Starring: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page
Director: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens
Running Time: 75 mins
The Rescuers is an American film about two mice from a rescue society who search for a girl living kidnapped by evil treasure hunters.
Made in the middle of one of Disney’s weaker periods for animation, The Rescuers is a film that certainly has all the superficial charm of a classic Disney movie, but there’s just something missing that makes it a far less adorable watch than the studio’s all-time best productions.
Let’s start with the positives, however, above all with the film’s animation. Made in the era just before Disney’s renaissance and the advent of more modern animation, The Rescuers at least looks like a classic Disney movie, with the rough, hand-drawn edges of its characters a point of real charm throughout.
Couple that with a bunch of cute lead characters, both the mice and the young girl they’re trying to rescue, and you have a film that’s as cosy and sweet as you can imagine, with all the hallmarks of a warm and fluffy family movie.
The problem, however, comes with the fact that The Rescuers is a little too simple and fluffy for its own good. Much like a number of Disney movies from the ’70s, The Rescuers has the slower, softer atmosphere of movies from the studio’s Golden Age from the ’30s to the ’60s, but it doesn’t have the emotional depth and resonance to back that up.
As a result, while it certainly looks the part, The Rescuers fails to really push those buttons which classic Disney movies are so well-known for doing. Its plot feels more preposterous because you don’t care as much for its main characters, while its villain feels like little more than a second-rate Cruella de Vil.
There are some fun action sequences, and there’s a little bit of a sense of grand adventure as the little mice venture out into the big, wide world to rescue the girl, but the movie as a whole doesn’t really bring those strengths together to make a both entertaining and emotionally captivating watch.
Overall, then, The Rescuers is a bit of a mixed bag, and certainly not Disney’s strongest film of all. Perfectly sweet and cosy on the surface with its gorgeous animation and fun characters, the movie just doesn’t manage to back that up with engaging narrative depth or emotion, meaning it comes off as a little too simple for its own good.