a brief cameo in the film, one of many animated characters to cameo throughout the film. The film also points fun at various animation trends, such as the main antagonist Sweet Pete's henchman Bob () being portrayed in the “dead-eyed” motion-captured CGI style from films such as The Polar Express and Beowulf.

While there is a certain meta charm to Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, it is still ultimately a film that is more about the nostalgic moments and cartoon character cameos than the actual plot, which is relatively barebones when it comes down to it. Also the mixing of live action and animation in Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers does not look as it did in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, with it blatantly obvious at times that the human characters are acting in front of a green screen. However, at the very least, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers pays respect to the original show with the return of original voice actors Tress MacNeille, Corey Burton, and Jim Cummings for cameos.

Despite its flaws, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers still makes for a fun trip down nostalgia lane.

Trailer for Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.