Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Review – millennial nostalgia catnip from two-thirds of the Lonely Island

Director: Akiva Schaffer. Cast: John Mulaney, Andy Samberg, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, JK Simmons, KiKi Layne. PG, 98 minutes.

It’s amazing what you can get away with under the pretext of irony. Take the one from Disney Plus Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers – a return to the popular ’90s animated TV series that renamed some of Mickey Mouse’s oldest friends to wild detectives. In contrast to the largely sincere 2017 duck stories reboot which had David Tennant voicing Scrooge McDuck, here the reins have been handed to Akiva Schaffer (of the SNL Comedy trio The Lonely Island and the director of Popstar: Never stop, never stop and Go hard) and Crazy ex girlfriend Writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand have clearly been given carte blanche to get as weird and meta as their little comedian hearts desire.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers doesn’t introduce a new generation of Disney’s squishy chipmunk troublemakers. It is at best a baseline understandable to a general audience. But for millennials who want to indulge in childhood nostalgia but insist they’re too smart and confident to fall for the rest of Disney’s reboot culture? Oh, it’s catnip.

Tactically positioned as a modern riff-on Who tricked Roger Rabbit?, it transports Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (another Lonely Island grad, Andy Samberg) to a version of our world populated by both live-action and animated characters. Here are the two actors who starred in the original in the ’90s rescue driver TV show – but fell silent after Dale’s ego saw him chasing after the solo star.

Chip has since left the industry. He sells insurance. Dale, now CGI after a very expensive surgery, signs autographs at fan conventions in a booth next door Beauty and the Beast‘s Lumiere (he keeps burning all the money handed to him, it’s a depressing sight). One night, hers rescue driver Co-star Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped by a shadowy figure known only as Sweet Pete (Will Arnett). With the police, and particularly Captain Putty (a JK Simmons-voiced interpretation of Gumby) and inexperienced detective Ellie (a live-action KiKi Layne) trapped behind too much red tape to help, the duo are forced to reconnect unite so that whatever is wrong will be solved – like the old one rescue driver Theme melody used to go.

The most impressive thing Schaffer, Gregor, and Mand have achieved here is a veritable cross-franchise, cross-studio hodgepodge of surprise cameos – mentioning one of them feels like ruining half the fun. How did the filmmakers negotiate some of these performances? It almost feels like a magic trick, a strange feat of cinematic illusion. And although, to be honest, we’re still deep in the realm of “branded content” à la Marvel crossovers and more recently space jam reboot, it’s oddly refreshing to watch one of these mash-up movies and not feel actively involved in a company’s synergy efforts. There are appearances here that feel like they were chosen because they were genuinely funny, not because they’re helpful in moving an executive’s five-year plan forward.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers thinks it’s appropriate to both indulge in nostalgia — particularly through Ellie’s wide-eyed adoration of the old show — and poke fun at it. Disneyland’s Main Street and all its rosy Americana turns out to be a black market for untraceable guns and Muppet fights. Meanwhile, the villain’s lair is in Uncanny Valley – where you’ll find the cats cats rustling near the trash cans and Seth Rogen’s motion capture servant, Bob, soullessly flaunting.polar express Eyes.” Is it a little cynical to sneak into a reboot under the guise of tongue-in-cheek, cultural commentary? Yes. Did it still make me laugh? Yeah, too.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers begins streaming on Disney Plus on Friday, May 20th Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers Review – millennial nostalgia catnip from two-thirds of the Lonely Island


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