The Rescuers Down Under

This sort-of sequel to the 1977 hit The Rescuers boasts reasonably solid production values and fine character voices. Too bad they're set against such a mediocre story that adults may duck.

This sort-of sequel to the 1977 hit The Rescuers boasts reasonably solid production values and fine character voices. Too bad they’re set against such a mediocre story that adults may duck.

The bare-bones storyline hinges on a little boy who inexplicably cavorts with animals in Dolittle-esque fashion, including a huge golden eagle, a species apparently indigenous to the Aussie Outback. The bird is the prey of an evil hunter, McLeach (voiced by George C. Scott), who kidnaps the boy, resulting in a round-the-world call for those fearless mice of the Rescue Aid Society to come a-runnin’.

From there it’s a simple quest pic, as mice Bernard (Bob Newhart), Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and guide Jake (Tristan Rogers) fumble their way through the jungle, with Bernard poised to pop the question to his rodent love only to be interrupted by one threat after another.

The film is not a musical. Instead, the producers have gone the action-adventure route, adding comic relief based largely on an awkward albatross named Wilbur (John Candy). Bruce Broughton augments the action immeasurably with his strongest score since Silverado.

The Rescuers Down Under

Production: Walt Disney. Director Hendel Butoy, Mike Gabriel; Producer Thomas Schumacher; Screenplay Jim Cox, Karey Kirkpatrick, Byron Simpson, Joe Ranft; Camera John Aardal, Chris Beck, Mary E. Lescher, Gary W. Smith, Chuck Warren; Editor Michael Kelly; Music Bruce Broughton; Art Director Maurice Hunt

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 74 MIN.

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