- Movie Rating -

Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers (2022)

| May 21, 2022

The tagline for Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers proudly announces that “It’s not reboot, it’s a comeback.” Actually it’s a confusing morass of both, plus an update, a remake, a follow-up, a rehash, and a badly rendered nostalgic day-trip.  I challenge anyone to nail down exactly what this movie is.

My interpretation is that it is an expensive cash-in on a name-brand that was popular 35 years ago and has been reframed into a meta-heavy series of spot-gags aimed at on our current cinematic output.  Nary an idea is presented in this movie that comes from a place of love or fond memory but more from a place of pop-culture identity – Hey!  There’s Clara Bell the Cow!  I know that character!  And Hey!  Roger Rabbit.  He was in a thing that I remember!  Wow!  This movie knows Voltron.  It’s ridiculous

The title promises the same kind of Disney Afternoon zeal that we got three decades ago following the titular rodents as they went on adventures and solved mysteries.  This is not that.  The over-caffeinated story catches up with Chip and Dale long after their partnership has ended.  They’re actors, you see, who were once the stars of “Rescue Rangers” but at the height of their success, Dale got an offer for a solo project – a James Bond-type show that imploded shortly after the pilot.  Currently, Chip works in insurance while Dale rides the convention circuit.

Okay, so there’s an interesting idea in there, but the world in which this duo exists is confusing.  It wants to exist in the kind of cross-over universe as Who Frame Roger Rabbit, with animated characters co-existing with live action people, but where Roger Rabbit established an organic meshing of the two, Chip ‘n Dale never really defines it.  This film is such a mish-mash of badly-handed references, in-jokes and familiar characters that the movie never really finds a through-line.  Example: there’s a reference to that ungodly CG Sonic with the human teeth.  But outside of simply reminding you that this thing existed it has no real purpose here.  It’s a reference for reference sake.  It is never organic to the story.

And the movie does this over and over and over.  A familiar character pops onscreen so that we can recognize it and then is whisked out again, never to be seen again.  The jokes involving them are almost never funny or clever.  It’s just a cameo by something you remember.

The basic idea is, itself, quite clever.  It seems that in this world, animated characters can get upgrades to their animation much like plastic surgery – which is why the ads feature a 2D Chip and a CG Dale.  The mystery turns out to be a villain (whose identity I won’t spoil because it is kind of cool) wants to render the entire world in a new kind of animation.  That beings said both the 2D and the CG animation in this movie are badly rendered and look even worse when placed in front of a real-world background.  That’s especially true in the case of Dale whose CG colors in the real tera firma look faded and drag, and Chip in the 2D rendering looks blobby, like an old PS2 game.

That sounds like critical griping, right?  Well, consider that I am also a fan of Chip and Dale going all the way back to their best shorts like “Three for Breakfast” and “All in a Nutshell” and “Chicken in the Rough.”  And yes, I did make “Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers” part of my afternoons when I was in high school.  That’s what makes this movie such a frustrating experience.  It’s not really interested in Chip and Dale.  It’s a collection of ideas and references lazily thrown together into a movie that looks like cut scenes from a video game.  This was an aggressively unpleasant experience.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Kids