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Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers on DVD: Volume 1 Volume 2 NEW!

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 1 DVD Review

Buy the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 1 DVD from Amazon.com Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 1 (1989)
Show & DVD Details

Producers: Tad Stones, Alan Zaslove / Supervising Director: Alan Zaslove

Directors: John Kimball, Bob Zamboni, Rick Leon

Regular Writers: Dev Ross, Mark Edens, Julia J. Roberts, Eric Lewald, Kevin Hopps / Supervising Story Editor: Tad Stones / Story Editor: Bryce Malek

Voice Cast: Tress MacNeille (Chip, Gadget, Spunky), Corey Burton (Dale, Zipper, Mole, Snout, Roger Baskerville, Kiwis Chief, Poptop, Dr. Wexler, Robocat), Jim Cummings (Monterey Jack, Fat Cat, Professor Nimnul, Wart, Sergeant Spinelli, Sir Colby, Hiram, Steggy, Butch), Peter Cullen (Monterey Jack, Meps, Officer Kirby, Officer Muldoon), Rob Paulsen (Flash the Wonder Dog), Sindy McKay (Queenie Bee, Irweena Allen, Elliott), Pete Schrum (Sewernose de Bergerac), Noelle North (Tammy Squirrel, Binky Squirrel), Alan Oppenheimer (Captain Kernel), Jimmy MacDonald (Humphrey the Bear), Danny Gans (Sparky, Buzz)

Running Time: 614 Minutes (27 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-Y equivalent)
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired
DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
Original Airdates: March 5, 1989 - November 3, 1989
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Cardboard box with three clear slim keepcases

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

After finding success with "DuckTales" in 1987, Walt Disney Television Animation seemed to decide that giving new life to existing cartoon characters was a good foundation to lay when creating new series. In 1988, the department launched "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", a Saturday morning show which explored everyday life in the Hundred Acre Wood, a place viewers had visited in four Disney featurettes spanning three decades even if they had never seen A.A. Milne's treasured creations in print.
In 1989, the studio turned its attentions to Chip and Dale, the pair of squeaky chipmunks who had appeared in two dozen shorts beginning with 1943's Private Pluto. They were the stars of "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers", Disney's second daily syndicated cartoon.

Anyone unfamiliar with the Chip 'n Dale dynamic could, upon sight, define and appreciate it: they were an inseparable odd couple who differed in personality but often shared a common goal. In Disney shorts of yesteryear, no matter how benign their intentions were (like most animals, their primary concerns were food and shelter), Chip and Dale managed to easily raise the temper of Donald Duck. On occasion, their antics would trigger someone else: Pluto, Pete, a peanut-loving elephant. Their similar voices, statures, and purposes as comic foil may have made Chip and Dale tough to distinguish for some. But unlike the trio of young protagonists in "DuckTales", Chip and Dale display individuality beyond their wardrobes. Chip is the practical one, with a plain black nose and a mostly serious nature. Dale is the goofy one, whose oversized red nose suggests his clown-like nature if his oft-displayed two-teeth smile doesn't clue you in.

For "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers", the semi-argumentative duo left behind their usual targets and received a fairly substantial makeover. No longer relegated to furry nudity, the squirrels' personalities were further underscored by their new tops: Chip in an authoritative leather jacket and Dale in a loud red and yellow Hawaiian shirt. Chip and Dale were also no longer content to merely look out for themselves; their new lifestyle had them a part of a crime-solving team known as the Rescue Rangers. As the memorable opening theme tune's triumphant chorus lead-in proclaims, "There's no case too big, no case too small, when you need help, just call ..." At the core of the series, Chip, Dale, and a trio of newly-created friends seek to help humans, animals, and more in their neighborhood and beyond. The Rescue Rangers' encounters primarily bring them into contact with victims whose problems can't be resolved by law enforcement and villains who can be foiled by smarts and spunk of the diminutive detectives.

The opening title logo for "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers." Forty-six years after first appearing on film, you can still tell Chip 'n Dale apart by their noses. Plus now, their clothes.

