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Movie Review

Release Date: 05/20/22 [
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy

Studio: The Walt Disney Studios


"Thirty years after their popular television show ended, chipmunks Chip and Dale live very different lives. When a cast member from the original series mysteriously disappears, the pair must reunite to save their friend."


For as long as Saturday Night Live has been around, I believe it’s only spawned two truly great things. The first being that iconic “Cowbell” skit with Christopher Walken. The second being The Lonely Island. Now, there are few creators in the film industry that I would trust implicitly with anything and who I also think never miss. Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer’s The Lonely Island is a prime example.


From a simple song about being on a boat to a tropical take on Groundhog Day, the trio has churned out some of the best, brilliant, and funniest projects - across a variety of platforms and formats - over the last few decades. Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Ranger is (un)surprisingly the latest. 


The film features the voices of John Mulaney and Andy Samberg as Chip and Dale respectively, with a supporting cast that includes Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Keegan-Michael Key, Eric Bana, J.K. Simmons, and Kiki Layne.


Set in a world where 2D animated characters, 3D animated characters, and humans co-exist, the genre-bending film follows the two titular chipmunks as they search for one of their former co-stars, who’s been kidnapped. Along the way, however, they learn that there’s a much darker side to the industry they were once the stars of as they uncover a criminal underground run by a begrudged kingpin.


Between the film’s core mystery and its integration of both live action and animation, I’d be surprised if there weren’t any comparisons to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. However, those two things aside, the film distinguishes itself quite a bit. Not only with the direction it takes, but with its humor and more ambitious cameos as well.


Now, unlike most other detective stories and mysteries this film doesn’t make you wait until the very end to see what’s happening or even who the big baddie is. Because we learn the who, how, and why early on, the primary focus shifts to the antics and animosity between Chip ‘n Dale. Early on in the film, it’s revealed that the two had a falling out after their show ended. In fact, the only reason the two wind up working together again is because of how much they care for their mutual missing friend. As they continue to search for clues and evade the bad guys who know they know the truth, we also watch them slowly make amends. And I appreciated that. You don’t expect a film like this to put its characters first, but it does and I think it’s so much better as a result.


Despite my confidence in The Lonely Island’s ability to deliver, I will admit I did not expect this film to be as funny as it was either. The best jokes and gags are delivered through some truly unbelievable cameos. When I say truly unbelievable, I mean that I still can’t comprehend how they got away with certain characters appearing and how Disney actually approved the final product. While I’d love to spoil some of those appearances, I also think that the surprises definitely enhance the experience. The attention to detail is also sure to make rewatching the film all the more rewarding.


Although I did enjoy the film, I have to admit I still had one problem with it. That was the ending. It’s not to say the film’s conclusion isn’t satisfying, but it’s climax is certainly messy. What begins with fireworks somehow leads into the introduction of a brand new threat for our lead characters. While enjoyable, it definitely started to feel a bit too excessive. I think that if it weren’t for one brilliant and hilarious deus ex machina to cap it all, it could have fallen apart.

Simply put, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is somehow The Lonely Island’s strangest and most ambitious project, but it sticks the landing in a worthy spiritual successor and wildly successful reintroduction to Disney’s forgotten duo.

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