The Rescuers / The Rescuers Down Under Blu-ray Review
Disney’s THE RESCUERS was one of my favorite children’s books growing up. The images on the pages were straight from the film which I didn’t see until later. I realized my memory of the film is more from the book, which thankfully cut out all the sad dramatic music in a surprisingly mature and dark story for children.
Poor little Penny ran away from her orphanage only to be kidnapped by the wicked Madame Medusa (Geraldine Page) and portly Mr. Snoops. Stuck on a decrepid broken down ship guarded by a couple of Alligators in the swamps of Devil’s Bayou, Penny’s sole purpose is to be small enough to be lowered into a pit to find a massive diamond for her captors. Clinging to her teddy bear, the little girl sends a help message in a bottle in hopes that law enforcement will be notified to save her life. Unfortunately, a Rescue Aid Society made of mice delegates around the world stumble across the letter. Rather than contact proper authorities, they send Hungary mouse representative Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and her chosen companion, stuttering every man U.S.A. janitor mouse, Bernard (Bob Newhart). Flying on a clutzy bird, the self appointed Rescuers are on the case.
The chalk drawing images of THE RESCUERS are quite gorgeous to look at from 1977. Containing a certain classic look, purists will enjoy the animation for its nostalgic element. But the fact is, despite the resonating down beat story, it does not age well. Compared to the advancement of animation through more recent Disney films and Pixar’s perfection, THE RESCUERS will have difficulty retaining any child’s attention.
On the other hand, THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER livens up the dark and dreary fest from before with the beautiful outback of Australia. Thirteen years later, Disney gives a rare sequel that is far more colorful, playful and adventurous. Miss Bianca and Bernard are back again, heading to a totally different continent to rescue a young boy named Cody from the evil clutches of an outback animal poacher named McLeach (George C. Scott). Cody is the only one who knows where to find a rare giant golden eagle that McLeach wants to capture for the fortune she surely bring him.
Adding a spice of humor is the late John Candy as the albatross bird our rescuers fly in on along with a silly gang of captive local wild life (who sadly never do get rescued). There is also a nice little story about Bernard’s numerous attempts at proposing to Miss Bianca but other circumstances and courage continue to get in the way. Perhaps less memorable, THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER does translate far better for today’s youth.
Video: (1080p, 1.67:1) The video quality of THE RESCUERS felt a little unfinished with some odd jump moments.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is fine.
“Peoplitis” The Deleted Song (4:41): This deleted song is take off of King Loui’s song from THE JUNGLE BOOK and is also sung by an ape in the zoo sequence. I’m guessing it was too upbeat for THE RESCUERS.
“Three Blind Mouseketeers” – Silly Symphony Animated Short (8:46): One of those old time cartoons from 1936. It has a certain charm.
Water Birds – A Walt Disney True Life Adventure (30:42): This is an award winning nature documentary produced by Walt Disney in 1952. Compared to today’s standard this is incredibly bland and boring.
“Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing-Along Song (2:13): Oh man, a sing-along with the brutally slow and sleep inducing song from THE RESCUERS.
The Making of The Rescuers Down Under (10:33): This is a fairly basic behind-the-scenes featurette.