The Rescuers Down Under
The Rescuers Down Under is the first sequel in the canon and also the first to be completely made digitally. Although it was still hand drawn, it was done on digital inking devices instead of on traditional cells. It was strange how this film felt so much more modern than The Little Mermaid. When looking at the films in the Disney Renaissance, this one feels like it does not belong. In so I expected this to be generally worse. The Rescuers were one of the bigger successes that Disney had over the previous twenty years, hence the sequel, but Down Under had a tough time in the box office only making 47 million. This is largely due to it having very tough family competition premiering the same day as Home Alone.
As far as the story goes, this is back into child abduction territory. I do not know why Disney was so hellbent on kidnapping, but this is another one. The other part of the story is a bit of respect and take care of nature. It is the first time I’ve noticed it, but this one is very borderline preachy about the environment. This of course is something that Disney is well known for now-a-days.
Most of the characters are great. Of course, we have the return of Bianca and Bernard along with their celebrity voices. We get a goofy Wilbur instead of a goofy Orville. Jake the hopping mouse is a great new character that really pushes the faults of Bernard to the forefront. But the villain suffers from the common Disney issue where they are evil for the sake of being evil more than any other reason. This character has his motivations for his actions, but they are wildly unbalanced.
The animation feels very solid. One of the cleaner Disney films, but it is probably because of the methodology. You don’t catch stray pencil lines in the white spaces or bad perspectives. This feels like the starting point for great animation that will pull them through the entire decade.
The music is utterly forgettable. Parts made things feel overdramatic while others helped the scene bring up the right emotion, but nothing was catchy or memorable. Unless I am forgetting something, I don’t think there was any actual songs in the film. That is a rarity in Disney animated films.
Overall, it was a pretty good movie, but failed in many areas that make movies from the Disney Canon special. It really missed the mark with music, felt preachy at a pretty early time, had a story that we had heard too many times, was missing a good comedic relief character, and it being a sequel made it feel like it was a bit overdone. But the return and continued story of Bernard and Bianca was fun. The animation is to notch and really sets the stage for the nineties. It unfortunately is still in the list of films that doesn’t get much representation in the parks or in merchandising.
Run Time – 77 Minutes
63rd Academy Awards – 0 Nominations – 0 Wins
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. The Fox and the Hound 7-10-1981
7. Oliver and Company 11-18-1988
8. Cinderella 2-15-1950
9. The Little Mermaid 11-17-1989
10. Pinocchio 2-7-1940
11. Sleeping Beauty 1-29-1959
12. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949
13. The Jungle Book 10-18-1967
14. The Great Mouse Detective 7-2-1986
15. Robin Hood 11-8-1973
16. The Rescuers Down Under 11-16-1990
17. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946
18. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947
19. The Aristocats 12-11-1970
20. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937
21. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942
22. The Sword in the Stone 12-25-1963
23. The Rescuers 6-22-1977
24. Alice in Wonderland 7-26-1951
25. The Black Cauldron 7-24-1985
26. Melody Time 5-27-1948
27. Bambi 8-13-1942
28. Fantasia 11-13-1940
29. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944