(I Also Write Children's Books!)

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Chip And Dale Movie?

So, I found out that Disney has approved a combination live action / CG Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers movie.  (Link provided the one I could find trying the least to be witty.  Ah, entertainment news.)

I have mixed feelings, to say the least.  Have you ever seen a live-action-cg-exploit-an-existing-property movie that didn't suck?  Horribly?  And yet Disney is making it.  If they put it up on the big screen, at worst it's mediocre.  I am exactly the age where Rescue Rangers meant a lot to me.  80s cartoons were bad.  They were BAD.  They were horrific.  Tiny Toons and Rescue Rangers were a breath of fresh air, no matter how bad they seem in comparison to modern cartoons.  Gadget by herself was an astonishingly good character, combining brilliance, naivete, and a decent helping of insanity.  Odds are good that she won't be in the movie.  All they HAVE to include are Chip, Dale, and the name 'Rescue Rangers' to describe them doing heroic stuff - the least interesting parts of the show.  And yet, Disney does not produce much trash these days, and produces less trash by the minute.

You can see how my thoughts go back and forth on this, can't you?  Well, there is one more thing, something of more professional interest.

See, only a couple of years after Rescue Rangers was on, in the archaeological early days of the internet, I was on a mailing list about cartoons that included some cartoon professionals from Disney.  I learned about the hard truth of animation - executive meddling.  I read early versions of scripts that were brilliant and hilarious, then saw the cartoons that were painfully dull and formulaic.  I heard the explanation - a businessman had read the script and decided it was too funny.  You see, they wanted cartoons to be palatable to the morons they assumed were their audience.

This problem has haunted cartoons forever and is only letting go slowly, but it has an application here.  Rescue Rangers did not have to be as bad as it was.  Great writers came up with great ideas and made great scripts.  The show was dumbed down from the top.  Most of the Disney Afternoon shows were dumbed down from the top.  Tiny Toons and Animaniacs were dumbed down from the top.

There is no reason why a Rescue Rangers movie couldn't be amazing, and things have relaxed in the animation industry just enough that it's possible it will fulfill the potential that drew me to the show.  Or it could be a godawful piece of crap.  I find myself hoping, but not wanting to hope.

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