Welcome to Australia! The landscapes are diverse and breathtaking, the animals strange and beautiful, only some of the people have funny accents, and everything is poisonous!
Yes, that’s right… we’re on to our next film in the Disney Renaissance, and it’s a sequel! The very first sequel to make the list!
The Film: The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
- Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor returned to voice Bernard and Miss Bianca – but this would be Eva Gabor’s last film before her death in 1995. A third Rescuers film had been planned for 1996, but was scrapped after she passed away – and all future Rescuers films likewise were wiped off the drawing board. Additionally, the character of Orville was removed from this movie because his voice actor Jim Jordan had passed away. He was replaced with John Candy playing his brother, Wilbur. (Hashtag, Wright Brothers joke.)
- This is the first animated sequel for a Disney movie – all following sequels would be straight-to-video (except for Fantasia 2000).
- Use of the CAPS production system for this digital wonder of the modern animation world cut production time down by six whole months.
- The flight scenes with Marahute (the great golden eagle) were heavily inspired by the work of Japanese animation maestro, Hayao Miyazaki.
- The movie’s villain, Percival C. MacLeach, would inspire later Disney villains of a certain “masculine hunter” type, including Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), Clayton (Tarzan), Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas), and Commander Rourke (Atlantis: The Lost Empire).
- Interestingly, it was released in the same weekend as one of the highest grossing films of the 90s – Home Alone. This was the primary factor which led to The Rescuers Down Under being the least (financially) successful film of the Disney Renaissance, and ultimately discouraged Disney from releasing other sequels in cinemas. Direct-to-video, however, was another story…
- It is the only Disney Renaissance film to not be a musical.
- The voice actress of Minnie Mouse – Russi Taylor – has a cameo line as one of the nurse mice in the hospital when Wilbur is about to be operated on.
- The only actual Australians in the film are Tristan Rogers (the voice of Jake, the cool outback kangaroo mouse) and Peter Firth (the voice of Red, the male kangaroo in the MacLeach compound).
- Disney master animator Glen Keane is responsible for the exquisite animation work on Marahute.
- This quick-paced CGI sweep across the outback is stunning – but as a child, the Fella had no idea what those little pinkish white things were. Rocks? Tiny clouds? Nope. They’re flowers.
- Cody is the coolest kid ever. He sleeps in a hammock instead of a Normal Bed, he goes hiking in the wilderness every day, he talks to animals….he’s practically a druid. It’s hardcore and awesome.
- This movie started the young Fella’s obsession with kangaroos. Cody rides one in the first five minutes of the film – ultimate badass.
- The Fella marveled that Cody, age 8-10, climbs a ridiculously tall, steep rock face without equipment or spotting. “So this is what they meant by ‘unnecessary violence and high stakes’ in those reviews…”
- MARAHUTE THE GREAT GOLDEN EAGLE MOTHAF*CKAS she’s too good for dialogue okay just let it happen
- Cody was literally born without fear. Cliff-climbing, skydiving without a parachute, flying with and being chucked around by a giant eagle… zero fear.
- MacLeach has a pretty intense rig and equipment for poaching for a guy who didn’t finish elementary school. And he’s got a solid sense of cunning to boot – he tries to pull the wool over Cody’s eyes a bunch of times in this film, and sometimes he gets it right.
- Cody, rule number one about dealing with a gun-wielding poacher while you’re on your own with no backup is don’t mouth off! Rule number two is If you had just lied about finding the feather instead of knowing where the nest is, just… just lie, man.
- This sequence of the emergency message traveling from Australia across the globe as symbolized by a hot pink arrow reminds Aly of an Extra Gum commercial from the 90’s… oddly specific.
- Bernard and Miss Bianca 5ever!!! Who knows what romantic shenanigans they got up to between The Rescuers and this movie.
- Ladies and gentlemen: the Ghost of Christmas 90’s – John Candy.
- Wilbur spit-takes but it only hits Bernard. Of course. Aly: “Well, Miss Bianca has a +2 against spit-takes, splashing, and unexpected stains.”
- The flight sequence out of NYC is almost exactly the same as the flight sequence in the original Rescuers.
- Enter Jake, a Really Cool Kangaroo Mouse with a Sense of Adventure and a +2 to Wilderness Survival Skills. The Fella: “He’s the coolesttttt.”
- “You’ll go as a wallet, you’ll go as a belt, and Frank will go…. As a purse!” Aly’s favorite part of this whole movie, probably. It’s hilarious.
- When Cody is in the room with all the captured animals MacLeach has in his basement: “…this room probably smells terrible.”
- Aly: “Poor Joanna. Poor, stupid Joanna. She can’t help it, she just needs to eat eggs all the time. It’s not her fault. Also she’s hideous. And I love her.”
- Wilbur’s overreactions to everything really makes this movie work comedically.
- The Fella: “…what’s wrong?” Aly: “Nothing. I just have a lot of feelings about Marahute.” The Fella: “…oh.” Aly: “SHE JUST WANTS TO SAVE HER BABIES.”
- Also, ten points to Gryffindor because Bernard proposes in the most urgent, romantic manner possible. TRUE WUV.
- The eggs hatching while Wilbur’s babysitting is the PERFECT stinger to the end of this movie.
Extra special thanks to my patrons who made this and all Disney Odyssey posts possible: Candace, Cameron, Andy, Allen, Josh, Ben, Kuta, Stephen, Tiffany, Kat, AE, Matt, David, Dennis, and Mary-Kate. If you’re interested in supporting this blog, the Disney Odyssey, and future fantastical adventures, please consider donating a dollar or more to my Patreon!
Thank you for joining us this time on the Disney Odyssey… and make sure to subscribe to the blog for the next post…. Beauty and the Beast!