Before last night, this was one of the remaining canon features that I had never seen before. I had only heard bits and pieces about it, all of which were positive except the fact that it was the forgotten entry in Disney's Renaissance movies.
Having finally seen it, I have to say, it's actually a solid film. Even if it's not one of Disney's greatest, I can't think of any way it could've been made better. There were a few main things I noticed:
-Bernard and Bianca had sort of a small role in this one, as much of the story was focused on Cody's adventure in the outback, and subplots with Wilbur and the other Australian fauna. In a way, it was the opposite of the original, where during the focus on their partnership, it takes a while before we meet the child they're assigned to rescue.
-This was one of the very few Disney movies with no songs.
-I kinda appreciated how Bernard learned how to be more assertive, without anyone explaining it throughout the film. The reason behind his motives were self-explanatory.
-One interesting tidbit revealed in the "Two Guys Named Joe"; To kick off his return to Disney after 40 years, Joe Grant did preliminary sketches of the bird that would eventually become the Golden Eagle.
-The movie never explains WHY the eagle is so damn huge!
-I guess it would've been redundant to have had Bernard and Bianca married off in the first film.
Overall, I'd say Down Under was about as decent as the original. More thankfully, it was the rare Disney sequel that actually builds up on the original, instead of the "sequels for sequels' sake" that became standard operating procedure for their video titles. The original Rescuers was more quiet and slow-paced, yet the story and songs perfectly matched the theme of the story; two novices going out on their first
adventure. Down Under was where, having done it before, Bernard and Bianca were more sure of themselves, as was the movie.