Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Rescuers Down Under


This was Disney’s first animated sequel until Fantasia 2000, which was not really a sequel but a continuation, as Walt had first envisioned it. (I’m not counting those now innumerable direct-to-video things. I haven’t seen any of them, and I don’t intend to. I mean, Bambi II? Cinderella III: A Twist in Time? Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure? Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas? Give me a break.) I wondered why a sequel to this particular one, The Rescuers, a rather routine entry in the canon, then I realized it made a certain sense. It lends itself to The Further Adventures of … since the Rescue Aid Society can be assumed to have lots of missions to carry out. Same with The Great Mouse Detective. Basil would have new cases to solve. Most of the others come to a conclusion that seems emotionally satisfying, which is why I’m not interested in The Lion King 1½. (Yes, there really is such a thing.) This one is about on the same level as the first one, and I still have my same objections to Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor as the voices of animated characters. John Candy has replaced Jim Jordan, who retired, as the albatross airline. The film looks very good, with interesting backgrounds and great color. Much of it is very clever and inventive A lot of early CGI was used to more easily give three-dimensional effects, and there are many more swooping, careening, Star Wars kind of shots than in previous films. The story is okay, and George C. Scott does a good job as the voice of the villain, but that brings me to my chief objection. I guess Scott’s total lack of an Aussie accent could be explained if he were an American who had taken up residence in the Outback, but what about the kid? He grew up there, and he sounds like a native of Omaha, Nebraska. Were they afraid of using accents for the main characters? A kangaroo and a kangaroo rat both speak as an Aussie should, but no one else does. Damn it, the accents didn’t have to be as thick as Crocodile Dundee, but it seems somehow insulting to dispense with them entirely. One more thing … though this is obviously on a fantasy level, what with animals talking to the boy and all, the animals were pretty accurately drawn, and of normal size, except for one. I had a little trouble with an eagle the size of a 747 with the boy riding on his back.