Title: The Rescuers Down Under
Release Date: November 16, 1990
Director: Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
There are a lot of interesting facts about The Rescuers Down Under:
- it’s the first animated theatrical film sequel produced by Disney
- it was released right in the midst of the Disney Renaissance but harkens back to the previous era
- it was the first Disney film to be completed completely digitally without using a camera
- part of the digital effects involved bringing Pixar, the first time Pixar and Disney collaborated
Unfortunately, it’s not a particularly engaging movie and doesn’t stand up well next to The Rescuers. The animation is distinctly different and one of the movie’s strongest points, especially the opening tracking shot and the scenes of Cody flying on the back of Marahuté. Cody is kind of an Australian Christopher Robin who can organize groups of animals but isn’t a particularly compelling character. The villainous poacher McLeach is another over-the-top Disney villain whose role is to be the scapegoat for humanity’s villainy in the film’s environmental message. At least his pet monitor lizard Joanna is funny and entertaining.
There isn’t much story here and the movie goes off on odd tangents. John Candy’s albatross character Wilbur is featured in a lengthy scene where is he trapped in a hospital run by mice who want to perform surgery on him without consent. It’s a weird and annoying scene. Another long scene shows Cody leading a team of imprisoned animals to get the keys to their escape, but this scene goes nowhere, and then we never see the other animals again (it feels like a later scene must’ve been cut).
The biggest flaw is that we just don’t get to spend much time with Bernard and Miss Bianca. The scenes where they are onscreen are the strongest, with Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor showing great chemistry, but these scenes are few and far between.