FFlashback: The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

G’day, mate! Our Disney Renaissance retrospective continues with The Rescuers Down Under…


The One Where: Inch-high heroes Bernard and Miss Bianca are called back into action when a young Australian boy is kidnapped by a sadistic poacher who wants to catch a rare Golden Eagle…

Best Song: After the huge success of The Little Mermaids musical score, for Down Under Disney decided to… do away with that element all together. Even though the original The Rescuers was a musical. Poor show, Disney!

Star Turns: Part of the reason that this is the weakest film of the Renaissance is the lesser characterization in comparison to the films it’s surrounded by. As such, there’s some great voice performances (John Candy as Wilbur and George C Scott as the villainous McLeach, particularly), but not many standout characters. Love that eagle, though. I’m pretty sure every kid who watched this film wanted an eagle for a pet afterwards.

Verdict: The Rescuers Down Under is definitely the odd one out of the Renaissance. Not based on a fairy tale or novel or historical fact, it’s also a sequel based on a half-forgotten film from the 70sIn fact, it is Disney’s first and last theatricality-released sequel – after this one received lukewarm reviews and financially-bombed. It isn’t particularly hard to see why when the public were hungry for more Mermaid-style movies. Instead, Down Under is a perfectly charming film – with some great animation of the Australian outback – but it is probably only slightly higher quality than Disney’s straight-to-home-video/TV output. Next time around, Disney would return to what they do best – and then some…

Did You Know: The scenes where Cody flies on the eagle are said to be influenced by the work of Studio Ghibli legend Hayao Miyazaki. That might well be why they are some of the best parts of the film.

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