Today I watched Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel’s The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
As the title implies, this film takes the formula of the first Rescuers film to the exotic setting of the Australian outback. Another kid has been kidnapped and it is once again up to the Rescue Aid Society’s two best, Bianca and Bernard to save them. The kidnappee this time around is an adventurous young boy from the outback named Cody who has befriended the animals, most notably a giant eagle named Marahute. This eagle is so huge it can bear Cody on it’s back during flight as though he were nothing, such a rare specimen has attracted the attention of a poacher though, our villain for the movie. The poacher, named McLeach, captures Cody for the purposes of finding this eagle.
Yes it’s pretty much the same story of a villain kidnapping a child so they can find some greater treasure, but that’s excusable considering the amount of time between the two films. In many ways this entry is an improvement on it’s predecessor though, obvious technological advantages in the animation being among the least of them. Firstly the film is much more well paced and the action sequences have an epic grandeur to them, fully exploiting the titular locale for some very impressive sequences. Secondly it gives Bernard the character arc he always needed, becoming more assertive and brave through his adventures.
But that is also where my one major complain with the movie lies, one of they ways it goes about delivering Bernard’s arc is through a contrived love triangle and the introduction of new, Australian adventure mouse, Jake. Jake is a boring character who is not developed in the slightest, all I really know about him is that he lassos his problems, as absurd as that may be in the situation. The really criminal part of his inclusion is that he robs the two real protagonists of some much needed screen time, especially Bianca. In the accent department the film also has numerous problems as they are never really consistent, some people have Australian accents, some don’t, some have half an accent. If they had tightened this up and given some of the action and dialogue beats that Jake gets to the primary protagonists, this could have been a really incredible feature, as it stands it’s only quite good. 4/5