Comprising the majority of the five-member Rescue Rangers team is an interesting trio of original characters. Boasting a robust Australian accent, a filled-out sweater/trenchcoat combo, and a potentially unhealthy obsession with cheese is a mouse named Monterey Jack, the...strongest Rescue Ranger. Also a mouse is the aptly-named Gadget (last name: Hackwrench, though it's not mentioned much), who displays a flair for, well, gadgets. If the lavender jumpsuit and aviator goggles don't make it clear she means business, then her knack for fixing and inventing things will.
The lone lady of the group, Gadget's presence instills intermittent feelings of interspecies attraction and rivalry among Chip and Dale. (These are about as innocent as they can be, which is par for the Disney Afternoon sect.) Finally, there is a fly called Zipper, who is quite expressive though he cannot speak and quite handy for the Rangers on account of his tiny size and ability to fly. The protagonists are a largely likable lot (even "the rotund one with the cheese obsession", as Monty is once referred to), which enables their adventures to hold your sympathy even in episodes that are less than brilliantly scripted.

In the show's contemporary setting, crime seems pretty prevalent but actual danger is minimal. Most episodes involve animal injustice or villains' self-serving plans that never fully materialize. Formulas are inevitable, but as was thankfully true of "DuckTales", settings and stories vary greatly and almost each episode introduces new characters. There are also recurring nemeses, though only two appear repeatedly in this Volume 1 DVD collection. Showing up with the greatest frequency is the raspy kingpin Fat Cat, whose henchmen all resemble supporting characters from past Disney animated films (from Pinocchio's Gideon to Ichabod and Mr. Toad's Mole to a cross between The Jungle Book's Kaa and Robin Hood's Sir Hiss). Fat Cat's gang are often more interesting and amusing than he himself is, but their familiar antics may leave some yearning more inspired creations in certain installments. The other ever-busy villain is Professor Nimnul, a stout and balding fellow, whose lack of appeal (and social skills) is obvious enough to make him a serviceable antagonist you can root against.

As "Rescue Rangers" was ushered to the airwaves in the shadow of "DuckTales" and now arrives on DVD by its side, comparisons are inevitable. Having production companies and creative talent in common, it should not be too surprising that both series succeed in many of the same ways. Both sixteen years ago and now, "Rescue Rangers" comes across as intelligent and rarely lame. That puts it just a few pegs below "DuckTales", which seems slightly more intelligent and almost never lame. "Rescue Rangers" is a bit more episodic (from scene-to-scene) and slapsticky compared to the consistently story-driven "DuckTales." As a result, "Rangers" demands more effort to appreciate. Revisiting both series for the first time in many years, I found "DuckTales" holding my attention tight and "Rescue Rangers" letting me go if I began to let my thoughts drift, as they can in critical viewing if the subject doesn't fully do its job. When I made sure not to disengage, "Rescue Rangers" held up fairly well and was eminently enjoyable. Its wacky stories offer a kind of entertainment that is mostly and sadly nonexistent in today's television animation. Whether you're a child discovering the show for the first time, a young parent who fondly recalls afterschool viewings, or simply a fan of imaginative storytelling that good animation can deliver, this Volume 1 DVD of "Rescue Rangers" provides a large amount of widely-appealing fun.

The Rescue Rangers check out the situation. Fat Cat and his cronies (who bear more than passing resemblance to some Disney supporting characters) don't exactly get each other, but they stick together most of the time.

According to its package, this three-disc Volume 1 collection holds the first 27 episodes of "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers." This claim is supported by many online episode guides and the show's listing in Bill Cotter's Disney-published book The Wonderful World of Disney Television. The order the episodes are arranged in, however, remains unclear. They are not in the "production order" that Cotter's book provides, nor are they in the "airdate order" that the fallible-but-useful-in-spite-of-selling-out website TV.com offers. Further confusing matters, even an episode list which contains the 27 featured installments in the DVD's order -- Wikipedia.com's -- prefaces the volume's playlist with the 5-part "pilot" episode "To The Rescue" (which Cotter calls "Rescue Rangers To The Rescue"). I suppose such an utter lack of authoritative information is not entirely unexpected considering the syndicated nature of "Chip 'n Dale" and the fact that most viewers tuning in weekday afternoons weren't keeping detailed records.

