Sunday, January 31, 2010

Movie Review: The Rescuers

The Rescuers (1977) *** (out of 5 asterisks)
Director: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens
Cast: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page, Michelle Stacy

Nicely animated and is just a cute, fun, amusing movie all the way through. (And despite my disdain for mostly unnecessary Disney animated sequels, "The Rescuers Down Under" is excellent and in many ways trumps the original.) Recommended for family movie night, or something to keep the kids occupied for almost 90 minutes.

Additional commentary:

As a lifelong animation addict, it's surprising that I waited 30 years after its release to finally watch this. For any animation fan familiar with the work of director/animator/artist Don Bluth (An American Tail, The Secret of N.I.M.H., Anastasia), you'll find Don's distinct visual fingerprints all over it. Bluth, who served as the film's directing animator, has a flair for animating animals, especially cats and mice which this movie has in spades.

I really enjoyed the vocal performances too -- the "celebrity" voices are a great fit for the characters and -- unlike a number of other animated films that feature celebrity voices -- they don't distract or pull you out of the film based on who they are or how they perform.

My only complaint about the film is not about the film at all, but the DVD release. Disney's 2003 version is skimpy on bonus content, lacks THX certification, and some parts of the film look flecky, grainy and washed out. This film is long overdue to be pulled from The Vault for a proper restored release on DVD and Blu-Ray for Disney's Platinum or Diamond Collection.

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