I don’t know many 20-somethings who can’t pinpoint their favourite movie from when they were growing up. While there are always some who will prefer a movie like Ghostbusters or The Goonies, like many of my friends I will always fall back on a Disney classic. In my case, it’s one that came out just before my third birthday and quickly became the movie that I watched almost all of the time: The Rescuers Down Under.
In the wilds of Australia, a boy named Cody answers the local animals’ call for help to save Marahute, the great golden eagle, from a poacher’s trap at the top of a massive cliff. Cody saves and befriends the eagle, and Marahute brings him back to the forested area near his house. On his way home, Cody falls into a trap laid by the very same poacher who trapped Marahute, Percival C. McLeach. Seeing that Cody has a golden eagle feather, McLeach kidnaps him in hope that Cody will lead him to the bird.
News of Cody’s kidnapping reach Bernard and Bianca, two mice of the Rescue Aid Society in New York City. Sadly, the news reaches them while they are out for dinner, thwarting Bernard’s attempt at proposing to Bianca. Without a moment to lose, they leave for Australia in order to fulfill their duties and save the boy and the eagle.
Once they arrive in Australia, they are met by a R.A.S. regional operative, Jake the kangaroo mouse, who right off the bat tries to hit on Bianca, which seriously annoys the easily irritated Bernard. Eventually, they put that aside and team up to find Cody and the bird.
This being a Disney movie, the underlying theme is teamwork. If things are looking bleak, you can always count on your friends to help you out and find solutions to big problems – even if you are a mouse.
It may be over 20 years since I first saw this movie, but it has not lost any of its magic. While it is possible to outgrow a movie, The Rescuers Down Under holds up to the test of time. The combination of classic Disney hand-drawn animations with an all-star cast and complete lack of a musical number (which I found to be the downfall of 1977’s first instalment The Rescuers) make what is, in my mind, the perfect cartoon to sit down and watch for years to come.
Keep a look out for some early computer animation featured in a few scenes. While they look dated today, when the film came out in 1990, they were top of the line images.
The Rescuers Down Under
Directed by: Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel, 1990
Starring: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, George C. Scott and John Candy