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

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 2 DVD Review

Buy the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 2 DVD from Amazon.com Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 2 (1989-90)
Show & DVD Details

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

Directors: John Kimball, Bob Zamboni, Rick Leon, Jamie Mitchell

Regular Writers: Dev Ross, Mark Edens, Julia J. Roberts, Tad Stones, Kevin Hopps / Supervising Story Editor: Tad Stones / Regular Story Editors: Bryce Malek, Ken Kooce, David Weimars, Jymn Magon, Tad Stones, Mark Zaslove

Voice Cast: Tress MacNeille (Chip, Gadget, Policewoman, Siamese Twins, Monrovia), Corey Burton (Dale, Zipper, Mole, Snout, Leprechaun), Jim Cummings (Monterey Jack, Fat Cat, Professor Nimnul, Wart, Sergeant Spinelli, Stan, Blather, Chinese Cat, Barnacle Bill, Macaw, Heinrich Von Sugarbottom, Robespierre, Rat Capone, Rocco, Baby Thaddeus), Peter Cullen (Officer Kirby, Officer Muldoon, Mepps, Ratso Ratskiwatski, Mr. Hancock), Rob Paulsen (Detective Donald Drake, Percy, Frenchy), Sindy McKay (Desiree D'Allure, Su Lin), Deborah Walley (Leulani, Buffy Ratskiwatski), Kathleen Freeman (Ma)

Running Time: 549 Minutes (24 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 14, 2006
Original Airdates: September 11, 1989 - February 19, 1990
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

By Aaron Wallace

The 1980s and '90s provided children no shortage of cartoon series to enjoy not only on Saturday mornings, but every day of the week. Many of those shows are fondly remembered today by an older audience that grew up with them. Among the more popular titles was "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers", which debuted in 1989, more than three years before a Cartoon Network even existed.

Disney had already launched a few other animated series in the mid-'80s, including two that reused characters from classic Disney shorts: "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" and "DuckTales."
Taking their cue from those successes, they turned to one of the studio's most enduring duos for their next project: Chip and Dale, a pair of chipmunks who had for decades agitated the Disney gang (most notably Pluto and Donald Duck) without ever getting a real spotlight of their own. In the new series, they headed up a do-gooding gang of rodents named the Rescue Rangers, embarking on one adventure after the next in order to foil criminals' dastardly deeds. Though their individuality had never been explored in much depth, their memorable feistiness and vitality were maintained for the show and enhanced with distinct (and often clashing) personalities for each.

Whether it was their long-established partnership or their fiery indignation, the chipmunks' casting as a pair of crime-fighting detectives feels like a natural one. In fact, everything about "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" seems natural. The high quality of the series feels right at home in the Disney canon and the styles exhibited in both its production and design fit in with the late '80s as well. Chip and Dale, as lovable and playful here as they've ever been, are all the more resonant in their new roles and environment.

Chip and Dale cast the net of justice. Fat Cat contemplates his devious obesity.

Of course, the large ensemble casts of "Gummi Bears", "DuckTales", and "Pooh" suggest that the series should have more than just the two titular protagonists if it is to be guaranteed success, and indeed it does. Three other characters comprise the rest of the Rescue Rangers: the brilliant and innovative Gadget Hackwrench (the lone female in the primary cast and one of two mice), the cheese-obsessed Monterey Jack (the other mouse), and the ever-assistant Zipper (a freakishly large fly who hums rather than talk). Like Chip and Dale, they are each ascribed unique personalities, creating a diverse group with a very entertaining dynamic as a result.

The Rescue Rangers set themselves apart from other crime-fighting groups by righting wrongs in any case of injustice, no matter how insignificant or grand. That allows them to occasionally enjoy storylines that won't likely be seen elsewhere in superhero-dom, even when otherwise relying on narrative formulas and devices from previous shows of the same ilk (and of the detective genre in general) in just about every episode. It's nearly impossible to not be aware of the three act structure that is reliably employed each time. Most of what unfolds on-screen is visual, emphasizing very creative gags and not-too-violent action sequences over dialogue and plot. That means that viewing the show is a demanding task -- especially when done in bulk -- and not suited for multi-tasking.

