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The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition/The Rescuers Down Under (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 20, 2012 by  



Two films for the price of one!  For families looking for a fun Disney film or Disney collectors wanting to upgrade their old films to Blu-ray, “The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition/The Rescuers Down Under” is definitely worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition/The Rescuers Down Under

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition (1977), The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

DURATION: The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition (78 Minutes), The Rescuers Down Under (78 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:66:1 Aspect Ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G

DVD RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2012

The Rescuers

Directed by John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens

Story by Larry Clemmons, Ken Anderson, Frank Thomas, Vance Gerry, David Michener, Ted Berman, Fred Lucky, Burny Mattinson, Dick Sebast

Suggested by “The Rescuers” and “Miss Bianca” by Margery Sharp

Produced by Wolfgang Reitherman

Executive Producer: Ron Miller

Music by Artie Butler

Edited by James Koford, James Melton

Art Direction by Don Griffith

The Rescuers Down Under

Directed by Hendel Butoy, Mike Gabriel

Animation Screenplay by Jim Cox, Karey Kirkpatrck, Byron Simpson, Joe Ranft

Story Supervisor by Joe Ranft

Characters by Margery Sharp

Produced by Thomas Schumacher

Associate Producer: Kathleen Gavin

Music by Bruce Broughton

Edited by Michael Kelly

Casting by Mary V. Buck, Susan Edelman

Art Direction by Pixote Hunt

The Rescuers

Featuring the Voices of:

Bob Newhard as Bernard

Eva Gabor as Miss Bianca

Geraldine Page as Madame Medusa

Joe Flynn as Mr. Snoops

Jeanette Nolan as Ellie Mae

Pat Buttram as Luke

Jim Jordan as Orville

John McIntire as Rufus

Michelle Stacy as Penny

The Rescuers Down Under

Featuring the Voices of:

Bob Newhard as Bernard

Eva Gabor as Miss Bianca

John Candy as Wilbur

Tristan Rogers as Jake

Adam Ryen as Cody

George C. Scott as McLeach

Douglas Seale as Krebbs

Frank Welker as Joanna

Bernard Fox as Chairman/Dctor

Peter Firth as Red

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of an original classic, Disney proudly presents a special 2-movie collection featuring all-time family favorites, “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers Down Under,” for the first time ever on Blu-ray! Join two of the world’s bravest mice – Bernard and Bianca – as they set out on two thrilling rescue missions full of comic adventure while soaring through the Devil’s Bayou and flying sky high in the Australian outback. Buckle up for the ride of your life as these tiny heroes with great big hearts outrun and outwit their rivals to save the day. Brimming with lovable characters and unforgettable music, the 2-movie collection is high-flying fun for the entire family! Share the laughs and excitement for the first time on Disney Blu-ray.

An enjoyable and classic animated adventure that will continue to entertain families for many generations to come.  “The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition” and the sequel “The Rescuers Down Under” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in August 2012!

Back in 1977, “The Rescuers”, the 23rd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, would become Disney’s most successful animated film.  The film would break the record for the largest financial amount made for an animated film on opening weekend and would receive rave reviews from film critics. Created with the budget of $1.2 million, “The Rescuers” would earn over $71 million in the box office.

Based on the books “The Rescuers” and “Miss Bianca” by Margery Sharp, the success of the film would lead to a sequel (the 29th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics) titled “The Rescuers Down Under” in 1990.

Its sequel “The Rescuers Down Under” was Disney’s first traditionally-animated film to use the Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) utilizing digital ink and paint and compositing and its departure from hand-painted cels. The film would also be the first collaboration with computer graphics company, Pixar and also the second animated film after the 1985 film, “The Black Cauldron”, to not include any musical numbers.

Unfortunately, the film was released during the time that Disney was still in transition and it became the least successful box office performance for a Disney animated film.  Budgeted at $37.9 million, “The Rescuers Down Under” would earn $47 million in the box office.

The first film, “The Rescuers” begins with a young orphan named Penny, who has put a message of a plea for help inside a bottle.  Kept in an abandoned river boat in Devil’s Bayou, her bottle floats all the way to New York City and is recovered by an international mouse organization in the United Nations known as the “Rescue Aid Society”.

Feeling bad for Penny, Hungary’s Miss Bianca, wants to be involved in the mission.  But because she’s a woman of style and grace, others don’t want her to go out on such a dangerous mission.  But wanting to go and help Penny, she chooses Bernard, the janitor with triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13).

So, the two begin their mission and head towards Morningside Orphanage where Penny was staying and both run into an old cat named Rufus.  Rufus explains to them that a woman named Madame Medusa had tried to lure Penny into her car, but this time she may have done it.

So, Bianca and Bernard then go to Medusa’s pawn shop where they find out that Medusa and her crime partner, Mr. Snoops are trying to find the world’s largest diamond know as The Devil’s Eye.   And the two have kidnapped her for the purpose of going into a small hole that leads to a pirate’s cave where the criminals are hoping for Penny to go retrieve The Devil’s Eye.

Can Bianca and Bernard rescue Penny?

For the sequel, “The Rescuers Down Under”, the film takes place in the Australian Outback and a boy named Cody rescues a rare golden eagle known as the Marahute, who is trying to protect her nest and eggs.  As a reward, Cody receives a Marahute feather.

