Everyone knows that these days, Hollywood is in the nostalgia business – but sometimes, like with the new teaser trailer for the live action Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers movie set to release on Disney+, past and present can converge to create something truly innovative.
The teaser trailer, which dropped early Tuesday, shows us not the universe of the show that ran for three seasons back in the Nineties, but a fresh take that puts the show front and center in a reality where cartoons and humans live side by side. Beginning with an E! True Hollywood Story styled documentary, we see that after its run, life changed for the team. After the cancellation of the show, Chip settled into a more mundane life while Dale opted to stay in showbusiness by undergoing CGI surgical procedures and doing what appears to be the convention circuit, based on the Indiana Jones merch booth the two run through, looking for disguises.
There are studio executives talking about reboots, looming villains, old friends with cheese habits—the teaser doesn’t offer much in the way of plot, but what it does show is exciting not just in terms of what one might expect from a Disney production, but in terms of the creative engineering that’s clearly going on in this brief two minute glimpse of the film.
From the word “go”, we see a world taken straight from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, complete with a cameo from the hilarious hare himself. While many of the characters we see are Disney products, like the Three Little Pigs and Scrooge McDuck, we also see the likes of Hasbro’s My Little Ponies alongside the chipmunk Disney legends. Given that one of the driving forces behind the movie is comedy rap group and creative team The Lonely Island, with Andy Samberg voicing Dale and Akiva Schaffer directing, the classic crossover that was Roger Rabbit is likely at the heart of this film’s creative core. An innovating and groundbreaking feature with the collaborative consent of multiple studios allowing for such an incredible animated assemblage of characters, one would think that another movie of its ilk would be impossible to create.
Unless, of course, you’re part of a generation that grew up on such innovation and vision. The Lonely Island happen to be part of that generation, and what’s more, are used to breaking new ground with their own music and film, such as the Digital Shorts made famous on SNL. Granted, most of their usual work is far more off color in nature, but nonetheless remains fearless and fresh – full of the kind of big ideas that could, potentially, bust through the cutthroat Hollywood landscape to allow for Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers to be more than just a nostalgia trip.
Keep your eyes open, by the way. It’s not just the Chipmunks. Look for other characters, like a couple of semi-animated brawling humanoid cats from the live action Cats musical (you know, the one that had everyone gasping for breath at how bad it was), and even Paula Abdul and her animated street cat boyfriend from her 1989 Opposites Attract music video.
At the crossroads of nostalgia and evolution, Rescue Rangers could just be the thing that injects fresh blood into a stagnating industry, all with a clever touch of familiarity that the higher powers simply can’t resist cashing in on.
Are you excited about the potential of this movie? Then be sure to tune into Disney+ on May 20th to check it out—because as the poster says, it’s not a reboot.
It’s a comeback.
Liz Carlie (she/her/he/him) is a regular book, TV, and film reviewer for SCIFI.radio and has previously been a guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. In addition to being an active member of the traditional fandom community, she’s also an active participant in online fan culture, pro wrestling journalism, and spreading the gospel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She resides in Southern California with her aspiring superhero dog, Junior, enjoying life one hyperfixation at a time.