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The Rescuers Down Under

The Rescuers Down Under
A Walt Disney Home Video Release
1990, 77 Minutes, Color, Rated G

Starring:  Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy
List Price:  $29.99 USD, released 08/01/00
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Dual Layered (DVD-9)
Aspect Ratio:  1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio Formats:  English 4.0, French 2.0 Surround, Spanish 2.0 Surround
Subtitles:  English
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Storybook, Trivia Game, Theatrical Trailer, Interactive Menus, Scene Selection.

The Rescuers Down Under continues the adventures of the original Rescuers, which premiered thirteen years earlier. Deep in the Australian outback, a small boy named Cody goes to the aid of a golden eagle captured in a poachers trap. After successfully rescuing the magnificent bird and making a new friend, Cody himself falls into a trap set by an evil poacher named McLeach. The poacher kidnaps Cody demanding he take him to the eagle’s nesting site and, in turn, the eagle. But a mouse witness to the dastardly deed sounds an alarm which is relayed all the way to New York to the attention of the Rescue Aid Society. And who better than to take on this dangerous mission than their best agents, Bernard and Bianca, voiced by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor respectively.

To travel halfway around the world they enlist the aid of the bumbling Wilbur, proprietor of Albatross Airways (voiced by John Candy). In Australia they meet up with Jake, a kangaroo mouse, their dashing guide. But Jake is enchanted by Bianca – much to the chagrin of Bernard. As they proceed from one perilous predicament to another, can they rescue Cody before McLeach finds the eagle? And how can three mice be a match for McLeach’s gigantic traveling machine? Never underestimate Bernard and Bianca!

Although The Rescuers is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen format, Disney followed the format used for Tarzan and added small vertical black bars to the sides of the image. This preserves the entire 1.66:1 image, while still allowing it to be anamorphically enhanced in a 1.78:1 area. On most properly calibrated televisions the side bars will disappear into the overscan region, leaving you with only widescreen picture. Down Under features a good transfer, with rich colors, sharp detail and well calibrated blacks. A fair amount of grain is visible, while a tiny amount of colored lint is present throughout most of the film. The 77 minute movie is divided into 16 chapters, with static scene selection screens. The dual-layered disc contains 6.1 gigabytes of data.

Sound is presented in English 4.0, which means you get front left, center and right channels, plus mono rear – almost like a pre-decoded ProLogic track. This, of course, allows for an exact reproduction of the original soundtrack. Overall the soundtrack in Down Under is clean, with no unwanted background noises. Not quite as crisp as more modern soundtracks, but still commendable. The rear channel is used throughout, but not in an intruding manner. Despite the lack of a dedicated subwoofer track you’ll be surprised at the amount of bass contained in a particular scene. Good stuff! Also included are French and Spanish 2.0 Surround soundtracks and English subtitles and Closed Captioning.

Extras are limited, but there are a few. First, the original theatrical trailer is presented full-screen with stereo audio. It’s fuzzy, but serviceable. Next Disney included their now pre-requisite Storybook, which can be played with or without audio. There’s a Trivia Game, which asks you numerous questions about the characters and events in the movie – unfortunately there’s no bonus reward for getting them right. Finally, you’ll find a number of Disney preview trailers, which play as soon as the disc is inserted in your player. That is one feature I wish they would exclude – being able to select them manually is more than enough, but having to watch (or at least fast forward) through them each and every time is irritating to say the least. In the case you’ll also find a small activity booklet called "Animals of the Outback" with animal facts,

The Rescuers Down Under is a fun animated movie made all the better by not being a musical. Disney’s new $29.99 Gold Line of DVDs are much more reasonably priced than their previous offerings, which makes it a good buy especially if you have children. Then again, if you do, you’d be hard pressed not to buy this film! As an added bonus, owners of the original VHS version can mail off for a small rebate.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on August 5, 2000.

Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony 32" XBR250 WEGA TV using Component
Nuance Spatial Baby Grand 3E & StarSat

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