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Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers Volume One Review
Another Mixed Bag of Nuts from Disney DVD.....
Welcome kiddies; it's time for another Disney Television Animation DVD Box Set Review and this one is for one of the biggest cult hits in DTVA called Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers. This set was actually one of the first DVD sets (Gargoyles notwithstanding) to come from Disney DVD which surprised some people since many fans didn't think Bob Iger would even remotely care about bringing out any episodes of old DTVA episodes to DVD. So how did this set do? The answer is below.........
The DVD Box
Like all DTVA sets I have seen thus far; the box cover is the usual cardboard box with an opening on the right hand side of the cover. The front of the cover has a white background and both Chip and Dale's faces are plastered on the left side. In the middle right side there is the Disney logo, the Rescue Rangers logo, the volume number in red letters, the number of discs in smaller black letters and the number of episodes in the volume. The Disney DVD logo is on the bottom right. I really like this front cover as it's simple and to the point on what Disney is trying to sell the disc too. And since Dale is the best character of the set; I approve of it. Although Gadget is the second best character; Chip is better known so he isn't a bad choice all things considered. The top, bottom and side of the box has a red background; with the bottom showing only a red background. The top of the box has the Disney logo, the Rescue Rangers logo #2, on left to center; while the red lettered volume number, white lettered (with black trim) number of discs and number of episodes right to center. The side contains the DVD logo on top, the Disney logo, Rescue Rangers logo #2 left to center, the white lettered with red trim volume number, white lettered number of discs and episode numbers right to center, a zoom in picture of Chip and Dale from the logo on the bottom along with a stock number on the bottom. As it is; the presentation is all right there. The back has a strange tree like background as there is on the top left some green lettered pitch for the disc set. Nothing special there along with the Proof of Purchase and the UPC code on the top right.
The center left contains three images; with two of them being original artwork from various episodes within; and the bottom one is a television image from the episode Fake Me To Your Leader. On the center right; there is an orange box containing a full summary of the DVD set. I find the summary to be pretty good; but I find the Rangermobile crack to be out of place since I don't recall the Rangermobile ever being a major vehicle in the series. I personally wouldn't have used the local zoo as a good indication of the quality of the series either. The bottom of the box contains the web site information; the tech specs (which contains no subtitles in French nor French audio and no stereo sound either.). The usual logos that Disney uses are also there along with the usual legal and tech information. The discs are mastered but not digitally remastered as are all DTVA sets. The total time of the discs is 614 minutes which indicates that the episodes are using the second run syndication build like all DTVA sets are. The disc set is unrated in the US; but in Ontario, there is an additional rating on the box as it uses the Canadian Home Video Rating of G. Again; nothing special.
My Rating on the DVD Box: **** ½ – If there is one thing I have learned about DTVA box sets; they always have very good functional box covers. This one is no exception.
The disc covers are the usual clear plastic covers with an overlay. They contain a picture of the main character on the half left side of the front (similar to the box front actually) with a white background. Each front contains an original artwork scene from a Rescue Rangers episode (in this case it's Chip on the half left and Chip and Dale looking for clues on a car less street). On the bottom right; there is the Disney logo, the Rescue Rangers logo, Disc one in red letters, Episode 1-9 in black letters and the Disney DVD logo on the far bottom right. The back and sides have a blue background. The sides are similar to the box cover in presentation only with Chip's picture only, the Disney logo (along with the Disney DVD logo on top) and Rescue Rangers logo from top to center. Disc 1 is printed on from center to bottom. The back top contains a summary for the first nine episodes although I would have chosen the bee rock concert and helping a fake superhero dog over the flying doghouse or battling pirates at the bottom of the ocean. Like the back of the box; there are original artwork pictures on the left center side of the box; and the Cartoon Selection orange box along with tech specs (Full Screen 1.33:1/Dolby Digital Mono Sound) on the right side. There is a website address below that in black letter and the “Over Three Hours of High Flying Hilarity” on the top. Shouldn't that be used for the TaleSpin sets since it makes more sense? All the symbols from the box cover back are on the bottom along with all the same legal information and tech information. The only difference is the time which is 205 minutes. Also there is a lack of a UPC code and two proofs of purchase squares to cut out. The disc inside is using the star punch out disc which I don't like and the disc is basically the same as the front of the disc cover. It has the usual logos and information along with a stock number, addresses and copyright information. Nothing really special at all. The menus on board the discs are basically the same as most DTVA sets as in functional and unexciting. And sometimes; that is not a bad thing. I should also point out that like the first set; there are no artwork errors that I have noticed.
