The Rescuers Down Under

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The Rescuers Down Under
Rescuersduposter.jpg
Original theatrical release poster
Directed byHendel Butoy
Mike Gabriel
Produced byThomas Schumacher
Screenplay byJim Cox
Karey Kirkpatrick
Byron Simpson
Joe Ranft
Based onCharacters created 
by Margery Sharp
StarringBob Newhart
Eva Gabor
John Candy
Tristan Rogers
Adam Ryen
George C. Scott
Frank Welker
Wayne Robson
Russi Taylor
Bernard Fox
Douglas Seale
Music byBruce Broughton
Editing byMichael Kelly
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • November 16, 1990 (1990-11-16)
Running time77 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$47,431,461[1]
 
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The Rescuers Down Under
Rescuersduposter.jpg
Original theatrical release poster
Directed byHendel Butoy
Mike Gabriel
Produced byThomas Schumacher
Screenplay byJim Cox
Karey Kirkpatrick
Byron Simpson
Joe Ranft
Based onCharacters created 
by Margery Sharp
StarringBob Newhart
Eva Gabor
John Candy
Tristan Rogers
Adam Ryen
George C. Scott
Frank Welker
Wayne Robson
Russi Taylor
Bernard Fox
Douglas Seale
Music byBruce Broughton
Editing byMichael Kelly
StudioWalt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • November 16, 1990 (1990-11-16)
Running time77 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$47,431,461[1]

The Rescuers Down Under (also known as The Rescuers 2) is a 1990 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 16, 1990. Set in the Australian Outback, the film features the voices of Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor in her final film role, and John Candy. The film centers on Bernard and Bianca travelling to Australia to save a boy named Cody from a bloodthirsty hunter in pursuit of an endangered bird of prey.

The 29th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, the film is the sequel to the 1977 animated film The Rescuers, which was based on the novels of Margery Sharp.

This film was the second released during the Disney Renaissance (1989–1999) era, which had begun the year prior with The Little Mermaid.

The Rescuers Down Under was the first animated theatrical film sequel produced by Disney; along with Fantasia 2000 and Winnie the Pooh, it is one of the few sequels that are part of the Disney animated features canon.

Plot[edit]

In the Australian Outback, a young boy named Cody rescues and befriends a rare golden eagle called Marahute, who shows him her nest and eggs. Later on, the boy falls in an animal trap set by Percival C. McLeach, a local poacher wanted by the Australian Rangers. When McLeach finds one of the eagle's feathers on the boy's backpack, he is instantly overcome with excitement, for he knows that catching an eagle that size would make him rich because he had caught one before, which was Marahute's mate. McLeach throws Cody's backpack to a pack of crocodiles in order to trick the Rangers into thinking that Cody was eaten, and kidnaps him in attempt to force him to tell about the whereabouts of Marahute.

A mouse, the bait in the trap, runs off to alert the Rescue Aid Society. The message is sent to the Rescue Aid Society headquarters in New York, and Bernard and Miss Bianca, the RAS' elite field agents, are assigned to the mission, interrupting Bernard's attempt to propose marriage to Bianca. They go to find Orville the albatross who aided them previously, but instead find his brother Wilbur. Bernard and Bianca convince Wilbur to fly them to Australia to save Cody. In Australia, they meet Jake, a hopping mouse who is the RAS' local regional operative. Jake falls in love with Bianca and starts flirting with her, much to Bernard's annoyance. He serves as their "tour guide" and protector in search of the boy.

At the same time, Wilbur is immobilized when his spinal column is bent out of its natural shape, convincing Jake to send him to the hospital. As Wilbur refuses to undergo surgery and flees, his back is unintentionally straightened by the efforts of the mouse medical staff to prevent him escaping through a window. Cured, Wilbur departs in search of his friends. At McLeach's ranch, Cody has been thrown into a cage with several of McLeach's captured animals after refusing to give up Marahute's whereabouts. Cody tries to free himself and the animals, but is thwarted by Joanna, McLeach's pet goanna. Realizing that Marahute's eggs are Cody's weak spot, McLeach tricks Cody into thinking that someone else has shot Marahute, making Cody lead him to Marahute's nest.

Bernard, Bianca, and Jake, knowing that Cody is in great danger, jump onto McLeach's Halftrack to follow him. At Marahute's nest, the three mice try to warn Cody that he has been followed; just as they do, McLeach arrives and captures Marahute, along with Cody, Jake, and Bianca. On McLeach's orders, Joanna tries to eat Marahute's eggs, but discovers that they are just egg-shaped stones. Frightened that McLeach might be angry with her, Joanna drops the stones into the water. When she leaves, Bernard crawls out of the nest with the hidden eggs, grateful that Joanna fell for the trick. Wilbur arrives at the nest, whereupon Bernard convinces him to sit on the eagle's eggs, so that Bernard can go after McLeach. McLeach takes Cody and Marahute to Crocodile Falls, where he ties Cody up and hangs him over a group of crocodiles and attempts to feed him to them. But Bernard, riding a type of wild pig called a "Razorback", which he had tamed using a horse whispering technique used by Jake on a snake earlier, follows and disables McLeach's vehicle.

