Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) Review

The Lonely Islands comedic output may be decidedly uneven but the great stuff on the crew’s creative CV does stick out. From the early Internet memetics of the SNL shorts that found a global audience, The brilliant cult favourite Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and the underrated time travel rom-com Palm Springs. For every one-joke song or film that doesn’t work there’s something great as a counterpoint. On paper director, Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg working with Disney might seem like an odd fit. That’s before one remembers they have a foot in IP-centric family movies having already worked on songs for The Lego Movie and its sequel with Lord and Miller. Thus when Schaffer’s update of the Disney Afternoon animated series started getting some solid reviews this viewer figured it was worth checking out. Even if the main credited writers were behind the abominable Robert Downey Jr version of Doolittle. Were they able to redeem themselves?
Definitely. On one level this new incarnation of Chip and Dale is what might be expected. A fairly straightforward neo-noir influenced Roger Rabbit riff. Except in this world, it is implied that cartoon characters have genuine interpersonal lives beyond simply being extensions of the mythology, characterization and world-building audiences see on screen. Thus not only can Roger Rabbit himself have a cameo. He could theoretically interact with the characters in a way that goes beyond the typical “Hey. You recognise this thing” of Space Jam: A New Legacy and its ilk.
No getting around this. The new Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers is completely bonkers in the best way possible. If it was simply What it looked to be on the surface it might still be relatively solid As a parody of hard-boiled detective narratives. The thing that makes it over the top is the reference humour. This might sound like a counterproductive statement. On one level reference, humour offers nothing more than a cheap acknowledgement of a particular movie or franchise and nothing more than that( cue the Captain America meme.) Here the writers utilize appearances from across the animation and celebrity industry in hilarious ways. Imagine if Eric Kripke’s version of The Boys universe and the final act of The Cabin in the Woods had a PG-rated baby with one another. Instead of using generic representations of copyrighted figures or inventing your own in a way that’s just different enough to skirt around protocols here the creative team have somehow got permission for A smorgasbord of characters from a variety of rights holders to make appearances even if it’s full a matter of frames. Combine this with a script that feels written by people that know their animation but are willing to poke merciless fun at various stylistic incarnations. The results are glorious. Even if part of the underlying amusement comes from the mental image of seeing a roomful of Disney’s legal team staring with abject horror at the final draft of this script. The fact the film exists in the form it does is honestly hugely impressive in a certain way. As long as one isn’t too tied up within the idea of reference humour in and of itself is not being an inherently bad thing the film is a great time,
Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers takes what could be a very safe nostalgia sequel and inject it with enough deranged energy to fill multiple projects several times over. It Won’t win over those fundamentally opposed to its very specific style of meta-commentary. Those that stick with it will find a genuinely hilarious piece of entertainment. Well, there’s a certain level of corporate synergy here there are more than enough weird edges to be perversely impressed that the creative team got away with Presenting the final product in the way they did. It’s also that despite most Disney Plus originals being terrible streaming-only gives you the runway. Good to great films can flourish even with the direct-to-consumer model in which potential viewers don’t even have to leave their couch. The irony is this viewer would have loved to have seen the 2022 Rescue Rangers in a cinema with a large crowd of animation lovers. Outside of The obligatory Post Malone cover of the theme song, it’s the kind of thing that would benefit from a large collective experience in the best way possible.

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