REVIEW: Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)

(L-R): Dale (voiced by Andy Samberg) and Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) in Disney’s live-action CHIP ‘N DALE: RESCUE RANGERS, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Directed by Akiva Schaffer – Screenplay by Dan Gregor & Doug Mand.

From the director of the hilarious pop-mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a Who Framed Roger Rabbit?-style live-action and animation blended film wherein the animated characters Chip and Dale (voiced by John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, respectively) are actors who starred in their very own television show — i.e. the real-life television show of the same name — but who, thirty years later, have gone their separate ways and lost touch. When their old co-star Monterey Jack (voiced by Eric Bana), who has a ‘stinky cheese addiction,’ is kidnapped by the so-called Valley Gang, Chip and Dale must work together to find and save Monterey Jack before he is forced to be a part of the Valley Gang’s bootlegging business.

It’s no secret that over the years the film industry has become inundated with films capitalizing off nostalgia. Some of these films — like Ready Player One — can sometimes feel like rather hollow products, as they fail to stand on their own. Whereas other films — like The LEGO Movie — successfully poke fun at the state of the industry, blockbuster filmmaking, or the like. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is the latter; a self-aware and outright hilarious movie that put a huge smile on my face with its many meta-jokes or visual gags and references. The nostalgia drew me in, and its meta-jokes had me grinning from ear to ear. It’s also the kind of film that I’m honestly really surprised got made. Disney allowed Schaffer and co. to lampoon the industry and their products, and, at the same time, somehow the film was allowed to make fun of other studios’ properties like Sonic the Hedgehog and Cats.

Another film that it, ever so briefly, made me think of was last year’s Tom & Jerry from filmmaker Tim Story. Chip ‘n Dale is better in every way. The live-action/animation blend looks way better, the way it makes fun of CGI-updated characters is just genius (it is basically an animated version of botox and stuff like that), and, whereas the human characters and their uninvolving subplots overwhelmed Tim Story’s film, human characters are used just enough here. The film never loses sight of what is important for the film to succeed. As a side note, I would like to add that I also greatly enjoyed how annoyed Chip, in this film, was whenever the idea of rapping came up, as I thought the efforts to make Tom & Jerry hip and modern in their film were downright cringeworthy. Akiva Schaffer’s Chip ‘n Dale doesn’t make those kinds of missteps. The only thing holding it back is the predictable structure of the film. Frankly, it is one of the best film surprises thus far this year that this movie actually works.

8 out of 10

– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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