Story: Chipmunks and television stars Chip and Dale haven’t seen each other in 30 years since their Disney series was cancelled. They reunite to save an old friend and cast member Monterey Jack, whose cheese addiction puts him in debt to a Sweet Pete. Monty is abducted as part of a criminal operation where Pete changes cartoons’ appearance and sells them abroad to produce bootleg works.
Review: Chip and Dale have drifted apart after their famed series is cancelled when the latter decides to go solo. While Chip goes on to become a hotshot boat and RV insurance salesman, Dale is still in Hollywood and makes money at fan conventions. While Chip is all serious, Dale hasn’t lost his coolth. When their friend and co-actor Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped, Chip reluctantly joins Dale and police officers Willie (KiKi Layne) in tracking him down, as the duo rekindles their friendship.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is clever from the beginning. The animated show is referenced as the Disney series itself and Chip, Dale, Monty, and the others are all actors. They start off as 2D characters like the original, and after 30 years, Chip is still a hand-drawn cartoon but Dale gets a ‘CGI surgery’ and becomes 3D. And in-between, a look back at 2000s animation with the Viking who appears with Polar Express eyes. And they live in a world co-populated by cartoons and humans. So, the crossbreed of different formats is like an evolution of animation.
The movie is a bit of a drag in the beginning and seems long-drawn in parts. But stay put for the joyride in the bizarre world where old toons pull off social security scams and get into brawls. You will be treated to references galore from Peter Pan, Uncle Scrooge, a muscular Garfield, Rugrats, and so on. You also need to stay sharp to enjoy the satire or relatively obscure animation shebang. Sweet Pete (a middle-aged and pot-bellied Peter Pan) says, “I need my own reboot,” and Chip’s snarky question to Dale is, “Do you have any original ideas? Or are you just constantly recycling old scripts?” These drive home the point that Akiva Schaffer and the makers are here to take a jab at Hollywood’s need to feed on nostalgia.
John Mulaney (Chip) and Andy Samberg (Dale) are perfectly voice-cast in the movie that may appeal more to a niche audience of the 80s and 90s kids who are familiar with the original Chip ‘n Dale series, which was rather shortlived.