The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

Directed by: Hendel Butoy/Mike Gabriel

Written by: Jim Cox/Karey Kirkpatrick/Byron Simpson/Joe Ranft

Based on characters created by: Margery Sharp


Disney’s first sequel. It’s first movie made without a camera. And it’s first “bomb” of the Rennaisance.

In 1986, Disney decided that it was time to start a sequel to The Rescuers. Adventure movies in Australia were big, so they set it in the Outback. Luckily, they were able to get the stars of the original, Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor, back to reprise their roles. They also got Bernard Fox back as Chairmouse. Sadly, Jim Jordan who voiced Orville in the original, had died two years before. But they cast John Candy as his brother, Wilbur.

The film opens in the Outback where a little American boy named Cody (Adam Ryen) lives his life for animals. He runs around freeing animals from poachers traps while his mom worries. He frees a giant eagle, but gets himself trapped in a big pit set by McLeach (George C Scott – the character is actually based on his character from Dr Strangelove). McLeach kidnaps Cody because he knows where the eagle’s nest is. Of course, the kid is strong willed.

Enter Rescue Aid Society! They send Bernard and Miss Bianca to Australia to save Cody. Wilbur takes them around the world and they meet Jake (Tristan Rogers), a kangaroo mouse who ends up being their guide, mainly because he fancies Miss Bianca.

Aussie adventure happens.

The movie’s fun, but it kinda pales in comparison to the original. Like the original, there are no songs sung by any of the characters. In fact, there are no songs at all. There were, but they cut them out because they just slowed down the story. I think that was a good call. I can’t imagine where any songs would really fit. But it’s pretty much the last time that a Disney movie wasn’t a full on musical.

The main issue I have is with the ending. It just kinda…ends. I mean, it’s happy and all. But there’s no real conclusion at all. There’s a rescue and then…THE END. We’re almost in the middle of the action when the movie ends.

Because of the new technology, the action scenes are really good. Especially the flight scene towards the beginning when Cody is riding the giant eagle all over the Outback canyons. It’s a really beautiful sequence that made me want to ride an eagle.

But the rest of the movie is just kinda…there. The magic is still there between Bob and Eva (this was her last role), but they’re not really in it enough. In 77 minutes, there’s probably onscreen for about 25 minutes. And the other characters, while charming, aren’t as good as they are.

Totally worth watching. But don’t think it’s going to replace the original.

Next up, the Rennaisance really gets going.