Saturday, April 4, 2015


Last year I wrote a review of Disney's "The Rescuers" and while not a bad movie because of its two really great leads, as well as being entertaining from beginning to end, it was still sadly a really weak and bland Disney film. Well in 1990 during the "Disney Renaissance" our two heroes returned for a sequel that many people claim is better than the first film, and that film is...
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When the film was released, the film did poorly at the box office on its opening weekend, so Disney decided to pull all advertisements for the movie. When you think about why the film did badly on its opening weekend, it’s pretty understandable. I can think of a few reasons why people didn't want to see this movie. The first one being, that the first film was so bland and weak, despite doing very well when it came out, a sequel just didn't seem necessary. In fact, this was Disney's first ever sequel to an animated film, and the majority of Disney goers weren't too fond of the idea of a sequel to an animated movie, since Disney has never done one before, as well as thinking nothing can beat the original, or that they can't make something that was once bland into something really incredible by the same studio. Finally, since Disney's last animated film "The Little Mermaid" was such a major hit by being a fantasy with magic and big show stopping musical numbers; making a film about talking mice going on an adventure, just didn't seem to be the right way to go. As time went on, the film's VHS and DVD release started to make this film become a bit of a sleeper hit, turning this film into an underrated classic that people say is the best animated Disney sequel of all time, especially when comparing it to the crappy half-assed cash grabbing sequels that followed. However, despite gaining a bit of popularity, a lot people and Disney fans still manage to overlook this movie; in fact, when people talk about the "Disney Renaissance", the majority of people seem to leave it out. So is this film really an underrated gem that needs more attention, or is it really just a Disney film that's really just as weak as the original with just better animation? ON WITH THE REVIEW...

A boy in Australia saves a giant rare Eagle from a trap and the two become close friends. However, a poacher is after the Eagle and after discovering that the kid knows where the Eagle is, he kidnaps him to make him reveal the Eagle's location. An Australian mouse hears about it, and spreads the word world wide to the "Rescue Aid Society" where Bernard and Bianca are sent on a mission to rescue the boy. Funny thing about the film is we don't meet our two favorite mice until we're 18 minutes in, which is a very long time for a Disney film. In fact, the film in many respects could have been about a kid and his Eagle, as they go adventures while escaping the poacher. With that said though, our heroes still tie in with the film perfectly.

Image result for the rescuers down under bernard and bianca

Bernard and Bianca are voiced once again by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor, and they manage to bring the same charm to the characters as they did in the first film. The chemistry between them really hasn't worn out at all; they're still just as fun and interesting as they were in the last film. Bernard despite getting over his superstitious behavior is still a socially awkward loser, and Bianca is still very adventurous and optimistic. In the first film, while I liked the two mice, I was more attached too Bianca, than I was with Bernard. Here, I'm more attached to Bernard, than I am with Bianca. Mainly because he has more of a story here, then he did in the last film. There's a whole subplot of him trying to purpose to Bianca, which he always fails at doing so by some kind of interruption, which is both fun and cute; the humor that the film gives Newhart to work with, as well as the animators, is funnier than the humor that was given to the character in the first film; and above all, we see more of a development in the character in this film, than we did in the last film. I actually did felt more of a change in him manning up in this film, than he did in the first film, because in the film's climax, he has to rescue the character's by himself, when in the last film, he was always accompanied by Bianca, and seeing this character acting brave; thinking harder than he ever did before; coming up with ways of saving his friends; and even finding a bit of inner strength that helps him to do the impossible, is all done really, really well.

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Our villain is way better than the film's last villain. While the villain is cliche, the writing, the design, and voice acting is what makes him such an incredible villain. The actor voicing him is George C. Scott and despite having the most American sounding Australian accent (Though I'm willing to bet that this character is meant to be an American poacher), George C. Scott does an epic job voicing him, as well as giving this character a lot of personality by making him intimidating, cold, crazy, persuasive, fun, and funny. The villain himself, while at times can be goofy (which that part of him blends with the character perfectly well) he's very unsettling to watch; especially the scenes when he's with the kid who he plans to kill and give a painful death. Dude, that's seriously dark and messed up. He also has a really awesome vehicle that helps him to catch his prey, which is way more creative and cooler than Medusa's Swamp mobile. Even though I enjoyed Medusa's alligators in the first film, I honestly would take this villain's pet Goanna over them any time. Much like the alligators, the Poacher's pet is silent, funny, and at times scary, and what makes this Pet stand out the most from the alligators is it's funnier; has a really cool looking design; and has way more personality.

