In a world filled with sequels, prequels, reboots, remakes, and the like, we get a film that manages to point out everything wrong with the film industry and more. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is that kind of film! Brought to you by the music comedy team that is The Lonely Island, and director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers sets out to poke fun at Hollywood’s need to turn beloved IPs into full-fledged reboots for the sake of money, er, I mean… nostalgia in a clever meta adventure, starring our favorite high-pitched gumshoes. Though in this case, the chipmunks are actors, and their voices are that of comedians John Mulaney and Andy Samberg.
Taking place in a world where humans coexist with toons (Remind you of something?), Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers gives us an origin story of sorts as to how the two chipmunks met, and went on to star in their own show, which is, if you know, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, which showed Chip and Dale going on adventures where they solved cases. I was a kid when the show itself was on Toon Disney in the form of reruns, and with all others that appeared on the platform, I enjoyed it enough, but I am not as well-versed in its world. Joining Chip and Dale were the cheese-loving Monterey Jack, tech-savvy inventor, Gadget, and fly, Zipper. People who remember the show will feel the nostalgia the moment they see clips of it on the television in the movie. The story picks up during the celebration of what may be their successful run, as they party with a bunch of other cartoon characters, including Roger Rabbit (Because, why not?). Yet, it may just end up being their last season, as the show itself got cancelled.
Cut to thirty years later, Dale (Samberg), now a CG-caricature, is attending fan conventions, where he is not as noticed as he should be. While Chip (Mulaney), still in his 2-dimensional cartoon self, is an insurance-salesman, who lives alone with his dog, Millie. It is clear that the two munks have not kept in touch with each other for a long time due to personal differences. Yet what better to reunite the two than a mystery involving kidnapped cartoons and a secret plot, which is way too clever for me not to talk about here, but dare I say, it leads to a plethora of jokes regarding the cynical nature of Hollywood.
Their journey leads them to different locations, and all sorts of wacky characters, each in their own distinct style, from a claymation cop (Voice of J.K. Simmons) to a motion-capture Seth Rogen as a dwarf eerily-reminiscent to something out a Robert Zemeckis CG film (Think Polar Express and the uncanny valley style of animation that plagued the 2000’s). There are even loads of cameos ranging from different cartoon characters from all sorts of media, instead of what Disney owns, leading to some unbelievably funny gags.
In case you didn’t already get the memo, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is reminiscent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit with its blend of animation and live-action, but feels more like The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle with its meta approach of the way cartoons influence reality. Though it doesn’t have the same effect as Roger Rabbit, being that the animation feels more drawn over instead of successfully blending in with its environment, I found Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers to unsurprisingly be a real good time. Warner Bros., take notes! This is how you revive a beloved property! (I’m looking at you, Tom & Jerry)