The Rescuers is an odd addition to the Disney Cannon. It was in development during Walt’s life, but he personally shelved it because he felt it was too political. After Walt’s death the project was resurrected. So, rather than being a film that Walt had no part in, it was a film that Walt did not want to make.
The Rescuers premiered just three months after The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Although this was the first of the DAC movies to get a sequel, it is still a part of the Forgotten Era where there was a real lack of using the IPs. So, there are no Rescuer rides, spin off cartoons, Rescuer parade through the Magic Kingdom. And it is a shame as the mystery motif of the movie could have been perfect for some of the scavenger hunt type of things they did in EPCOT in the early 2000s.
The movie is based on a couple of books by Margery Sharp. The film focuses on the Rescue Aid Society and their mission of saving those in trouble. The story is cute and perfect for an entire series of movies. It would have been simple to create a show or series of films that revolved around solving mysteries and saving kids, but again, Forgotten Era. As did Robin Hood, there was a lot more story in this film than the earlier movies in the Cannon.
The characters are fine although kind of bland. Other than Orville I didn’t feel any of the characters stood out as something that people would remember. The heroes were typical (an adventuresome woman and the man who is trying to protect her), the victim was stereo typical (child in distress), and the villains were dastardly. I thought the visual appearance of the Medusa was odd. The villains are typically slender and sly, she was frumpy and heavy handed.
The animation at this point has lost most of its charm. With the exception of some of the backgrounds and the opening sequence, there is little here to differentiate this from an average cartoon. Similar to Robin Hood it was very generic for the time period.
The same goes for the music. The score was weak and generic. It did not synch with the action, but rather played along in the background. The Disney magic I keep referring to is gone and missing from this film. Rather lightning happening when cymbals crash, we are greeted with goofy up tempo music during a chase scene. This movie does start to move towards the idea of songs on a soundtrack as there were several songs in this movie, but I personally felt they weren’t cool for the time as much as the were child appropriate. It felt more like lullabies than new hit songs.
It did receive one nomination at the Academy Awards, but would be the last film to do so until the Disney Renaissance. In the end I felt this one was uninspired, lack luster animation, lack luster music, fun idea but they missed the boat on it.
Run Time – 77 Minutes
50th Academy Awards – 1 Nomination – 0 Wins
Best Original Song – Someone’s Waiting for You - Nominated
Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality
1. Lady and the Tramp 6-22-1955
2. Peter Pan 2-5-1953
3. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 3-11-1977
4. One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1-25-1961
5. Dumbo 10-23-1941
6. Cinderella 2-15-1950
7. Pinocchio 2-7-1940
8. Sleeping Beauty 1-29-1959
9. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949
10. The Jungle Book 10-18-1967
11. Robin Hood 11-8-1973
12. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946
13. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947
14. The Aristocats 12-11-1970
15. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937
16. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942
17. The Sword in the Stone 12-25-1963
18. The Rescuers 6-22-1977
19. Alice in Wonderland 7-26-1951
20. Melody Time 5-27-1948
21. Bambi 8-13-1942
22. Fantasia 11-13-1940
23. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944