Episode Rants For Disc One:
Catteries Not Included Rant- Neither is a Continuity Checker it seems......!
Three Men & A Booby Rant- Do the writers know booby is slang for breast? Does Disney care anymore?!
The Carpetsnaggers Rant- Ghost writing is EXTREME!!
Piratesy Under the Seas Rant- Round Two of the dumbest 3.14 in history!
Adventures In Squirrelsitting Rant- The Fat Cat Stomp In All Of It's Glory!
Flash The Wonderdog Rant- Wonder if Bolt The Dog was in the audience?
Pound of the Baskervilles Rant- So an entire family is a dog pound?! THAT'S....ummm...odd...
Parental Discreation Retired Rant- If only we could....
Risky Beesness Rant- Did Dusty Rhodes start a bee keeping business while I was away?
Well; here is one of the first DTVA sets (outside of Gargoyles) and unlike the first volume of TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck; there are five chapter stops per episode. The DVD quality is the usual good enough stuff with good enough sound and visuals. It's not the kind of remastering you see on other DVD sets; but it's good enough and much better than VHS' visuals. Also; I should note that like the second volume of Rescue Rangers and most other set; the episodes are based on the second run syndication episodes. That means that all scenes that were cut by Toon Disney and Disney Channel have been restored; but they are still edited due to whatever BS&P wanted after the episodes ran after their first air dates.
So how did the first disc do? It's mostly a middling disc with a few terrible episodes. The first episode of Rescue Rangers to be shown on Disney Channel is one prime example of what not to do to debut a new series. It went against the whole point of the premise of saving animals and solving mysteries. It was all about Dale joining the Pi-Rats which are some of the worst heels this side of Teamo Stupidito. Mark had no idea what to do here as he went from building the screw up Dale was doing to Chip to making Monty look like Super Mouse. There were magical items out of nowhere and lots of logic breaks including a Chuck Tately like finish that tore my hair out and it took 20 minutes before someone did an awesome spot which happened to be Dale's four garbage gun salute spot. The second worst episode of the disc was pretty close to being an average episode actually; but Monty's father dragged this episode down really good. Cheddarhead Charlie was terrible and his screwing of Chip really buried Chip as a character. Not to mention that he is a leech and looks like a drunk. If you like characters who use the word redneck and say damn one; then this episode is for you. If it wasn't for the henchmen doing some good bumps in the middle of the episode and cutting the pathos quickly in order to bring in Monty's mother who looks like a stoner; this episode would have been a lot worse.
There were a lot of middling episodes with Three Men & A Booby, The Carpetsnaggers and Pound of the Baskervilles. Pound of the Baskervilles used to be a bad episode for me; but today it isn't half bad since it was mostly a lot of logic breaks out of the wazoo. The villain was a lame heel who dresses like a Nazi and I felt the episode was overbooked with too many plot threads to be healthy. I also thought Chip's Sherlock routine was an afterthought. McDuff and Roger were all right for the most part. The Carpetsnaggers was a really absurd but it was pretty solid for someone that I thought was a ghost writer for someone else. This episode could have easily even a bad trainwreck with Sun Woo animating; or Monty being the focus character. I liked Vonda attitude and hairstyle; but Gadget's conflict with Monty was just not convincing since there is no heat between the two to justify it. Too bad the finish is pretty symbolic for dorks everywhere. Last in the middling list is Three Men & A Booby which was basically a better version of Birds Of A Feather from the Wuzzles. Sadly; BS&P stepped in and there was lots of wussiness with the egg puns and Dumpty who was a one trick pony for the most part. Nog was all right and I found the henchmen of Cruiser and Bruiser to be more entertaining with their speed gimmick. Good pathos if nothing else. Last was the near thumbs up episode of Catteries Not Included which was a fun episode of using cats to create juice to power up stuff to invade a city. The robodogs were great in showing Norton where he can stick his manhood in and Spunky actually did some good as the MacGuffin. I like the idea of Monty being afraid of cats in a cat alley; but they didn't really do enough of it to get Monty over as a balanced character rather than the glorified gimmick he actually was. I also didn't like the lack of continuity present since it was based on the finish from To The Rescue and the scenes in both of them were different.