Indeed, the show was created with a younger viewing audience in mind (though not so young that their parents are in line for the next Baby Einstein DVD, regardless of how Disney markets it) and, accordingly, a shorter attention span. That doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed by an older audience, however. In fact, I'd bet that most of its fans today belong to an older demographic, eager to reminisce the entertainment of their childhood. Yes, the then-contemporary setting and occasional real-life references date it a bit, but not so much so that it doesn't still stand up today. Just the opposite is true; "Rescue Rangers" is at least as well-rendered as any animated adventure show out there today and can still out-entertain its successors these seventeen years later. Its action-oriented nature means that it's best viewed a few episodes at a time but when the viewer is willing to be engaged, they are in for quite a bit of fun, regardless of age.

Monterey Jack has a cheese attack. Chip and Zipper... Chipper?

A year after Disney finally answered demand with the release of 27 "Rescue Rangers" episodes to DVD, they're providing even more with the release of Volume 2 on DVD, which brings another 24 episodes to home video. The decision to include three less episodes this time around likely has more to do with organization of content than it does an effort to improve video quality.
With this release, 51 of the show's 65 episodes are on DVD, leaving just 14 episodes for a Volume 3, which is already a low number for a box set but surely sounds a lot better than 11. Sure, the 38 installments remaining after Volume 1's release could have been included in one giant five-disc set, but the price would have been higher and sales might have lagged. As it is, 24 is a pretty standard number of episodes for DVD sets of TV shows and shouldn't ruffle anyone's feathers.

There was some confusion as to how the ordering of Volume 1's episodes was determined (for more on this, see our review). Certainly, they were the first 27 episodes (the TV special that launched the series notwithstanding... more on that in a moment), but they were organized neither by production order nor original air-date. That is not the case in Volume 2. Records of air-dates for the show are hard to come by and often inaccurate, but according to the production order in Bill Cotter's Disney-sanctioned but typically reliable book The Wonderful World of Disney Television, Volume 2 does present its episodes in proper production order. (It should be noted that the less-reliable Wikipedia's listed production order differs from Cotter's). If TV.com's listing is to be trusted, then the production order is identical to the air-date order beginning with "A Creep in the Deep" (the first episode in this set after the five-part pilot). "Rescue Rangers" features only the tiniest bit of story arcing, so the order ultimately doesn't make much of a difference, but Volume 2's presentation seems to be on the up-and-up.

The biggest point of interest about this release is that it does include the five-part series "pilot", titled "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue", that was left off of the Volume 1 set to the disappointment of many. Like the rest of the episodes, the extended pilot's history is a little confusing. It was first created as one cohesive two-hour TV movie (aired on September 30, 1989, according to Cotter, several months after "Rescue Rangers" had debuted). It was later divided up into five separate episodes (each with a "To Be Continued" tagged on at the end) and reportedly aired the week of September 11, 1989 (about two weeks before the two hour-long airing). Again according to Cotter, those five installments entered the line-up as production numbers 28-32, which puts them right at the beginning of Volume 2. Indeed, the DVD does present it as five different episodes rather than one solid feature and they're the first five episodes on Disc 1. The pilot explains how the Rescue Rangers became friends and partners as well as the connection between the series' two primary villains: Fat Cat and Professor Norton Nimnul. Again, conflicting information regarding this show abounds and the five-parter can be seen as either a starting point or a mid-series reflection on the "beginning you never knew". Arguably, Disney would have been right to put the pilot in the Volume 1 set instead, as they did for "TaleSpin" and "Darkwing Duck", either at the beginning for content's sake or in the middle by order of original air-date. However, Cotter's production order suggests that its placement at the beginning of Volume 2 is the most accurate presentation.

A star () denotes my ten favorite shows from this collection.

Before they were fighting crime, Chip and Dale were free to
explore the wonders of paper aviation and rodent aerodynamics. Chip and Dale take advice from Plato the police dog. Fat Cat and his posse get away with Claudaine's ruby.

