Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers ★★★★
Starring Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, Kiki Layne, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons
We are truly in the meta-era of cinema, with some projects really aiming to be self-deprecating whilst others use the multiverse to break boundaries and explore uncharted turf. But no-one expected the most free-wheeling, meta-textual film of this period to be Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, a legacy sequel that comes thirty years after the final episode ended of the popular animated series.
This fresh, new film does comment on just how popular that original series was in one of many self-aware moments of satire. We learn that Dale (Andy Samberg) carried on the celebrity lifestyle, having CGI (paralleled to enhancement surgery used by many in Hollywood) to show the audience the glamorous lifestyle he now leads. Meanwhile Chip (John Mulaney), still in his original cartoon form, is selling insurance, leaving the TV lifestyle behind, devastated by his friend and co-star's past decision to leave the animated TV show to pursue a solo venture. The pair are soon reunited to solve a crime, with the help of many an animated character. The crime: find out who has been stealing beloved animated characters to make bootleg movies out of them.
All the concepts at play here are great fun, with some very funny bootleg film ideas that feel reflective on some real, existing bootleg films, and cliches from various animated styles tear are known and loved. The film continues to source new, hilarious things to play around with in the animated form; in one moment, the film rips into a dated 00's animated style and in another, a surprise cameo is truly ingenious.
Although the film does sag a little in its middle act, losing the novelty for a brief spell, it finds its feet again to stick the landing, with an ingenious final boss villain and a closing credits that are worth sticking around for.
This is balls-to-the wall, unabashedly silly fun that the Lonely Island team so obviously had their stamp on. It's such a shame that this wasn't gifted a cinema release, it would've gone down a treat, but at least now people can rewatch it to their hearts content, spotting all of those brilliant hidden Easter eggs...it definitely holds up on a second watch!
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers available now on Disney+