Then there are the three excellent episodes which I actually loved for historical reasons: Adventures in Squirrel Sitting, Flash The Wonder Dog and Risky Beeness. Adventures in Squirrel Sitting was one of the first early ***** episodes I gave because it had it all: a great female guest character, the Fat Cat Stomp, a really creepy subtext between Tammy and Chip (Chip is an adult for goodness sakes!), a good performance from Gadget despite the overtones in the middle of the episode, and seeing Chip and Dale dress up as Wilma and Betty. I also love the foreshadowing Fat Cat did with Don Karnage in doing to Kit in the back story between the TaleSpin characters. TMS was dead on too despite a few height problems with Chip and Tammy. Flash The Wonderdog is basically a template for a recent Disney movie called Bolt. And like The Rocketeer was based on Bullethead Baloo; the television episode out did the movie easily. Flash was an awesome character to see. Sure he was a coward; but he was an honest coward, much to the disgust of Dale. He kept his ego in check despite not keeping his fear of heights in check. I did deduct on the silly Double Darkwings plot; but it was quite a bit more convincing then Double Darkwings ever was. I also found the finish predictable because Fat Cat had the whole thing won and then he turned stupid and gave in to his stalking hatred of birds and dogs alike which cost him the victory. Finally; there is Risky Beeness which was Zipper's first focus episode and he made his first shot count. It was mostly due to the fact that Queenie was so much of a jerk that I feel like people are projecting her into Rebecca Cunningham to justify liking Baloo even if he is worse of a jerk than Rebecca ever was. It did get Zipper over as a sympathic babyface though. I also loved to death the William Hung plotline with Irweena's act. It was too funny to watch and should be a warning for all hardcore to obey before they before self-parodies of themselves.
My Rating for Disc One: *** ½ – A middle of the road episode fest with some stinkers and one perfect episode with the creepy Chip/Tammy/Gadget love triangle.
Like the first disc; this disc contains the same presentation with all of it as original artwork from various episodes. Dale is on the cover and the front of the disc. I don't like the episodes they highlighted as they were two of the worst episodes on the disc. I would have used Bearing Up Baby and Kiwi's Big Adventure summaries instead. The original artwork is slightly off-model compared to the television series; but it's really good for the most part. The second disc is 204 minutes long.
Disc 2 Episode Rants
Bearing Up Baby Rant- Humprey The Bear & Tad Stones together: Sounds like a death wish to me!
Out to Launch Rant- ...And into crap it seems!
Dale Beside Himself Rant- ...is better than Monty being himself.
Kiwi's Big Adventure Rant- Dale: Bob Orton Jr.'s Pet When He Was A Kid.
Lad In A Lamp Rant- Sounds like Eisner's attempt to bottle Kit Cloudkicker to me.
Battle of the Bulge Rant- Only Disney Could See This Title as Offensive.
Ghost of a Chance Rant- I don't stand one against the awesome sucking power of Monty focused episodes!
An Elephant Never Suspects Rant- ...a crappy episode!
A Case of Stageblight Rant- Also known as a Case of Dale Being A Dale Too!
