The Rescuers Reviews
In the 1970's, the Disney studios were in a crisis. Walt had died in 1966, and the animation features released since The Jungle Book have either done OK or just plain flopped. By 1977, animation was more successful in television, such as Rankin/Bass and Hanna-Barbera. But Disney just doesn't give up. Developing a mystery cartoon adventure based on a series of books, The Rescuers was a success at the box-office, and was considered by critics to be the beginning of a second golden era for the studio. While that era didn't begin until 1989 with the huge success of The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers is a fun and delightful Disney film released in the "Dark Age" era.
A girl named Penny drops a bottle with a message for help in the ocean. That bottle is discovered by the Rescue Aid Society, a group of mice from different countries who meet inside, appropriately, the United Nations. The Hungarian mouse, Bianca, decides to take the assignment to find the girl, along with Bernard, the mouse janitor. They fly an albatross named Orville to the swamp of Devil's Bayou to rescue Penny from the villainous Madame Medusa, who intends to use the girl to find a missing diamond called "The Devils Eye" for her own intentions.
The animation is nice for a traditional hand-drawn Disney film. People might complain that the animation looks too cheaply drawn, but remember that in the 1970's, Disney was heavily broke and couldn't do too much. I believe that the animation looks cool for a film like this. The dark, murky looks of the swamp, the detail of New York City, it may not be Disney's strongest animation, but at least it's not the worst the studio has provided (Alice in Wonderland, cough cough). There's also a little bit of recycled animation here, but it's not as overdone as let's say, Robin Hodd where they use the same shot like 10 times. But the title sequence is very disappointing for a film like this. It showcases the journey of the bottle, but instead of strong animation, we are instead treated of a dull sequence with ugly paintings, making the sequence feel like a cheesy comic book. Despite a powerful song called "The Journey", the dull paintings didn't help. When you see shots of birds in the air, I didn't feel any emotions in the shot. That shows how disappointing the sequence is.
But that doesn't mean I hate The Rescuers. Actually, it's a fun movie. I liked the mysterious tone shown in the film. Even more memorable than the tone is the score. The bass lines are very catchy and there's some moving sounds throughout it. I also liked the songs used in the film. Besides the already-mentioned "The Journey", there's the decently enjoyable "Tomorrow's Another Day", and the beautiful, Oscar-nominated ballad "Someone's Waiting For You." Be sure to look for a cameo appearance by Bambi and his mom in this scene. (And I thought they killed his mother).
But the most entertaining thing about The Rescuers is the characters. The two mice, Bernard and Bianca, make a cute couple, and the voice roles by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor are perfect. Bernard is very superstitious about the number 13 and has a fear of flying. Bianca loves all kinds of adventure and suspense. Other memorable characters include the albatross Orville, a redneck mouse couple (the husband voiced by Pat Buttram), and the dragonfly Evinrude (clear reference to the boat motor). The villain Madame Medusa is fantastic. She's creepy, she's crazy, has two creepy crocodiles as guards, and even uses a gun on the girl she abducts. Her sidekick, Snoops, is good for comic relief. And the girl Penny? She's a cute kid, and I liked her personality, but the overdramatic whininess about the teddy bear was a bit too much. She's like "Oh. I don't want by teddy bear wet." I kept thinking, "When are they going to kill that teddy bear?" Seriously, that teddy bear talk was very annoying. No offense about the kid, I liked her, but when I was a kid and I had a stuffed animal, I wasn't this crazy about it.
The animation might not be perfect, the title sequence may be very disappointing, the kid's craze about the teddy bear may be very annoying, but in the end, The Rescuers is a fun, entertaining, funny, and thrilling post-Walt Disney film. It's not Fantasia or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but it's a fun, underrated Disney film.
But I liked the lead mice, and the voice work from Newhart and Gabor, and the Penny character is so adorable, even for a cartoon.
Medusa was yet another great Disney villain and I loved her nasty pet alligators.
The whole concept that this young girl was kidnapped to help find a famous diamond is a very adult theme for a cartoon I must say.
The music was so-so, and the animation was nothing great, but it was just a good watch overall.