DISC 1

1. "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue - Part One" (22:54) (Originally aired September 11, 1989)
Chip and Dale find themselves in the middle of a messy crime in which their police friends are falsely accused. Using the tricks they've learned from careful study of police-work, it's up to them to ensure justice and retrieve a stolen ruby from Fat Cat

2. "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue - Part Two" (23:29) (Originally aired September 12, 1989)
While chasing Fat Cat and his crew, Chip and Dale meet Monterey Jack and Zipper, a mouse and fly with whom they quarrel until Fat Cat makes a target of all four of them.

3. "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue - Part Three" (23:31) (Originally aired September 13, 1989)
When Chip and Dale need to take to the skies, Monterey takes them to the Hackwrench home, where the gang meets Gadget.

4. "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue - Part Four" (23:35) (Originally aired September 14, 1989)
With all five crime-fighters together at last, the pursuit of Fat Cat and his evil owner, Claudaine, kicks into high gear. Meanwhile, Professor Nimnul makes things more complicated for the gang, who are forced to battle the elements.

Whether the rangers are talking to them or Fat Cat is chasing
them, fish seem to be something of a motif in "Chip 'n' Dale." Professor Nimnul's nephew bears a striking resemblance to his uncle, doesn't he? Chip's skepticism gives him confidence in the face of a dire
prediction from a fortune teller.

5. "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue - Part Five" (23:25) (Originally aired September 15, 1989)
In the final chapter of the five-part saga, the newly-formed Rescue Rangers uncover Claudaine and Nimnul's plot: a giant earthquake to send the city's riches to their cave below.

6. "A Creep in the Deep" (22:48) (Originally aired November 13, 1989)
In this 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-themed episode, the notorious fish captain Finn attempts to reclaim the oceans from humanity.

7. "Normie's Science Project" (22:54) (Originally aired November 14, 1989)
Corrupting even the young, Professor Nimnul wreaks havoc at the elementary school when he gives his nephew a terrorizing science fair project.

8. "Seer No Evil" (22:41) (Originally aired November 15, 1989)
The Rescue Rangers visit a fortune-teller, who predicts a series of mishaps for the gang, all of which seem to come true. This especially worries Chip, whose foreseen life expectancy is rather grim.

Chip keeps lookout in "Chipwrecked Shipmunks." You are what you eat, Monty. Dale learns that a leprechaun's treasure is fool's gold.

DISC 2

9. "Chipwrecked Shipmunks" (22:48) (Originally aired November 16, 1989)
Stranded on a deserted island, the Rangers run into the PiRats, whose own search for gold tempts Monty and Dale.

10. "When Mice Were Men" (22:41) (Originally aired November 17, 1989)
An old foe of Monty's -- El Emenopio the bull -- is terrorizing a town and the Rangers are summoned to stop his tirade.

11. "Chocolate Chips" (22:45) (Originally aired November 20, 1989)
In a plot not unlike that of The Proud Family Movie, an evil candy man enslaves an island's population to his business endeavors and even the Rangers fall prey.

12. "The Last Leprechaun" (22:43) (Originally aired November 21, 1989)
The Rangers try to catch themselves a leprechaun but end up captured themselves instead.

Chip and Dale wage something of a prank-off in "One-Upsman-Chip." The Rangers finally take a vacation, but unfortunately, the hero-on-call doesn't subscribe to that "no case too small" philosophy. Monterey's long-lost love interest returns in "Love Is A Many
Splintered Thing."

13. "Weather Or Not" (22:45) (Originally aired November 22, 1989)
Professor Nimnul uses his new weather machine invention to ease his robberies with foul weather.

14. "One-Upsman-Chip" (22:51) (Originally aired November 23, 1989)
Chip and Dale rival one another in a war of pranks but when Chip and the rest of the Rangers take one too far, Dale ends up in the hands of Fat Cat.

15. "Shell Shocked" (22:49) (Originally aired November 24, 1989)
Just when the Rangers think they're getting a long-awaited vacation together, a group of shell-less crabs enlist their help in solving a coastal crime.

16. "Love Is A Many Splintered Thing" (22:48) (Originally aired December 18, 1989)
Monterey's once-betrothed returns and drives a wedge between him and the Rescue Rangers.

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Continue to Page 2 >>

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

Reviewed November 19, 2006.

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