This disc is probably one of the worst discs I have ever seen thus far as half of the episodes are excellent, one episode square in the middle and the other half really suck. It is the true meaning of the word: mixed bag. The worst episodes in the disc set are Out to Launch and An Elephant Never Suspects. The former was basically boring for the most part with logic breaks. It's one thing to go against the premise (unintentionally go onto a spaceship); but it is even worse when the episode is really, really boring. The only excellent spot in the entire episode was hearing Chip laugh so badly in the food locker that it was too funny to listen to. I also found the air knock out human's spot to be contrived and crappy. An Elephant Never Suspect was basically the elephant hate rodents and accuse them of stealing peanuts. The problems with this episode was that they basically gave away the finish barely six minutes into the episode and it made Ting and Tang look weak as sad heels. That took the air out from the episode; along with Colonel's ultra crappy attempt to be cynical in this episode as it was stereotypical and forced. Julia ran the joke to the ground and it wasn't funny. Logic breaks and a storyboard like tech demo animation from Wang Films made it worse. Sindy's voice of Elliot was terrible too. The other two thumbs down episodes featured Monty as the focus episode which were Ghost of A Chance and Lad In The Lamp. Ghost of a Chance actually had a solid storyline and had a pretty good character in Sir Colby; but the logic with the ghost was so screwed up (more logic breaks than any episode in the series that I have seen thus far) that it knocked out whatever goodness this episode. Bad screw ups from Sun Woo didn't help it. Monty was actually decent despite another Super Mouse effort from the writers. Two rookie writers made it difficult; but they tried hard not to suck so I am okay with the result. Lad In the Lamp was one of the worst performances I have ever seen from Monty (except when he was a genie) as Edens tried to write a genie gimmick around Monty and paid no attention to the importance of the storyline. The Fat Cat riding a fish spot and Jim Cumming's over the top Fat Cat voice really buried Fat Cat as a heel. The finish was completely a cop out and so Manos like it wasn't funny. Then there was A-1 Animation which seems pretty stiff and off-model and so screwed up that it makes Sun Woo look good.
On the other hand; we had A Case of Stageblight, Bearing Up Baby, Dale Besides Himself and Kiwi's Big Adventure. A Case of Stageblight was a really excellent episode featuring a great heel in Sewernose and it had a really excellent climax with Dale and Sewernose in the end; although I could live without Monty being involved in the finish. I love the comedy parody to snobbish opera too. Bearing Up Baby was about a bear and a baby bonding. I like how they expanded on the one joke of Humprey the Bear and the interactions of Jermey and the “fuzzies” as he calls them. Most of them were funny or pretty well executed in pathos. Also liked the finish in this one as there were few logic breaks and Gadget had a cold for some reason. Dale Besides Himself had a slow start; but once Dale really got into the using the alien as his servant, it was really awesome. Too bad Brace is a total miss fire as an alien and the finish was breaking logic with Gadget disappearing and then magically reappearing with no context whatsoever. The best episode of the disc was Kiwi's Big Adventure as Dale just played the whole Bob Orton Jr injury angle like mad and it made for some really great moment with him and Gadget. Even more so when Gadget finds out about him milking the injury. Chip looked good as the one who knows what is going on. Lop off a few logic breaks and this episode is perfect without question. It made Dale into a real superstar and the defacto best character of Rescue Rangers; one of the few times the Disney Classic Character got more over than the new characters.
Last is the dead middle episode: Battle of The Bugle which was pretty good when Chip and Dale were on screen; but it got annoying when Monty's exercise angle got really overbearing. Many of the spots looked good; but they were pretty pointless in the greater context of the episode. Plus; I found out why this episode was really black balled and that was due to the Jamaican stereotype fruit bats which was pretty tasteless and the Fat Albert-equse gimmicks seems pretty racist. If they were characters (like Louie Lamount) instead of gimmicks; the episode wouldn't have got black balled on Toon Disney. It had nothing to do with the word Battle in the title. The logic breaks were annoying even by Tad Stones' standards which is abnormal for someone like Tad Stones to write at this point. This episode pretty much ended any hope for me for Monty to ever get over.