But when Cody is captured in an animal trap set by the local poacher named Percival C. MacLeach, the man finds the Marahute feather in Codys’ backpack and now wants Cody to give him the directions of where he can find it, because Marahute’s are rare birds and are worth a lot of money.  Cody has no intention of telling Percival after Cody learns that Percival killed the female Marahute’s male partner.

So, Percival threatens Cody that he will do something bad if he doesn’t tell but Cody tells him that his mother will call the Rangers.

Angered by this, Percival throws Cody’s backpack into the ravine where crocodiles await and to make the Rangers think that Cody fell off the bridge and was killed by the crocodiles.

A mouse who is nearby sees that Cody is in trouble and runs to alert the Rescue Aid Society and Miss Bianca and Bernard, now the RAS elite field agents are assigned to the mission.  For Bernard, he has been waiting for the perfect moment to propose to Miss Bianca and when he gets the courage to do so, he finds out they are being sent on a special mission.

Meanwhile, young Cody is being kept inside a cage with other animals and Percival continues to try to get information from the young boy of where the Marahutes are located.  And as Percival becomes more adamant about getting information from Cody, Miss Bianca and Bernard know they must work quickly as Cody could get into more serious trouble, as he tries to remain quiet and not reveal the whereabouts of the Marahute.

Will Cody be saved?

VIDEO:

“The Rescuers” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1).  The first film is a bit similar to “The Aristocats” (both Blu-ray titles are being released on the same day) in the fact that the character style looks as if it was hand drawn while background scenery is very detailed but you can tell it is an older film by its presentation.   There are some scratches that can be seen. There are moments where scenes are colorful and vibrant, black levels were nice and deep and I’m confident to say this is the best version of the film to day on a home video release.

“The Rescuers Down Under” in the other hand is a more recent film and presentation-wise, is much cleaner and more vibrant than the original film.  More modern animation presentation/style which lends to its more cleaner, vibrant and more detailed look.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Rescuers” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.   I felt the original was more dialogue-driven.  Primarily front and center channel driven.   While dialogue is crystal clear, the sequel, “The Rescuers Down Under”, being a more modern film, sounds much better and utilizes the surround channels.  From the flight of the Marahute to the sounds of the crocodiles snapping their mouths, there is good use of directional sound.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition/The Rescuers Down Under” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Song – Deleted song for “Peoplitis”.
  • “Three Blind Mouseketeers” – Silly Symphony Animated Short– (8:45) A 1936 animated short of “Three Blind Mouseketeers”.
  • “Water Birds – A Walt Disney True Life Adventure” – (30:42) A documentary feature on water birds.
  • “Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing-Along – Sing-along for “Someone’s Waiting For You”.
  • The Making of The Rescuers Down Under – (10:13) A featurette on the making of “The Rescuers Down Under”.

EXTRAS:

“The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition/The Rescuers Down Under” comes with a slipcover case and a DVD version of both films.

I was young when I watched “The Rescuers” in the theater and watching it on Blu-ray, this would be my first time watching this film since I was a child back in the late ’70s.

I personally can see its charm and allure, from its little mouse characters and how the film hooks you with its child actor, the film is pretty much big on “cuteness” and also has this adventure element as these two mice represent a secret organization.

While a short animated film, the original tugged on the hearts of many viewers during that era in time.  And what is quite interesting is juxtaposing this film with its sequel “The Rescuers Down Under”.  In how it treats its youngsters.  For those familiar with Disney during the late ’70s, the company tried to take on more darker themes in its storyline.  While the original has a feisty antagonist who is mean and selfish, the sequel has a man who seems far too ruthless and willing to risk a child’s safety in order to get information, so he can make a lot of money.

While both films are Rated G, it was interesting to see the varying difference of storyline.  While the first film was more adventurous, cute and fun, especially as it also focused on the relationship between Miss Bianca and Bernard, the second still showcases both mice, but the storyline is more adventurous and bold, rather than adventurous and emotional.  In the first film, you feel for Penny and you want to see the best of her character.  While Cody is a youngster full of energy, it makes you think of why a young boy is going around near cliffs in the Australian Outback without his parents.

Granted, these are films that were never meant to be taken too seriously but I guess when it comes to storyline, the original is much better, while when it comes to picture and audio quality, the sequel, being made many years later is the winner in terms of presentation and sound.

So, I’m glad that both are included in this Blu-ray release and also, for parents, it’s a plus that this Blu-ray release, also comes with both DVD’s.  There is no doubt that this is the best version of “The Rescuers” to come out on home video due to the picture and audio quality improvement and also both films are included together for this 35th anniversary edition.  There are a few special features included, including the Silly Symphony animated short “The Three Blind Mousketeers” and an interesting, older documentary on “Water Birds”.

Overall, “The Rescuers” is a fun family film, as this is a fun and entertaining Disney release on Blu-ray.  For parents who are looking for a fun family film or Disney collectors wanting an HD upgrade for these two animated films, will no doubt want to upgrade their copies of “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers Down Under” to Blu-ray.   Two Disney Animated Classics films for the price of one, it’s definitely worth it!

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