The Rescuers Movie Review
The Rescuers is a 1977 animated film which is the 23rd Disney animated feature and the forth released in the seventies. It is their best seventies effort and a pretty good movie in its own right.
It is about two mice from the Rescue Aid Society who have to rescue a little orphan girl imprisoned by an evil treasure huntress. The story itself isn’t particularly original nor is it that memorable, but it is an interesting film to watch and really charming as well. I really liked it overall. It starts really well with such a powerful opening scene and the mice are wonderfully introduced as well. Then you have the flying sequence which is absolutely beautiful to behold and so well executed and then the action in the third act is mostly well done. And the conclusion is so heartwarming and emotionally satisfying.
The characters are superbly developed due to some stupendous characterization. Bernard is absolutely magnificent and such a realistic and for once atypical central character for Disney. Miss Bianca was too sexually charged in my opinion, but still very charming and just a likable character. Those two are such a great and instantly recognizable couple and their relationship is so effervescent and definitely the film’s highlight. This couple is one of Disney’s best and their most underrated.
Penny is a typical child character, but she is still such a sympathetic and genuinely lovable girl for whom you root for and she is portrayed in a grounded fashion and with a realistic character design. I really loved the fact that she is not too pretty as that is unusual for Disney. Orville is quite good as this goofy albatross sidekick and his flying routines are the comedic highlights of the movie. Brutus and Nero are solid henchmen whereas Evinrude is so damn likable and you really feel sorry for the little guy as he is constantly getting tired.
As for the villain Madame Medusa, she is the weakest link here. In fact, Mr. Snoops is the weakest as her henchman as he is totally useless. But she annoyed me as she was evidently a rip-off of Cruella De Vil not only in style, but in behavior as well. Yes, she posed real threat and was genuinely menacing, but she was still too reminiscent to that classic character.
Speaking of ‘101 Dalmatians‘, The Rescuers shares the problem of that movie which is that it has too much action in its second half. But the action was much weaker here. It is overall good, but there was too much of it in just the second half which not only created a jarring shift in tone from the previous half, but also made it too action-oriented on the expense of some interesting storytelling.
The animation is solid here. It is nowhere near as good as the animation from the classics of the 40s and 50s, but it is still much better than the other efforts from the seventies and overall quite an improvement not only in animation, but in character development and storytelling. I liked, as I said before, the character design of Penny, but the mice are also well realized as are the other animal characters and the natural environments. And I liked the swamp setting which was unique for the studio along with the cave of course in those visually great and intense last scenes.
The soundtrack is really good and quite underrated. It is well scored, but the songs are also very good. The Journey is an opening song and the representative example of everything that is good and wrong about the film’s songs. It has not as memorable or as catchy lyrics, but the music is so good and so emotionally involving and even poetic that I enjoyed it very much. Tomorrow is Another Day is similar – forgettable, but well sung and with good music and accompanied by such a beautiful flying sequence that is very romantic as well. Someone’s Waiting for You is brief, but emotional and overall the songs here are too short which is why this isn’t a musical, but they are overall good and it is interesting how it is old-fashioned in style which differentiates it from other features of the time. But Rescue Aid Society is naturally the standout song here and the best by a mile. It is so incredibly catchy, so inherently charming and it wonderfully introduces you to both its characters and its world.
It has quite memorable imagery and setting well put to use. It has good animation and the voice cast is superb with Eva Gabor naturally being the highlight and she created the character wonderfully. The script is solid and well crafted, if not particularly memorable or sophisticated. The character development is simply stupendous and it is overall really well directed and crafted movie with nice world-building. And it is a rare instance of a movie having animal characters speaking with humans and doing it in a charming and not too childish or ridiculous way. The finale with Penny saying hello to the two mice via television is just so wonderful to behold. The score is good and the tone is well handled with nice humor and some really dramatic scenes and also romantic as well. The sequences that stood out to me are the flying scene which is so romantic and the cave sequence which is so thrilling and intense. The movie isn’t that smart, but it does have a big heart. It lacks energy in its execution which is one of its biggest problems. It is also a typical territory for Disney, it’s a bit forgettable and its action is overwhelming, but it is mostly well paced and it is inherently charming and just so likable and always heartwarming. It is definitely Disney’s best 1970s effort and a nice original story and a great throwback to the classic Disney films of the fifties and most of all sixties.