The Rescuers Down Under Reviews
Bianca and Bernard are tasked with finding him in the great outback. They enlist with Wilbur (John Candy), Orville's brother to help get them there. They also befriend a fellow mouse who is familiar with the territory in Krebbs (Douglas Seale). He helps them wrangle up snakes, and other wildlife to increase their time to finding the boy. As a team, they must brave the outback and take on the clever poacher and his wily salamander pet Joana. Their time is running out as Mcleach soon tricks Cody into leading him to the eagle's nest.
Rescuers Down Under is not a bad sequel. The film has a better sense of comedic balance than the first film. John Candy was an excellent voice as the bird Wilbur, who filled in because the voice of first bird Orville (Jim Jordan) had passed away. The film does have some pacing problems and scenes that do not really need to be in the film. The prison sequence where the annoying Lizard and various animals try and escape goes on far too long. The sequence of Wilbur being treated for his back, seems a bit forced, and minimally drives the story. McLeach was an excellent villain and really steals the picture. His dark manner, design and characteristics inspire many future Disney villains. While the first movie was 100% hand drawn, this movie was the first 100% digitally animated film. Although I prefer the colors and visuals of the original film, the sequel is well made and has its own character to it. The film did not do particularly well and instead this led Disney to deter making sequels for theatrical releases rather than deter them from making sequels all together. Rescuers Down Under is a solid follow-up and helped set the seeds in for some of the best animated films to come.
First Disney animated sequel.
First animated film to utilized digital ink-and-paint (making this, technically, the first computer animated movie, pre-dating "Toy Story" by five years. The colors in this film are gorgeous.)
First Disney animated film to utilize CAPS (Computer Animated Production System.) Most importantly: first animated film that moved and behaved like a modern adventure movie with sustained action sequences not unlike the best of Stephen Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" series.
The film holds onto audiences and never lets go from the break-neck speed of the opening credits, directly leading into the extended flying sequences of Cody and the giant eagle Marahootay. Never before has an animated film allowed viewers to soar over valleys, plummet down cliffs and buildings, and THROUGH environments with such clarity and ease. All animated features following "Rescuers Down Under," from "Aladdin," "Lion King," "Incredibles" to, well, everything released today, owe their allegiance to this film.
On a story level, the movie works, even though it's visual effects outweigh the risks taken within the story department. Perhaps the biggest complaint I had, (and still have,) with "Rescuers Down Under" is that the central characters Bernard and Bianca are over-shadowed by every newcomer including (but not invited to) George C. Scott's McLeach, Jake the fearless kangaroo rat, and the hilarious, (and slightly annoying,) chatter-box albatross Wilbur voiced by John Candy. There are surprisingly few scenes in this film that show Bernard and Bianca interacting and discussing the meat of the story with each other; the breakneck speed of this film leaves little room for small-talk conversations, and I long for scenes like the original 1977 Rescuers where the two mice plan whether or not to take a shortcut through the zoo. In that regard, I felt just as annoyed as Bernard each and every time he got interrupted in his bid to ask Miss Bianca for her hand in marriage. I also found the third act a bit rushed, especially considering the fact that Cody hardly got a chance to even say hello to Bernard and Bianca before his rescue.
Yet this movie still works. On so many levels, it is up there with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and 101 Dalmatians as far as technical achievements. While it is not praised as much today as it was in the early 90's, it still delivers a great deal of "wow" in the visual department. The older generation will appreciate the fact that Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor reprised their roles as the two title characters. And this film is a ton of wholesome laughs.