Sometimes, some crimes, go slipping through the cracks but these two, gum shoes…are bringing the reboot back?
BQB here with a review of this uber meta movie.
If you’re a middle-aged person, chances are you loved a little slice of networking programming called “The Disney Afternoon” when you were a child. It all started with Ducktales and when young audiences of the late 1980s/early 1990s couldn’t get enough of Scrooge McDuck taking his duck nephews on globetrotting adventures, sure enough pretty much every other House of Mouse character got a reinvention for what was then considered the modern age.
You had TaleSpin, which featured the Jungle Book characters flying planes in search of derring-do and of course, Chip and Dale teamed up with an Australian adventurer mouse (Monterey Jack), a high-tech fixer of all things mouse (Gadget) and a mute fly (Zipper) to create their own detective agency.
Like everyone else now of a certain age where we’re too old to go back but too young to stop moving, I thought that simpler time of afternoon programming, where literally every other kid was watching the same thing so they could bond over it because there was nothing else to watch, were long over.
Thus, I found myself scratching my head in confusion when ads for this flick began circulating. Reboots of old shows/movies so often fail because that media was a product of a different time, so trying to breathe new life into a story that has its roots in the past can be an exercise of Weekend at Bernie’s-ian proportions. Eventually, Hollywood stops trying to drag the corpse of an old franchise around like the fly ridden meat puppet that it is and moves on to something else.
So, I have to admit, this movie surprised me…in that it’s pretty good.
Who is it for? That’s the million-dollar question, and frankly, a question I ask whenever an old show is rebooted. So often, Hollywood turns these reboots into a Frankenstein monster that the kids don’t want because the concept doesn’t appeal to the younger generation and the adults don’t want because it doesn’t embrace the essence of what made the show great a long time ago.
Ah, but leave it to the Lonely Island boys to find a humorous way to make something that appeals to everyone.
But first, I have to present the following points:
#1 – There is a world where humans and cartoons live together.
#2 – Cartoons are not animated. Cartoons are performed by cartoon actors, just as any other movie is performed by human actors.
Still with me? Hold on:
#3 – The Chip and Dale you know and love from Rescue Rangers were, in real life, actors who coincidentally have the voices of comedians John Mulaney (Chip) and Andy Samberg (Dale.) The voices from the old show? That was just Chip and Dale (actors) doing silly voices while playing fictional versions of themselves. Remember, they’re a duo of performing chipmunks who met in high school, went to Hollywood after graduation, and became famous performing a funny chipmunk act with characters of the same names, so famous that Disney greenlit their Rescue Rangers show and the rest is history.
Alright, now that you’ve traveled down that Matrix-like cartoon rabbit hole, you can start to wrap your head around this flick. Chip and Dale, the actor-munks, are now, like the kids who watched them back in the day, middle-aged-munks. It’s been years since they broke up and they are settling in with the grim reality that life probably will never be as exciting as they dreamed when they were young. (You know, just like the middle-aged adults who watched the munks when they were kids are doing right now.)
Blah, blah, blah, some stuff that I won’t give away happens and it is up to Chip and Dale to save the day, which will be new for them, because remember, they never actually saved the day in the past. They were just acting. But now they can’t just act. They must do, for they must get to the bottom of a mystery most foul and reunite with their old RR buddies (also toon actors) in the process.
Sounds ridiculous? Yes. Yes, it does, but, I’ll give it props because a) the middle-aged adults who loved RR as kids will get a kick out of it and b) their kids will enjoy it too because remember, at the end of the day, these toons are for the kids. Or are they? Toons for adults have been around so long it’s hard to know anymore but at any rate, with a PG rating, this is one the whole family can enjoy.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. My one criticism is if you ask who were the actors who played Chip and Dale before Rescue Rangers, you know, the chipmunks from the old 1950s cartoons where they just ran around and squeaked and stole apples and stuff from Donald Duck while they made his life a living hell, the whole premise falls apart, though I suppose they could explain that in the sequel, or the reboot. Don’t forget, a Rescue Rangers reboot is theoretically possible outside of this movie because the “real life” versions of Chip and Dale from this movie are just actors, after all.
I know it sounds like you need a flow chart and a slide rule to follow this movie, but don’t worry about it. Just turn it on, enjoy, and wonder how the heck you got so old. Curse you, time!