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Our supporting characters are indeed way more funny and memorable compared to the characters in the first film. The kid Cody (Who's Australian, but has no accent) I have to admit, while I feel like that he's more of a role model character, instead of being a character, I seriously do prefer him over the overly annoyingly cute girl Penny from the first film. I don't hate Penny, and I don't think Cody is anything special either (if anything he's too perfect when compared to Penny who always felt trapped), but comparing the two, Cody seems much more likable and adventurous, while Penny spends most of the time just being all cutesy. The Eagle that Cody befriends, while being another animal that doesn't talk (Seriously, in a world where animals talk, why are there some that don't talk?) you can still feel a lot of personality and emotion from the character by the way it moves, squawks, and reacts. Plus the animation for the Eagle is really gorgeous. Cody also encounters captured animals by the Poacher, and as pointless as the plot with him and the animals escaping is, they're still fun characters. Even the obnoxious frill-necked lizard Frank, is funny with the cleverly written idiotic personality that was given to the character along with the slapstick that the character faces. Bernard and Bianca throughout the film aren't alone, they're actually accompanied by an Australian mouse named Jake (Voiced by Tristan Rogers) and despite wanting to put the moves on Bianca, he actually is a very likable and fun heroic character. He's just the kind of character that you want to go on adventures with; he just lives and breathes fun and adventure. My favorite supporting character in the film has to go to the flying albatross Wilbur, whose brothers with the albatross in the first film. I do like the albatross in the first film, but the albatross in this film is actually a lot funnier, as well as being more memorable compared to the character's brother and the minute I saw the character dancing and singing to "Black Sacks", I immediately got attached to him. The actor voicing him is comedy legend John Candy and Candy puts so much heart and passion into this comical character, that every scene he's in, he's always a hoot. Not only is Candy's performance great, but the slapstick and situations that the character has to go through are so funny that it totally blows all the abuse that the character's brother faced in the last film, out of the water. The whole subplot with him breaking his back is pointless, but the scene of him being in a hospital run by cute mice that abuse him as opposed to curing is so laugh out loud hilarious, and yet so twisted that I don't mind.

Image result for Rescuers down under

The thing in the film that amazed me the most is the animation. My freaking god, this animation is a million times better than the bland, scratchy, and blurry animation from the first movie. The minute the film opened, I was already blown away. The colors, the backgrounds, the mixing between cg and 2-D, oh my god, it's just so freaking huge and amazing. The scenes when the characters are flying, especially when the kid is flying with the Eagle for the first time, you can already feel the weight and epicness of those scenes. The film even made the mouse world a lot bigger and creative compared to the first film. The "Rescue Aid Society" looks bigger (Though it's a bit of a shame that they don't sing their anthem. I'm sure the film would have made that song big and epic); there's a restaurant for mice runned by bugs, which I thought was both funny and creative; and there's a system where the mice send a help signal world wide to the "Rescue Aid Society" instead of the characters just getting a letter, which of course is way more plausible and creative. The film's score truly adds to the films big and epic adventure feel. The songs by Shelby Flint in the last film have grown on me a bit, but with that said, her songs aren't the songs you want to hear in a comical adventure film staring mice; the music here, is the music you want to hear in a comical adventure film staring mice. I already talked about how funny the humor is in this film compared to the last film, but the film's adventurous scenes in this film are way more suspenseful, action-packed, and engaging than the scenes in the last film. I was both hooked and in great awe whenever I saw the scenes when the characters are in danger, when in the last film I pretty much found the scenes ok, but nothing special or exciting.

I don't think I need to go into any more detail of why I think this film is great and superior to the original film. Our leads have the same charm and chemistry as they did in the last film; the villain is incredible; the supporting characters are way more fun and memorable compared to the characters in the original; the humor is really funny; it's creative; the adventure feel and look of the film feels epic; and the animation is spectacular! People weren't lying when they said that the film is an underrated classic. The film may as well be the best Disney sequel ever made, that beats the original by a long shot and it pains me to find out that not many people remember this or don't even bother to watch it, which is a real shame! It needs more recognition; it needs to be promoted and merchandised more by Disney, to the point where it's not juts a Disney sequel; it shouldn't be overlooked as being part of the "Disney Renaissance"; it should be in every Disney collection; and it should be celebrated and praised more by kids, film buffs, and of course Disney fans, instead of having all the praise and celebration go to the first bland installment to these two movies. If you're one those people who think the original is better, but haven't even bothered to watch the second film, I strongly suggest that you see this film first before you make that judgment. If none of you have seen this film yet, please check it out, because you're seriously missing out!


Image result for RESCUERS two films

Looking at these two films together as one film, you can truly see the improvements that the second film has made. While the first film was cute and entertaining, the only good thing it really had to keep me invested in the film from beginning to end was our two leads; and looking at the development of our leads through these two films, is actually done really well. The first film was how they got together and became "The Rescuers"; while the second film shows them as official heroes, as the two start to really become very close to each other, as well as seeing Bernard finally start manning up more, than he did in the last film. Really, most of the stuff in the first film was ok, while the stuff in the second film was epic. However, while I do think the second film is better than the first film, that doesn't mean the first film should be forgotten. Granted, it's nothing special, but it was still entertaining enough for you to get through it, and while the second film in many respects could be its own movie if the first film was never made, I do feel like it is necessary to see the first film to see these two characters get together, because in all honesty, while everything great about them is there in the second movie, I actually did find their relationship in the first film a lot more interesting, mainly because it's the first time they're working together. Where it all comes down too, despite the major difference in style, these two films do work well together, mainly for the relationship between Bernard and Bianca, which should be the two films main focus.


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