- Apr 24, 2006
- Charlotte, NC
- Real Name
- Matt Hough
Disney’s The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under are both rollicking adventure comedies with the accent on adventure. Unlike Disney’s The Aristocats which had the potential for thrilling escapades but didn’t really follow through with that motif, both movies in The Rescuers series are filled with excitement which is reflected in the full throttled pacing and the antic gags. The sequel to the original film sacrifices some building tension with a bit too much slapstick comedy, but both films are notably entertaining and well worth watching.
The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lounsbery, Art Stevens/Hendel Butoy, Mike Gabriel
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 78 minutes each
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Review Date: August 14, 2012
The Rescuers – 4/5
When a plea for help is discovered in a bottle by the Rescue Aid Society, a mouse branch of the United Nations, Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and the firm’s janitor Bernard (Bob Newhart) volunteer to offer assistance. It turns out that the cry for help was sent by Penny, a young girl who has been abducted from an orphanage and taken to Devil’s Bayou by the evil Madame Medusa (Geraldine Page) and her henchman Snoops (Joe Flynn). It seems they need a tiny child to be able to fit into a small cavern where some pirate treasure had been hidden, among the precious pieces the huge Devil’s Eye diamond worth millions. Arriving by way of Orville the Albatross (Jim Jordan), Bernard and Bianca find Penny relatively easily, but she’s not only guarded by the two humans but by two enormous alligators who’d like nothing more than two juicy mice for lunch.
The thrills come fast and furiously in The Rescuers with action the order of the day and the animation reflecting a rich array of colors. A sequence where flares are shot off is breathtaking, a scene where the alligators play a mammoth pipe organ to trap and catch the mice is brilliantly animated and expertly paced, a thrilling sequence where bats chase tiny Evinrude the dragonfly is edge-of-your-seat worthy, and the entire climactic black hole cave sequence is masterful with the tide coming in through exploding gushes of water followed by yet another elaborate chase scene. Despite some sloppy continuity problems with name pronunciations that should have been looped for consistency, the voice acting is wonderful (Bob Newhart and Geraldine Page are especially expressive). And while this isn’t a musical, there are some gorgeously evocative songs sung expressively on the soundtrack by Shelby Flint that include the lovely “Is It Wrong?” and the haunting Oscar-nominated “Someone's Waiting for You.”
The Rescuers Down Under – 3.5/5
When the RAS receives word that a young Australian boy Cody (Adam Ryen) has been abducted by evil Outback poacher McLeach (George C. Scott) because he knows the location of a rare female bald eagle with numerous unhatched eggs, Bernard (Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) are once more drafted into action. Arriving Down Under via Wilbur the Albatross (John Candy), they’re met by Aussie guide Jake (Tristan Rogers) and together set out to find the evil McLeach before he does something despicable to the young boy or his eagle friend.
There’s less adventure and more slapstick antics in this second installment with the goofy Wilbur and also a lizard named Frank (Wayne Robson) contributing long segments keyed to their foolishness. But the animation, while possibly not as detailed as in the bygone era, excels via the early use of computers in portraying an exhilarating flying sequence early on, elaborate vistas of the Australian Outback, and a later climactic peril sequence suspended over a mountainous ravine and then a raging waterfall. While Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor are welcome reminders of the earlier film, this movie belongs unquestionably to George C. Scott who turns in a towering performance that makes him one of the most legendary of Disney villains, and his lizard sidekick/fall guy/henchman Joanna (Frank Welker) is alternately funny and terrifying.
The Rescuers – 4/5
The film has been framed at 1.66:1 and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Unlike many of these Disney classics brought to Blu-ray, there is an occasional dust speck or two to be seen on occasion, and sharpness is not always top notch in every shot. The lines are solid and consistent with no artifacts and no banding was noticed at all. Colors are beautifully controlled throughout. The film has been divided into 15 chapters.
The Rescuers Down Under – 5/5
The film has been framed at a 1.66:1 aspect ratio and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. It’s reference quality all the way with clear, crisp visuals, color saturation under complete control, and the solid lines in the animation that never hint of an artifact. There is also no banding in the backgrounds and no age-related dirt or dust specks. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The Rescuers - 4/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is very much an audio track of its era with most of the audio spread across the front channels and very little seeping into the rears apart from occasional echoes of songs or the background score by Artie Butler. The dialogue is always clear and precise and has been placed in the center channel.
The Rescuers Down Under – 5/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix conveys the sophistication of a more modern movie soundtrack throughout with quite active use of the fronts and rears for ambient sounds and a full expansion of Bruce Broughton’s background score. The LFE channel gets a nice workout from a huge tractor McLeach uses to terrorize his victims. Dialogue has been well recorded and is always easy to understand. Most of it has been placed in the center channel, but there are a couple of instances of directionalized dialogue.
“Peoplitis” is a deleted song written for a scene that was never animated. Ron Clements introduces us to the scene (using storyboards) and song as sung by Louis Prima and lasting for 4 ¾ minutes. The featurette is in 1080p.
“The Three Blind Mouseketeers” is a 1936 Silly Symphony cartoon presented in 480i and lasting for 8 ¾ minutes.
Water Birds is the Oscar-winning 1952 short feature in the True-Life Adventure series detailing many different species of water fowl with the legendary nature photography Disney became known for. This is in 1080p and runs for 30 minutes.
“Someone’s Waiting for You” sing along song runs for 2 ½ minutes and offers on-screen lyrics for the 1080p clip from The Rescuers.
“The Making of The Rescuers Down Under” is a 10 ½-minute vignette giving a few minutes of face time to producer Thomas Schumacher, directors Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel, several animators, and the film’s art director discussing the two year production period that included a research trip to Australia and trips to the San Diego Zoo to watch real animals in motion. This is in 480i.
The disc offers 1080p promo trailers for Finding Nemo 3D and Cinderella.
The second and third discs in the set are DVD copies of the two films contained on one Blu-ray disc.
4/5 (not an average)
Disney hasn’t done anything special to commemorate the 35th anniversary of The Rescuers other than to release it on Blu-ray with its 1990 sequel and with the few bonuses ported over from the last releases. But the films are really entertaining and the animation sublime. Recommended!