McLeach then tries to shoot the rope holding Cody above the water. To save Cody, Bernard tricks Joanna into crashing into McLeach, sending both of them into the water. The crocodiles then turn their attention from Cody to McLeach and Joanna, while behind them the damaged rope holding Cody breaks apart. McLeach fights and fends off the crocodiles, but while Joanna reaches the shoreline, McLeach is swept over the waterfall, and presumably drowns. Bernard dives into the water to save Cody, but fails. His actions, however, buy Jake and Bianca enough time to free Marahute for her to save both Cody and Bernard, sparing them McLeach's fate. Bernard, desperate to prevent any further incidents, proposes to Bianca, who eagerly and happily accepts while Jake salutes him with a newfound respect. All of them depart for Cody's home. Wilbur, whom they have neglected to relieve of his task, incubates the eggs until they hatch, much to his dismay.

Cast[edit]

The Rescuers Down Under features three characters from the first film: Bernard, Bianca, and the Chairmouse, all of whom feature the same actors reprising their roles.

Production[edit]

The Rescuers Down Under is notable for Disney as its first traditionally-animated film to completely use the new computerized CAPS process. CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) was a computer-based production system used for digital ink and paint and compositing, allowing for more efficient and sophisticated post-production of the Disney animated films and making the traditional practice of hand-painting cels obsolete. The animators' drawings and the background paintings were scanned into computer systems instead, where the animation drawings are inked and painted by digital artists, and later combined with the scanned backgrounds in software that allows for camera positioning, camera movements, multiplane effects, and other techniques. The film also uses CGI elements throughout such as the field of flowers in the opening sequence, McLeach's truck, and perspective shots of Wilbur flying above Sydney Opera House and New York City. The CAPS project was the first of Disney's collaborations with computer graphics company Pixar,[2] which would eventually become a feature animation production studio making computer-generated animated films for Disney before being bought outright in 2006. As a result, The Rescuers Down Under was the first animated film for which the entire final film elements were assembled and completed within a digital environment. However, the film's marketing approach did not call attention to the use of the CAPS process.[3] It is Disney's second animated film that does not include any musical numbers, the first being The Black Cauldron.

A team of over 415 artists and technicians were required for the production of the film. Five members of the team traveled to the Australian Outback to observe, take photographs and draw sketches to properly illustrate the outback on film.[4]

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

With the new Mickey Mouse featurette The Prince and the Pauper as an added attraction, The Rescuers Down Under debuted to an opening weekend gross of $3.5 million:[1] fourth in its opening weekend after Home Alone, Rocky V, and Child's Play 2;[5] and below the studio's expectations.[2] As a result, then Walt Disney Studios chief Jeffrey Katzenberg decided to pull all of the Rescuers TV advertising.[2] The film eventually went on to make $47,431,461,[1] making it the least successful box-office performance of Disney's renaissance era.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received a mostly positive response. On Rotten Tomatoes, based on 25 reviews collected, the film has an overall approval rating of 68% "fresh", with a weighted average score of 6.2/10. The consensus states: "Though its story is second-rate, The Rescuers Down Under redeems itself with some remarkable production values -- particularly its flight scenes".

The staff of Halliwell's Film Guide gave it two stars out of four. "[This] slick, lively and enjoyable animated feature," they wrote, "[is] an improvement on the original."[6]

Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote, "Animation can give us the glory of sights and experiences that are impossible in the real world, and one of those sights, in 'The Rescuers Down Under,' is of a little boy clinging to the back of a soaring eagle. The flight sequence and many of the other action scenes in this new Disney animated feature create an exhilaration and freedom that are liberating. And the rest of the story is fun, too."[7]

TV Guide gave the film 2½ stars out of four, saying, "Three years in the making, it was obviously conceived during the height of this country's fascination with Australia, brought on by Paul Hogan's fabulously successful Crocodile Dundee. By 1990, the mania had long since subsided, and this film's Australian setting did nothing to enhance its box office appeal. Further, the film doesn't make particularly imaginative use of the location. Take away the accents and the obligatory kangaroos and koalas, and the story could have taken place anywhere. Another problem is that "the rescuers" themselves don't even enter the action until a third of the film has passed. And when they do appear, they don't have much to do with the main plot until near the film's end. The characters seem grafted on to a story that probably would have been more successful without them. Finally, the film suffers from some action and plotting that is questionable in a children's film. The villain is far too malignant, the young vigilante hero seems to be a kiddie "Rambo," and some of the action is quite violent, if not tasteless."[8]