The existence of "To The Rescue" is not to be doubted, but there seems to be confusion over when it was produced and when it aired - either as the initial launch or as a "how it all started" special to begin a mid-series run (which some classify as the start of a second season). Nonetheless, as is the case with the concurrently-released "DuckTales" Volume 1 DVD set, the premise-establishing five-part special is nowhere to be found on this debut DVD. Its absence may surprise and disappoint some, but one suspects it will be included (rightly or not) in the Volume 2 set. What remains to be seen is if a follow-up DVD release will go the distance to provide the rest of the series' 65-episode run in one shot, or if the 38 unreleased installments will be divided into smaller sets.

Enough babbling, let's take a look at the 27 episodes here in Volume 1. A star () denotes my ten favorite shows from this collection.

Like the provoking title implies, "Three Men and a Booby." For this episode only, the part of Tom Selleck will be played by Monterey Jack. That Arabian vendor looks more than a little like Professor Nimnul. Chip 'n Dale try drag.

DISC 1

1. "Catteries Not Included" (22:43) (Originally aired March 6, 1989)
The search for a missing kitten named Spunky leads the gang to an underground operation where robotic dogs are terrorizing dark alleys and kidnapping cats for Professor Nimnul.

2. "Three Men and a Booby" (22:44) (Originally aired April 30, 1989)
A grocery store visit brings the gang face to face with a distressed purple booby (that's a bird), who's desperately trying to find her baby egg. The trail takes the Rescue Rangers to a grouchy little man named Mr. Humpty.

3. "The Carpetsnaggers" (22:46) (Originally aired May 7, 1989)
Flying carpets alone are responsible for countless burglaries in the neighborhood. Chip 'n Dale find Ali Bimbo, the man selling them, isn't quite as Arabian as he looks.

4. "Piratsy Under the Seas" (22:40) (Originally aired March 5, 1989)
Dale's disregard for tidiness leaves him in the back of a garbage truck. When the rest of the gang attempts to rescue him, they wind up afloat on a junk barge. Not long after, they encounter a band of pirates in possession of a tidy treasure.

5. "Adventures in Squirrelsitting" (22:45) (Originally aired April 9, 1989)
In pursuit of Fat Cat and the legendary Maltese Mouse, Chip and Dale wreck the treehouse of a squirrel family. To make up for it, they agree to babysit the two squirrel children while their mother takes care of the place. Teenaged Tammy's unrequited crush for Chip has her running off to the city, throwing the Rescue Rangers among Fat Cat's crowd and forcing Chip and Dale to perform in drag!

Flash the Wonder Dog reveals the true identity of his portly impostor, while Conrad Cockatoo merely tries to stay conscious. Monterey Jack and Gadget with Monty's worldly old man Cheddarhead Charlie. The kingdom of this queen bee has left her high and dry for a rockin' lady.

6. "Flash the Wonder Dog" (22:44) (Originally aired March 19, 1989)
To bring down beloved television star Flash the Wonder Dog,
Fat Cat and his henchmen dress up in his costume and perform random acts of badness. Soon, the town is buzzing with bad vibes for Flash and the studio is replacing the canine with his cockatoo sidekick. Meanwhile, Dale gets a sobering meeting with his TV hero.

7. "Pound of the Baskervilles" (22:39) (Originally aired April 16, 1989)
The Rescue Rangers become involved in a bit of domestic drama when they encounter Roger Baskerville, a snooty mansion resident who wants nothing to do with his brother and his sheepdog, the rightful owners of the estate. Every turn seems to remind Chip of the literary adventures of the crafty detective Sureluck Jones and he uses his knowledge to try to outwit Baskerville and save the sheepdog.

8. "Parental Discretion Retired" (22:49) (Originally aired May 21, 1989)
Monterey Jack's world-traveling father Cheddarhead Charlie stops by and helps the Rescue Rangers as they try to figure out a dining oddity at a seafood joint. Their trail leads them to Fat Cat and another evil plan.

