“There ain’t no case too big,
No case too small,
When you need help just call:
Ch-Ch-Ch- Chip N’ Dale
How many of you remember this tune from your childhood, and are now singing it to yourselves? For those of you who don’t remember this tune, it’s the unforgettable theme song from Disney’s animated TV show from the late 80’s; Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers. Ah yes, nothing brings up nostalgia like memories of a cartoon we all grew up with. How many of you miss watching the mystery solving adventures of the sly sleuth Chip, the goofy and silly Dale, The Cheese-loving Monterey Jack, the brilliant and beautiful Gadget, and the always helpful fly Zipper? I know I do. The trouble is that Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers, is so hard to find on TV anymore. It recently used to air on Toon Disney at 3:30 am followed by Garfield and Friends (another great cartoon), and I used to get up every morning to watch it. However, Toon Disney has pulled Chip N’ Dale off the air. But fear not, if you also love that old show, I have good news; Disney has finally released Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers Vol. 1 on DVD. (and coming soon Vol. 2) This collection of episodes includes all 29 episodes from the first season. And I must say it’s definitely one of the best cartoons I’ve ever seen. Now, as I am the self-proclaimed, “Animation Guru” I have a solid respect for animation and cartoons (having actually done animation myself), and I kind of take it upon myself to rate and review cartoons and fairly rate it on a scale of one to ten. As you know I am also a cartoonist so I also use the material I watch for ideas for jokes. As a result I always hear that, “Cartoons are for kids, grow up, cartoons are stupid and you shouldn’t watch them at your age.” (Thanks mom…) I am taking upon myself to point out to you, the readers, that cartoons are much more than that. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and an utmost passion to make a good cartoon. And good cartoons are hard to find nowadays. Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers was to me, having bought it myself, well worth the $29.99 I paid for it. It was also worth the mystical quest I went on to find it too. I spent four hours searching around the city for a copy of it until I finally found it at Best Buy. And this DVD collection is jam-packed with classic episodes. One such episode is the first episode of the series: Catteries not Included. This is the first episode which features the Ranger’s first case in which they have to find a lost kitten. They soon discover that Prof. Nimnal (A hair-brained mad scientist, introduced in the 2 hour pilot episode Rescue Rangers to the Rescue, which I am sad to say is not included in this collection, hopefully Disney plans to release this separately because that is the best ever episode) who has built army of Robotic Dogs, which he uses to kidnap all the cats in the city. Chip N’ Dale wouldn’t be much without the Ranger’s Arch enemy Fat Cat, who is like the godfather of cats having his own mob. Fat Cat was the best villain of the Rangers since the pilot episode, with his sense of humor and his evil schemes actually make sense sometimes. And who better an enemy of a group of rodents than a cat? One of the classic episodes is Parental Distraction Required, in which Monterey Jack’s father Chedderhead Charley comes into town and joins the rangers to assist with a case, much to Chip’s dismay. Charley constantly gets the rangers into trouble by recklessly rushing into danger without thinking. They soon discover that Fat Cat is hypnotizing Fish into making them believe they are chickens so the fish will lay more eggs (caviar). It’s a crazy scheme but it actually makes sense for a cat to come up with. One more favorite episode is Tin Cat in which the Rangers find a Robotic Cat in the dump, and Gadget uses one of Dale’s video games to reprogram it to be friendly. However they soon lose track of it and the cat falls into Fat Cat’s evil clutches, who uses a violent video Game to reprogram it to steal a very rare and exotic fish from a guy who is allergic to cat hair (Preventing Fat Cat from entering the building without being detected), and also to destroy the Rescue Rangers.
Now that I’ve reminisced a bit, it’s time for me to give Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers my “Linder Animation seal of Approval.” This is where I put my experience and knowledge of cartoons and rate the show based on the three factors that makes a great cartoon: Writing, Characters, and Animation.
First off, the writing is fairly kiddish, but good and original. The evil schemes that the Rangers foil are often very stupid and could only work in a cartoon like this. I am happy to say that the humor is not spared and is used wisely so you’re not overwhelmed by jokes. And The humor is actually funny and not too kiddish for an adult to enjoy. Secondly, the characters are great! You can’t help but love the rescue rangers. The characters each have their own personality, which they stick to. I can’t stand it when a character doesn’t contain their personalities. And their enemies have the mark of Great Disney villains. Fat Cat is always a joy to see in an episode with his cruel sense of humor. While you want to bang your head against a table when you see another stupid scheme by Prof. Nimnal who most of the time is just plain irritating. But then again a good villain isn’t very likable so Nimnal does have his moments I guess. But the characters are very well designed, well written and certainly memorable.
Finally the Animation is surprisingly nothing short of fantastic. It’s very well done especially for an animated TV show. Most cartoons on TV are quickly done with the animators taking a lot of shortcuts with the animation. But Chip N’ Dale’s animation is very well done. It almost has movie quality animation. The movements are very well done and semi-realistic. I think it’s the little things that do it; the physical acting. It’s hard to not want to look at it (however the show does take a shortcut by reusing the same music in every episode.).
Overall, the writing is fair and enjoyable, the characters are great and unforgettable, and the animation is nothing short of excellent. It was a hit in it’s time, and it doesn’t disappoint 20 years later. It’s still as great as I remember it. All in all, on a scale of 1-10, I give "Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers," a 9 out of 10. If you enjoyed the show as a kid, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it now.