Conversely, Ellen MacKay of Common Sense Media gave the film four out of five stars, writing, "A rare sequel that improves on the original".[9]

Amazon's featured review of the film, has David Kronke attempting an explanation for the films obscurity when stating, "The film opens with an absolutely breathtaking aerial sequence--this was made near the beginning of Disney's animation renaissance--so impressive it would seem the story, literally, has nowhere else to go but down, but some smart gags, excellent animation, and rollicking adventures ensue. So why isn't it better known? It had the bad luck to open, in 1990, opposite another kids' film--Home Alone." [10]

Josh Spiegel echoes that point and expands on it further, explaining, "The Rescuers Down Under tanked with barely $3.5 million in its opening-weekend take, Katzenberg removed all television advertisements for the film. By itself, that’s not the worst possible fate, but it proves that he had zero confidence in its ability to perform at a seemingly ideal time of year. Here’s the thing: the more demoralizing fact isn’t that Katzenberg yanked the marketing. It’s that Disney set The Rescuers Down Under up to fail, opening it on the same weekend as a little film called Home Alone, otherwise known as the highest-grossing film of 1990. He may not have been able to predict its long-lasting impact on popular culture, but Katzenberg likely had enough tracking information to tip him off that Home Alone would be a monster laying waste to everything in its path. The Rescuers Down Under was forced to take the hit, then and afterwards." [11]

Home media[edit]

The Rescuers Down Under was released in the Walt Disney Classics video series on September 20, 1991, while The Rescuers was released on VHS a year later in September 1992. It was re-released on VHS and DVD on August 1, 2000 as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection.

The Rescuers Down Under was released alongside The Rescuers on Blu-ray in a "2-Movie Collection" on August 21, 2012 to commemorate the first film's 35th anniversary.[12]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Rescuers Down Under



The file above is proposed for deletion. See files for deletion to help reach a consensus on what to do.
Film score by Bruce Broughton
Released1990
Recorded1990
LabelWalt Disney/EMI
ProducerBruce Broughton
Walt Disney Feature Animation chronology
The Little Mermaid
(1989)
The Rescuers Down Under
(1990)
Beauty and the Beast
1991

The score for the film was composed and conducted by Bruce Broughton. Unlike the vast majority of Disney animated features, there were no songs written for it (however, "Message Montage" includes a quotation from "Rescue Aid Society" by Sammy Fain, Carol Connors, and Ayn Robbins, the only musical reference to the first film). Allmusic gave the soundtrack a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.[13]

  1. Main Title (1:34)
  2. Answering Faloo's Call (1:32)
  3. Cody's Flight (6:02)
  4. Message Montage (2:49)
  5. At The Restaurant (3:06)
  6. Wilbur Takes Off (1:28)
  7. McLeach Threatens Cody (1:20)
  8. The Landing (2:01)
  9. Bernard Almost Proposes (1:36)
  10. Escape Attempt (1:30)
  11. Frank's Out! (3:23)
  12. Cody Finds The Eggs (1:33)
  13. Bernard The Hero (3:36)
  14. End Credits (3:41)

In 2006 Walt Disney Records reissued the album on compact disc, including the Shelby Flint songs "The Journey", "Someone's Waiting For You" and "Tomorrow Is Another Day" (from The Rescuers).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Rescuers Down Under (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Hahn, Don (2009). Waking Sleeping Beauty (Documentary film). Burbank, California: Stone Circle Pictures/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. 
  3. ^ Smith, Dave (1996). Disney A-Z: The Official Encyclopedia. New York: Hyperion. p. 414. ISBN 0-7868-6223-8. 
  4. ^ "The Rescuers Down Under". Disney Archives. Disney Online. Retrieved January 20, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for November 16-18, 1990". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ Gritten, David, ed. (2007). "The Rescuers Down Under". Halliwell's Film Guide 2008. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 986. ISBN 0-00-726080-6. 
  7. ^ "The Rescuers Down Under". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  8. ^ "The Rescuers Down Under Review". Movies.tvguide.com. November 3, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Ellen MacKay. "The Rescuers Down Under - Movie Review". Commonsensemedia.org. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  10. ^ David Kronke. "Editorial Reviews - Movie Review". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  11. ^ Josh Spiegel. "Extended thoughts on 'The Rescuers Down Under' - Movie Review". Soundonsight.org. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition (The Rescuers / The Rescuers Down Under) (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging)". Amazon.com. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ Jason Ankeny. "The Rescuers Down Under (Original Soundtrack)". Allmusic. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]