Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers premieres Friday, May 20 on Disney+.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is an animated pop culture extravaganza, a fast and fun roller coaster into a whirlwind of cartoon characters, clever gimmicks, creative action, and enough heart and depth to keep the story going.
Directed by Lonely Island’s Akiva Shaffer, this Save The Rangers’ special outing is a meta-event that portrays the famous Chipmunk BFF as the actor who starred in the Save Rangers TV series decades ago. Now, properly cleaned in a typical E! In true Hollywood Story fashion (thanks to Dale’s solo career attempt), Chip and Dale must bury the past in order to rekindle their friendship and truly save the day.
This live-action/animated goofy hybrid might be the closest we’ve come to 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s a world — more specifically Los Angeles — where humans and cartoons coexist, and any cartoons that make a big splash in show business shoot their films just like any other actor, except for the animated scenes. In any case, it’s not an easy task to imagine that this is what Roger Rabbit’s Los Angeles will look like in 70 years.
Oh, and let’s not forget the filthy underbelly of this La La Land, another black element that pops up here that contributes to the Roger Rabbit vibe. Not everything in the cartoon world is hand-drawn sunshine and computer-generated puppies. Crime goes on, and when Chip and Dale’s old Rescue Ranger co-star Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) goes missing, estranged friends reunite in stinky cheese pushers, Muppets Fight promoters and smugglers run gangs to hunt him down. No, not Prohibition — pirated animated films featuring kidnapped performers turned into knockoffs for foreign markets.
John Mulaney and Andy Samberg voice the voices of Chip and Dale, respectively. Mulaney bestows his analytical, restless demeanor on Chip’s bright-minded thinkers, while Samberg treats his boys as Dale, impulsive fools for both. Will Arnett plays the villain (making the film feel like a Wonderland reunion for little Tina), while the rest of the voice cast is made up of Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons and Tim Robinson made a recognized effort. Original Rescue Rangers voice actor Tress MacNeille reprises her role as a gadget while KiKi Layne literally helps us as a rookie detective The hero solves the case, which is particularly prominent in the litigation process. It’s a strong cast capable of quick jokes – and a good bit of Seth Rogen (his history is involved in the animated voice).
What’s most noteworthy, though, isn’t the cast — it’s the massive impact of the intellectual property conflict. Of course, this isn’t a new trick. In 1988, Roger Rabbit gave us Disney’s partnership with Warner Bros. and mingling with King Features Syndicate, Fleischer Studios, etc., but studios were less likely to come together and more willing to share, and animation as a whole was taking over somewhat successful. Now, we’ve got things like Ready Player One and Space-Jam: A New Legacy, giving audiences a crossover battle royale game we never dreamed of. However, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is still surprising in this regard. As with any meta-project, there will be some tense attempts at humor, the story is not entirely without humor, but for the most part the use of winking jokes and cartoon cameos is correct and fills the world with expansive ideas rather than one shot Sexually rolled eyes.
The story of humanity — or, really, the story of the chipmunk — is at the center of this madness, involving two friends putting aside old differences and rediscovering the spark that made them friends. The arc doesn’t resonate as strongly as it might have, as eccentric clay cops, followers of Coca-Cola polar bears, fan conventions featuring Lumière and Tigra, and other gimmicks take precedence, but it’s still sweet enough to balance the film and moderate Emotions, Mulaney and Samberg provide some really funny banter together. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a better, funnier, animated hodgepodge product than some of its recent predecessors.