Some, if not most of the people my age remember a little something we came home from school to called 'The Disney Afternoon'. It was this great slot of cartoons, spanning about two hours, featuring classics like 'The Gummie Bears', 'Duck Tales', 'TaleSpin', 'Darkwing Duck', 'The Goof Troop', and a few more. My all-time favourite of the bunch, however, was 'Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers' (although 'Darkwing' was almost a coinflip).
'Rescue Rangers' featured the Disney duo, along with newcomer characters; Gadget - the brainy mouse; Monterey Jack - the brawny, Australian mouse; and Zipper - a housefly, and a sort of underdog character who only spoke in buzzes. The outfits they gave Chip and Dale were parodies of Indiana Jones and Magnum PI, respectively. Together, they would go on adventures, solving mysteries, and taking down a batch of repeating villains; namely Fat Cat - a sort of mob kingpin feline, and Professor Norton Nimnul - your average mad professor type.
The film, however, twists things into a sort of 'Roger Rabbit' universe (while making reference to said character) and plays out somewhat similarly. Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) meet in elementary school, and to make a long story short, one day they pair up and create the successful 'Rescue Rangers' series, explaining that they gave the 'Rescue Ranger' characters the cartoon voices we know from the show. Amid the show's great success, however, Dale gets his own show, the two have a falling out, and both 'Rescue Rangers' and the would-be 'Double-O-Dale' get cancelled.
After thirty years without fame, Chip takes a job as an insurance salesman while Dale lives in the past, going to all sorts of fan conventions. The two are called together, one day, by their old friend, Monterey Jack (Eric Bana), who owes a gang money for his cheese addiction. If he doesn't pay up, Monty may be kidnapped and altered in appearance only to be shipped overseas, and sold into bootlegging, being featured in the terrible, no-name, straight-to-video cartoons kids avoid. Of course, Monty does end up missing, and Chip and Dale have to put aside their differences to find and rescue him.
Along the way, they get some help from Police Captain Putty (J.K. Simmons) and (to a greater extent) Officer Ellie Steckler (KiKi Layne), who is a huge fan of 'Rescue Rangers' - the kind who can name every specific episode title and where it is in what season. And fans, not to worry, we do get to see Gadget (Tress MacNeille) and Zipper (Dennis Haysbert) come back as well. Just fair warning, their screen time isn't much. That said, it's hardly even the original characters that make this movie so good. I appreciate that this is a sort of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' for this generation, as there's plenty of adult humour here even though we're dealing with beloved childhood characters.
The most fun part of the film is how far it goes with some of its character cameos. Perhaps most entertaining is that of Ugly Sonic (Tim Robinson) from the original 'Sonic' movie trailers, before his glorious makeover, thanks to a fan uprising! We also have Seth Rogan doing some of his various cartoon voices we know him from, which leads me to wonder what kind of contract was signed upon making this movie. Another way it's similar to 'Roger Rabbit' is that it seems to be an open invitation to just about any company. The one that surprised me most was seeing a trailer for a 'Batman' movie within the movie. The open-invite concept this seems to give makes things so much more entertaining, because we never know who's gonna pop up next.
This was one seemingly made for my generation, as it brings up some early 90s nostalgia, and at the same time, as mentioned earlier, has its fair share of adult humour to it. Personally, I loved the concept here. It's a pretty unique product when the only thing I feel like I can really compare it to is 'Roger Rabbit'. The only difference in quality is that there are many more animated characters to pick from nowadays as opposed to in the late 80s. I'd say if you were ever a fan of 'Rescue Rangers', growing up, and have an appreciation for the better quality stuff the Lonely Island can create, then I highly recommend it. It's worth checking out either way though, just as a movie so big on its easter eggs.