My Rating On Disc Two: *** – Really mixed bag of episodes in every sense of the word. From boring to terrible; middling to awesome; this disc has it all. Probably the worst disc in the DTVA sets thus far.
Disc Three contains basically the same presentation as the first two discs and contains the usual mix of television art and original artwork. Sadly; it also has Monty smeared on the front of the disc and cover. I don't understand why Monty is being used since Gadget was the real awesome character in the series. Well; at least she is on the front cover and back cover as a group images. Some of the television art is okay; but it seems the colors are a bit washed out. The DVD disc is 205 minutes along.
Disc 3 Episode Rants
The Luck Stops Here Rant- ....but the fun with Gadget still marches on!
Fake Me To Your Leader Rant- Only Disney Could See Gadget Unlocking Something With Her Tail As Offensive!
Last Train To Cashville Rant- Just sleepwalking through this rant......
The Case of The Cola Cult Rant- The Most Surreal Disney Television Animation Episode Ever!
Throw Mummy From The Train Rant- This episode however; is just plain silly!
A Wolf In Cheap Clothing Rant- Geez; even I don't insult Sun Woo that badly!
Prehysterical Pet Rant- Just another day in the life of Dale.....
Robocat Rant- Or It's Sadism Against The Machine Depending On Which Drugs Gadget Was On.....
Does Pavlov Ring A Bell? Rant- Only in a Gummi Bear's mind......
While this disc contains a mixed bag; there are some really historic episodes in terms of Rescue Ranger lore. It also contained a much better set of episodes than the last two discs. The worst episode in the disc set is Throw Mummy From The Train which contains continuity errors on par with an average Ruby Spears cartoon. Hiram seems to be a gimmick character rather than a one shot character and there were some really dumb spots (Seriously; a hat is enough to shatter a window and throw a decent weight mummy out of the train?) that made him look like a real wuss. Wexler was a terrible schemer and nothing more. Of course; they tried to get Monty over again; but they at least allowed Dale to be part of the finish as his performance was subpar. Next up was Last Train To Cashville which was a middling episode and pretty fun as Mr. Fat uses a model train to rob banks while Dale sleepwalks like mad. Sadly; the Chuck Tately like logic breaks killed the greatness which ranged from a BS&P decision with the toaster spot to the finish as Mr. Fat gets defeated in such an impossible way that it destroyed his creditability as a heel. Dale's sleepwalking act was quite interesting as well as Monty's somewhat sadistic way of giving something soft for Dale to land on in one spot that got Gadget really angry. One of the few moments where I liked Monty actually. Prehysterical Pet was the usual middling character takes care of a pet episode and in Dale's case it was a dinosaur from outer space. I like Steggy; but he was no bullfinch nor Henry the Inkara. Piltdown was a bland gimmick and nothing more; and there was the usual logic breaks from Mark Edens writing and A-1 Animation. The confusion inside the museum was annoying and pretty glaring as well. The escape was really dull too. Great ending though with the angle of no pets allowed being paid off well.
Fake Me To Your Leader was the second focus episode for Zipper as he got really too big for his bridges. Sadly; Mark Eden's writing of it wasn't very good. Zipper did a great performance out of it; but the Rangers made him look weak because they demonstrated that they didn't suffer at all from Zipper's absence. He looked like Meg from Family Guy sort of. I mean the whole point of the episode was to prove that Zipper was needed for the team and the Rangers were useless without him. Zipper seems more useful when he was bigger and the meaness seem contrived and forced. Thankfully; Norton Ninmul was really good from start to finish; including the fitting end to him when he tried to escape in a car. That was too funny and we didn't need to see him get whacked in order to get the point. The Luck Stops Here is the first of three Gadget focused episodes and was the weakest one of the four marred mostly by Wang Films usual hit or miss animation and logic breaks. The story was about Gadget helping an inventor win the big one; one more time in order to save his life. Clyde was good when he was dancing like a goof and Kismet was really good once she turned full heel on Gadget and became a bump machine. Although I would have lived if Tress wasn't suffering from Sindy MacKay syndrome if you catch my drift. A Wolf In Cheap Clothing was a pretty refreshing; albeit odd episode of wolves changing into humans and vice versa as Norton does his best Wuzzles impression. Harry the Wolf Were (so sezs Monty) was a really good party animal and Norton had his best performance ever as it showed that Norton got over on Chip and Dale rather than Monty. It's also nice to know he can laugh at himself even if it's not spoken. Very few logic breaks and had a silly finish; but having a legit naked human being (albeit we didn't see him between the private parts) being shown in some form was pretty ground breaking for a DTVA show.
