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Friday, May 18, 2012

Disneyear: The Rescuers (1977)

We have come to the end of the 70's, where we say goodbye to Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston: three animators that have been working for Disney since the beginning. The Rescuers was their swan song and it opened with rather positive reception, being called "a fresh breath of air " by film critic Leonard Maltin. Today however it seems that there are two kinds of fans: you either like this movie or you don't. I guess you'll see which side I'm on today.

A bottle containing a plea for help is sent from a boat in a bayou by a little girl and ends up in New York, where it is found by mice, so a Rescue Aid Society meeting is called to order in the city. One delegate named Miss Bianca (played by Eva Gabor) volunteers to go and rescue Penny, the orphaned girl who sent the message. She chooses Bernard (played by Bob Newhart), a janitor, as her partner on the mission. They find out that she was kidnapped by an evil pawn shop owner named Madame Medusa (Gerladine Paige). So Miss Bianca and Bernard go out and find Medusa, but fail to keep up, so the two mice take an albatross flight to Devil's Bayou, where Penny has been taken, and learn that here, the girl is being forced by Medusa and the evil woman's assistant, Mr. Snoops, to search for a large diamond in an underground cave that Medusa plans on making a fortune off of. Talk about child labor laws... You know how this goes, they get out after a chase scene, make it back to New York, and ends with Bernard and Bianca going on another rescue aid.

I suppose a few things stand out about it, like the villian Medusa. She's sleazy, greedy, and comes off as kind of crazy. I know she's based on Milt Kahl's wife, so that I suppose adds to the joke. Geraldine Paige's acting is good and her reactions are fun. The animation isn't too bad but I don't think it's Kahl's best work. That honor belongs to Shere Khan and Tigger.

There's also a few good scenes in it. Like when Bernard and Bianca go to the albatross airport to fly to Devil's Bayou. I especially like it when Bernard tries to get permission to land. It's a funny scene. I wish Orville was in more of the movie too.

Needless to say, the rest of The Rescuers is only average. It seems childish to me at points such as while creative I guess, what on Earth are a bunch of mice going to do in rescuing a bunch of people? I guess that's the moral or something: no person to small. In addition, Penny the orphan is quite cloying to me. She's like one of the Olson twins, just designed to be pwecious.

To be perfectly honest, the whole film comes across as fairly tired. The animation department at Disney supposedly lost a lot of confidence after Walt died and The Rescuers does seem to emphasize it at times. The animation here okay but not stellar and the story isn't extremely inventive (it kind of feels like 101 Dalmatians) There is the odd bit of cleverness (the leaf boat that the mice sail in, for example), but some scenes drag and occasionally feel like filler; a scene involving Bernard and Bianca searching for Penny's orphanage could have been trimmed without much damage to the film, as could the odd line of dialogue here and there.

The Rescuers is by no means the worst animated film ever made, but there's always better options to watch. I don't hate it and I admit it's a lot better than The AristoCats and some of the other films I'm going to have to look at later this year in that it's fairly dark with a few decent scenes here and there. I'm just not that big a fan of this flick. I'd probably enjoy it more if I was younger.

1 comment:

Brittneyyyy:D said...

Y U No like Aristocats!? Good review :]