CHIP 'N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS (DISNEY+) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: In "Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers," Chip and Dale are living amongst cartoons and humans in modern-day Los Angeles, but their lives are quite different now. It has been decades since their successful television series was canceled, and Chip (voice of Mulaney) has succumbed to a life of suburban domesticity as an insurance salesman. Dale (voice of Sandberg), meanwhile, has had CGI surgery and works the nostalgia convention circuit, desperate to relive his glory days. When a former castmate mysteriously disappears, Chip and Dale must repair their broken friendship and take on their Rescue Rangers detective personas once again to save their friend’s life.
As the tagline tells you, it’s not a reboot, it’s a comeback. Finally, for the first time, there’s some truth in Hollywood marketing. Everyone’s favourite impish chipmunks, Chip and Dale (some may argue they rank after the other famous trio, Alvin and the chipmunks) returns to the small screen after their Rescue Rangers animated series ended almost three decades ago.
Although the concept of mixing live action and animation have been done to death with the likes of Roger Rabbit to the recent Space Jam 2 and Sonic 2, Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers stood out mainly for its inventive comedy adventure and hearty laughs. In a way, it all boils down to story. There’s no point bringing back good old Disney characters just for the sake of it. Fortunately, director Akiva Schaffer and his writers know how to pay tribute to Disney legacy yet breathing new life to them.
Chip and Dale has been best friends since elementary school which leads them to star in a successful TV series later on. But Dale who is sick of playing second banana decides to branch out to star in his own show, Double-O-Dale. Because of it, the two friends had a fallout subsequently with Chip (John Mulaney) ended up as an insurance salesman and Dale (Andy Samberg) as a washed-up TV star 30 years later.
But when their old co-star, Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) gets kidnapped by a trafficking ring which specializes in bootleg productions, Chip and Dale has to put aside their differences and work with a local detective Ellie Steckler (Kiki Layne) to rescue Jack before he is digitally altered by the evil gang leader aka middle age and overweight Peter Pan, Sweet Pete (Will Arnett).
If you love the classic, harmless Rescue Rangers animated series, the movie continues its tradition of having Chip being the fearless, smart leader and Dale being the usual goofy sidekick with a big heart. The duo continues to be competent detectives as they search for clues and brainstorm for ideas although it can be a bit jarring at first watching a CGI Dale opposite Chip who remains in his classic animated form. Their arch-enemy Fat Cat is missing this time round but no worries, Sweet Pete, Bob, a motion-captured dwarf (played hilariously by Seth Rogen) and Jimmy, a Coca-Cola look-alike polar bear is enough to make viewers giddy with delight at their crazy antics.
Disney sure knows how to incorporate the idea of multiverse into every production they can lay their hands on. Well, Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers is set in a toon world where every recognizable IP is spotted looming either in the background or forefront. And it’s not just Disney characters but those from rival toy companies, Mattel, Lego and Hasbro. Even the original rejected Sonic design pops up as Ugly Sonic and he has a decent role in the movie as well.
Chip and Dale might be a tad unfamiliar to kids but the flick delivers enough fun, thrill and messages about friendship to keep the younger ones engaged. For those who grew up watching Disney cartoons, this served up a huge teaspoon of nostalgia and undeniable level of infectious energy and laughs. It’s definitely one of the best if not an impressive original Disney+ movie for a while.
Review by Linus Tee