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Animation and live action certainly appeared simultaneously on the same screen before 1988, but it was Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit that took the mixed visuals approach to new levels. And while the CGI revolution has been great for special effects, children’s films utilizing the hybrid technique have been positively awful, and not just in how they look. So it is with wild and crazy reservations that I pass on the news that the Disney-based Mandeville Pictures (Muppets Most Wanted) is gearing up to make a full feature out of Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, which will pit the CGI detective team into the real world for some reason.
The pitch came from Robert Rugen, the award-winning commercials director who has produced ads for Visa, HBO, Kodak and so on. No plot details are mentioned, but THR says this will be an updated take on the material, as well as a kind of origin story. Usually, I hate when remakes and things of that nature go back to the beginning, but I guess the origins of the Rescue Rangers hasn’t been done to death across all forms of media, and some kids today might not have any idea what a Monty is.
The series only ran for three seasons from 1989 to 1990, and also introduced the chipmunks to a new generation of children who may not have known them from the golden age of Disney shorts. Chip and Dale run a detective agency alone with their friends Monty, the jovial Australian mouse, Gadget, the mechanically-gifted female mouse, and Zipper, the buzzworthy housefly with a knack for getting into tight situations. The team generally solved crimes involving different members of the animal kingdom, particularly that purple jacket-wearing bastard Fat Cat. Now sing along to the theme song with me. "Ch-ch-ch-Chip and Dale!"
I guess it was only a matter of time before something like this happened, given Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 is coming, along with a third entry in the Smurfs franchise. Assuming there aren’t any five-minute scenes that revolve around chipmunk farts, this could actually be a decent idea, since the whole point of the show is having adventures and stopping bad guys. My only request is that they include a cameo from Darkwing Duck, so we can finally see that classic make it to the big screen.
If you’re hesitant to think that a commercial director is the right person for this job, check out Rugen’s short film Wiley vs. Rhodes, a live-action representation of the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. It’ll probably be the best thing you’ve seen today, if not all week.