Does Pavlov Ring A Bell was a pretty interesting romance relationship episode between Gadget and Sparky the mouse. Sparky was really cool as the male version of Gadget basically; with a lot of electrical sparks flying. Personally; I didn't think the jealous subplot was really compelling and the finish was choppy. I also felt Dale was out of character and had a sub par performance here. RoboCat was a pretty good Disney version of Astroboy in the Nature Vs. Nurture angle used here. The only flaw in this episode was the Warner Brother Tweety/Silvester of Mr. Fat stealing a fish was a little cliché. However; that was a minor problem and WB set the bar really high for that kind of comedy; so it was to be expected. I was behind Gadget the whole way because Chip had no clue how to deal with a robot which are created by humans and thus it is nurture 100% compared to nature for humans and even rodents. I would have really liked Tom the Robot Cat to be more violent than he was; but BS&P rules so to speak. Finally; there is The Case of the Cola Cult which really doesn't need a summary since the episode title speaks for itself. It was absolutely surreal from start to finish and it had awesomeness all in between. Gadget was awesome when she wasn't trying to act sadness; and the whole cult angle will give some people pause. Also contains the first character to say Oh My God in a Disney Cartoon Episode.
My Rating For Disc Three: **** - Only one episode with a thumbs down and there are some really historic and entertaining episodes from Gadget. Plus some good episodes from the middling range which helps a lot.
It is exactly like most of the other DTVA DVD sets. There are no extras present so therefore no rating.
The set up for this is really basic for the most part as there is only English subtitles (no French or Spanish subtitles) and only Dolby Digital Mono Sound. There is really nothing else to see other than the usual ads on the first disc. This is pretty disappointing considering that other DTVA disc sets use either French subtitles; French audio or both. In fact some sets even use Digital Stereo Sound instead of Mono Sound. Also Disney Captions is it's usual self in the fact that they miss dialog altogether or misspell words or just simply make silly mistakes throughout. I don't know how Disney Captions does it's captions for these sets; but whatever it is, they need to find a much better way because they really look dumb when doing these sets.
My Rating for Set Up: ** ½ - I know this is one of the first DTVA sets; but the bare bones setups are not going to impress new customers to buy Volume 2. Plus; Disney Captions is still as sloppy as ever.
My Rating for the Entire DVD Set: ***1/2 (70%)
The Review Line:
Well; we saw a mixed bag of quality in episodes and a bare bones setup in which there is zero subtitles in French, French audio and no stereo sound that we see in other sets. That is pretty much like what the Rescue Rangers season in a nutshell. It certainly doesn't appear like the fans want us to believe; but it certainly isn't a terrible show like some say in their hatred of DTVA in general. Although as we will see; TaleSpin got even worst heat than Rescue Rangers ever did which made their turnaround so sweet in the end. Still; it's a good set to buy if you don't want to handle Youtube and the thought of having episodes on Youtube taken down for copyright problems. The visual and audio quality is good enough (and certainly better than VHS) and the episode quality can be good if you know what to look for. Just remember to buyer beware if you are hearing impaired since Disney Captions is it's usual sloppy self. So.....
I give this DVD set a thumbs in the middle; and I'll see you next time.
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