‘The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition Double Feature’ Blu-ray Review

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'The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition Double Feature' Blu-ray Review

For me, ‘The Rescuers’ series is one of the true gems of Walt Disney Animation’s filmography. Both movies are full of colorful characters, exciting adventure, great humor, and lots of heart. That’s what makes the films so memorable for me, and really makes them stick out above many of the others. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find out that for the first films thirty fifth anniversary. These were two Disney Animation films I thought we wouldn’t see on blu anytime soon, and I’m so glad to see that Disney proved me wrong. Not only do we get both films now on blu-ray, we get both with gorgeous looking new blu-ray transfers to boot. ‘The Rescuers’ and ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ are back, and looking better than ever, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

‘The Rescuers’ films follow the adventures of Bernard (Voiced by the incredible Bob Newhart) and Miss Bianca (Voiced by the late Eva Gabor), two mice that are part of the Rescue Aid Society. Bernard is mild-mannered janitor for the group, who is a bit on the superstitious side. Miss Bianca on the other hand is much more on the adventurous side, and much more proper and elegant. Together, the two form one of the greatest odd couples of adventure we’ve ever seen. Together, they travel the world to help those that are in need. From the city streets of New York City, to the swamp lands of Louisiana, to the beautiful Outback of Australia, nothing is too big for our mice heroes. In ‘The Rescuers’, Bernard and Miss Bianca are on the quest to save Penny, an orphan girl who is being held captive in an abandoned rive boat by the evil Madame Mudusa. She’s obsessed with finding the jewel known as the Devil’s Eye. ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ follows the duo once again, as they search for a young boy named Cody who has been taken by a crazed hunter named Percival P. McLeach. Cody discovers and befriends a rare eagle, and McLeach wants him. When the boy doesn’t talk, he decides to take matters into his own hands and takes the boy. Bernard and Bianca are on their way to the rescue, with the help of their new friend Jake, a Kangaroo mouse with a thing for Miss Brianca. Hold on to your chairs, everyone, because with ‘The Rescuers’ films, you’re in for a wild ride unlike any other.

One of the reasons I’ve always loved ‘The Rescuers’ films is for the cast alone. Where else will I get to have Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy, George C. Scott, George Lindsey, and others all in one film. There are some amazing names attached to these films, and they all bring some of their best work to these characters. I think that Bob Newhart as Bernard may be my favorite out of the whole group. Over both films, he plays the role absolutely perfectly. I’m a big fan of him, and his work in these films never disappoints. Eva Gabor does just as wel as Miss Bianca. She’s just the perfect mix of adventurous  and classy, and it really shows in her character. These two were tailor-made for their roles, and it really elevates these films. The supporting players throughout the films are just as wonderful, including a memorable role by John Candy as Wilbur Wright, a rather hilarious albatross who aids Bernard and Bianca on their adventure in ‘The Rescuers Down Under’. The character is very Candy like, down to the personality. It’s safe to say knowing Candy was on board, they tailored the character to him. He has a very memorable introduction, which may be one of my favorite moments in both films. The great cast of actors really makes these films soar higher than most, making them that much more enjoyable for the voice work alone.

But really, when you here the title ‘The Rescuers’, your mind immediately jumps to something adventurous, and let me tell you, it lives up to them. When I was growing up, these were two of my favorite films, ‘Down Under’ especially, for their lighthearted and fun tone full of adventure. They’re almost like animated versions of the ‘Indiana Jones’ series, at least for me. Full of action, adventure, and humor, they’re perfectly balanced and a lot of fun. The finale of ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ is one of my all time favorite scenes in any animated film, where the Rescuers finally save Cody from the clutches of the evil McLeach. As a little kid, that scene was one of the most intense things I’d ever seen. I’m all grown up now, but the scene is still very intense even now. That’s great storytelling, and really makes me love the films that much more. I really like the scene in the first film where Penny and the rescuers discover the Devil’s Eye. As the well they’re in continues to fill with water, you can’t help but clutch the edge of your seat, wondering exactly how they’re going to get out of it. These two films are full of moments like that, and I couldn’t be happier to see them hold up all these years later.

Thankfully, as seems to always be the case, Disney has brought us a rather spectacular release. First and foremost, I have to say that ‘The Rescuers’ looks absolutely stunning on blu-ray. This is the best I’ve ever seen the film, and the film looks brand new, like I’ve never seen before. While ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ looks brilliant, it’s ‘The Rescuers’ itself that really has the noticeable upgrade. For a film that came out in 1977, I can’t believe just how clean and sharp it looks now. The colors no longer look faded, detail to the animation that I’ve never seen in the animation is now visible. This is a beautiful restoration, and I’m happy to see it get this level of work. ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ really does look beautiful as well. Disney didn’t skimp at all on these restorations of these films, and I’m so happy about that. ‘The Rescuers’ also comes to blu-ray loaded with wonderful special features. There is a deleted song, ‘Peoplitis’, from the first film is here, which is definitely a treat. It’s definitely fun to see what could have been added into the film, and sticks out as one of my favorite features. Another great feature is a Silly Symphony animated short, ‘The Three Blind Mouseketeers’. I’ve been loving that many of the Disney releases as of late have featured these Symphony shorts, because I love revisiting them. I hope eventually Disney will release all those shorts on a blu-ray release, because I’d love to have a standalone copy featuring them all. We also have one of the Disney True-Life Adventures, ‘Water Birds’, a  sing along to ‘Someone’s Waiting For You’, and the making of ‘The Rescuers Down Under’. This is a loaded disc, and I’m really glad to see we got so many fun goodies with it.

‘The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Double Feature’ blu-ray release doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. Fans of the films are sure to be very pleased with this newest offering from the Disney vault, featuring incredible picture and sound, some excellent bonus features, and both films together in one place. I’m happy to see the films have been treated so well, and I’m definitely glad they’ve arrived on blu-ray. The films are standing the test of time very well, and play just as well now as they did for me when I was a kid. That’s the art of great storytelling, and I’m glad to see that time has been kind to these films. I can’t recommend this release highly enough.

Rating: A

 

  • ‘The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition’ Two Movie Collection Come to Blu-ray August 21 (chipandco.com)
  • 35th Anniversary Edition (The Rescuers / The Rescuers Down Under) Coming to Bluray (pics.chipandco.com)
'The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition Double Feature' Blu-ray Review

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