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The Rescuers Down Under
1990 - G - 74 Mins.
Director: Hendel Butoy & Mike Gabriel
Written By: Jim Cox
Starring: The voices of: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy, George C. Scott
Review by: John Ulmer
   
"The Rescuers Down Under" is a wonderful tale, the rare film that surpasses its original in many, many ways. It has more flair, better animation and the characters are much more interesting. It is the sequel to "The Rescuers," which was released 13 years earlier. They took their time making this sequel - and it paid off. Cartoons can often be represented in a dull fashion, and others can take your breath away - this one takes your breath away.

The intrepid mouse explorers Bernard and Bianca (voices of Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor) from the original film return in "The Rescuers Down Under," when they hear word that a small boy in Australia has been kidnapped by a poacher named McLeach (voiced by the creepy George C. Scott). McLeach has also captured a large eagle, and the kidnapped boy, Cody, has a bond with the large beast.

The Rescuers fly Down Under by hitching a ride on the hilarious, never over-the-top albatross Wilbur (voiced by John Candy). Once there, they pick up a local Aussie "kangaroo mouse" named Jake, who indeed resembles a miniature kangaroo. There are also some other delightful new characters, including Frank, a numbskull lizard, and Joanna the goanna lizard, the sidekick of McLeach. The key to this film is that they know how to make great characters - Joanna is just as fun to watch as Frank, and Jake is just as fun to watch as Bernard and Bianca. You never feel any hate towards any characters. My personal favorite was Wilbur, the albatross. He appears at various points in the film, caught in a mouse hospital, caught watching over eagle eggs, and caught hatching eagle eggs. He awaits the return of Bernard and Bianca, and he's too good-natured to just fly away and forget about them. And John Candy's voice talents are priceless.

A lot of the amazing animation on this film takes place in the air, on the back of a soaring eagle. The animation in the original was raspy, dark and creepy. It wasn't nearly as breathtaking, or even enjoyable to watch. There also aren't any musical numbers in this film - at least not that I remember - and that also helps it out a bit. (I hated the original and its songs.) Maybe it's just me, but sometimes musical numbers don't fit into 'toons - and this is one of those.

"The Rescuers Down Under" is one of the best Disney films I have ever seen. The Disney animation of the 1970s, such as "The Rescuers," was the low-point of Disney. The high-point was films like "Pinnochio." And in all honesty, this film is more interesting than both combined. It's got great animation, an intriguing and fun story, and excellent, well-developed characters. Only one thing entered my head when the credits started to roll: Can this possibly be a cartoon?
 
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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