#29 the Rescuers Down Under (1990)
This movie was a pleasant surprise. I’d only ever watched it once, maybe twice, around the time when it came out. I was in preschool and hadn’t actually seen The Rescuers yet, so I’m guessing I just really didn’t get it. Anyway, I’ve always remembered not liking it and therefore avoided it completely, but it’s very enjoyable. Not quite as good as The Rescuers, and maybe a bit out of place in the midst of the Disney renaissance, but definitely better than Oliver and Company (previously intended to be a Rescuers sequel).
The standout scene by far is the opening sequence, with the young boy Cody wandering the outback/rainforests of Australia, meeting and saving a giant golden eagle (the flight scene is seriously breathtaking) and subsequently being kidnapped by a poacher who is in search of the eagle.
The opening felt a lot like The Lion King to me in terms of style and portrayal of the animals and the epic landscapes surrounding the characters. It really sucked me in and probably kept me more positive about the movie than I otherwise would have been - it does drag in spots.
Honestly I don’t think this needed to be a sequel to The Rescuers - it would have been just as good with Cody and his Australian animal friends carrying the story. However, as I very much like The Rescuers, I didn’t mind Bernard and Bianca returning. The worldwide Rescue Aid Society network shown at the start of the movie is also an nice addition to the world of the original Rescuers. I do tire, though, of the “Bernard tries and fails repeatedly to propose” storyline, as well as his jealousy towards the kangaroo mouse, Jake. The scenes involving the albatross are also a bit silly and feel like filler that doesn’t need to be there.
Overall, The Rescuers Down Under is a solid sequel with compelling new characters and consistent returning ones. Had it come out just five years earlier it would have really been a remarkable achievement, but between The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, it just looks alright.