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Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers & DuckTales: Volume Two (November 27/06)

There are a lot of good things about cartoons from the ‘80s; high-quality animation is not one of them. While there’s little doubt that many animated television shows of the 1980s have a certain nostalgic appeal, most were cheaply-animated affairs whose main purpose was to sell toys. So it was with a certain amount of risk that Disney launched DuckTales in 1987, which featured a higher-than-average animation budget (for television) and which was sold through syndication (which was then pretty much unheard of for cartoons). The gambit paid off; DuckTales was a hit, and in turn spawned similar shows, including Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers.

DuckTales , based largely on the Uncle Scrooge series of comics by classic Disney artist Carl Barks, features the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his three grand-nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The show is fast-paced and fun, and in fact is probably the best out of the Disney TV cartoons of this ilk. Despite the fact that this is the second volume of DuckTales on DVD, it contains the epic five-part pilot episode, Treasure of the Golden Suns (which was oddly missing from the first volume). This obviously serves as a pretty good introduction to the characters and their situation. As well, all of the episodes are essentially self-contained, so I don’t think you have to worry too much if you bypass the first volume altogether.

Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (shouldn’t that be Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers? Or Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers? Oh well) stars Chip and Dale, along with their rag-tag crew of friends, as a group of Private Investigators who specialize in solving animal-related mysteries, and who frequently find themselves getting into one adventure or another. It’s kind of an odd role for the duo, who were initially popularized as comic foils for Donald Duck, but it works, mostly because Chip and Dale are different here than in their initial iterations. Like the DuckTales set, this is the second volume and yet contains the pilot of the show, another five-part episode. The show itself is not quite as good as DuckTales, but it is still very enjoyable and certainly better-than-average as far as shows for children go.

Both Ducktales and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, thanks to their comparatively large budgets, feature some surprisingly decent animation. No one is going to confuse the caliber of the animation for something like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but it still looks pretty good, particularly when you compare it to other animated shows of the era (it easily outclasses something like, say, G.I. Joe). As for entertainment value, both shows stand up today as something that will easily entertain both kids and adults. Considering the amount of entertainment you get for the price, it’s not too difficult to recommend both of these sets to fans of the show. Even if you’re not already a fan, you can easily start with either of these two sets without being confused (especially considering both sets come with their respective show’s pilot).

-Michael Nusair

About the DVDs: Ducktales and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers have both been released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment, and each set contains 24 episodes spread over three discs. The video quality is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from these sets: nothing you’d want to show off your home theatre with, but decent enough, and probably about as good as you’d expect considering that the shows were originally produced on video rather than film. If you’re hoping that the second volume of these shows contains more extras than the first, you’re out of luck; they’re both completely devoid of extra features, unless you count trailers for upcoming Disney releases.
© David Nusair