9. "Risky Beesness" (22:44) (Originally aired April 23, 1989)
A queen bee is quite perturbed when her entire swarm simply disappears. An enchanted Zipper and the rest of the Rescue Rangers are her only hope, and they track the bees down to an extermination company worker with dreams of rocking and rolling.

Jeremy and Humphrey the Bear are pals. Without gravity, Zipper's not exactly pulling his weight in the bunch. Dale does his chores the easy way, with the help of an alien impersonating him.

DISC 2

10. "Bearing Up Baby" (22:42) (Originally aired May 14, 1989)
The Rescue Rangers go vacationing in the woods. A little boy named Jeremy ditches his parents and befriends "fuzzies" small (the Rescue Rangers) and big (playful brown bear Humphrey) alike. His father isn't quite as charmed by the boy's new pal and leads a search party to hunt the large bear.

11. "Out to Launch" (22:46) (Originally aired March 26, 1989)
The Rescue Rangers' exploration of a space station leads to big time adventure when Chip and Dale get launched into orbit while inside an astronaut suit. Soon, they get a first-hand look at outer space when they fall out of the shuttle.

12. "Dale Beside Himself" (22:48) (Originally aired March 12, 1989)
An Earth-loving, shape-shifting alien makes himself look exactly like Dale. Having a powerful clone makes everyday tasks easier for the goofy chipmunk, but the aliens wears out his welcome when he tries to replace Dale.

13. "Kiwi's Big Adventure" (22:46) (Originally aired April 2, 1989)
The kiwis, a tribe of primitive birds, steal the Rescue Rangers' plane but can't figure out how it works. The Rangers' attempts to retrieve the plane include a little jealousy and a lot of coddling when Dale "stubs his toe" and Gadget nurses him to an extreme.

14. "A Lad in a Lamp" (22:45) (Originally aired October 3, 1989)
Monterey Jack happens upon Aladdin's magic lamp, but his newfound power irritates his friends and his third wish leaves him at the genie bound to serving the lamp's new masters: Fat Cat and his cronies.

Monty's efforts to slim down are taking a toll on everyone. Monterey Jack's scaredy ghost ancestor Sir Colby floats above the Rescue Rangers in "Ghost of a Chance." These Asian panda bears don't know anything about missing peanuts. (Ya, they do.)

15. "Battle of the Bulge" (22:40) (Originally aired October 9, 1989)
After his appetite nearly gets him caught, Monterey Jack vows to diet and exercise. Meanwhile, the Rangers trace a series of heists marked by seedy remains back to Fat Cat and his new hired help, a trio of Jamaican fruit bats.

16. "Ghost of a Chance" (22:38) (Originally aired October 10, 1989)
Fat Cat and his henchmen plan to steal the crown jewels of England, but the Rescue Rangers are there to try to stop them.
While in the Tower of London, Monterey Jack discovers his brave ancestor Sir Colby was really a coward -- the mouse's ghost is no different and, suddenly, neither is Monty himself.

17. "An Elephant Never Suspects" (22:42) (Originally aired October 11, 1989)
The Rescue Rangers' day at the zoo ends with them picking up the case of the missing peanuts. After widespread interrogations, though, Chip and Dale are the prime suspects with the perturbed elephants and monkeys. But might the suspicious behavior of a couple of homesick Asian pandas be a lead?

18. "A Case of Stage Blight" (22:48) (Originally aired October 16, 1989)
The Rescue Rangers go out for a night at the movies, only it turns out to be a night at the opera, which turns out to be a chance for gang to live up to their name when they encounter Sewernose de Bergerac, an envy-filled crocodile with a penchant for hand puppets. When the croc tries to sabotage the stage, the Rangers respond in appropriately theatrical fashion.

Continue to Page 2 >>

Buy Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume One DVD from Amazon.com

Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers on DVD: Volume 1 Volume 2 NEW!

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Reviewed November 9, 2005.