Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the 2022 live-action animation hybrid film (“it’s not a reboot, it’s a comeback”) now streaming on Disney Plus is a surprisingly satisfying film for children and adults alike, and for fans of the series or complete newcomers.
Thirty years after the cancellation of their hit Saturday morning cartoon, Chip and Dale are estranged. Chip is working as an insurance salesman while Dale is still trying to get work as an actor but in truth mostly works the convention circuit. The two are reunited, however, when their old pal Monterey Jack goes missing. This film is a lot of fun, not least of all because of the tremendous cast, live-action and non, assembled to make it work.
Andy Samberg as Dale
According to this film’s origin story, Chip and Dale’s cartoon was canceled when Dale, jealous of Chip’s more prominent role, left to pursue his own series, which was also quickly canned. Thirty years later, the two no longer speak, hurt and resentment running deep. Dale has kept his entertainment profile alive, attending conventions and even having “tasteful” CGI surgery, which explains his more updated look.
2022’s Dale no longer speaks with that sped-up, squeaky chipmunk voice, though Corey Burton, Dale’s voice throughout the late ‘80s run of the series, does provide that classic high-pitched dialogue for a nostalgic moment or two. Otherwise, Dale gets the Andy Samberg treatment. Samberg, a former SNL cast member and star of TV’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, known for films including Palm Springs and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, is no stranger to voice acting. He’s played a pivotal role in the Hotel Transylvania franchise as well as guest roles on Bob’s Burgers, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Adventure Time, among others. He gives Dale a fun, goofy vibe that feels right and sounds like a wink and a shrug.
John Mulaney as Chip
With Dale providing the physical comedy and reckless energy on their old TV show, Chip was the man with the plan, a straight shooter, and a dependable leader. He befriended a lonely Dale in the third grade and continued to occupy the more dominant role in their friendship into adulthood and work. With show biz behind him, Chip now has a serious job and takes care of a dog named Millie. He’s a proper grown-up.
Who better to voice such a responsible chipmunk than John Mulaney? Tress MacNeille, perhaps, who provided the high-pitched voice of Chip previously, and returned to reprise the role of Gadget. Mulaney, however, is a solid choice for the rebrand; his stand-up comedy is practically an audition for the role of ‘conscientious chipmunk,’ having described his own vibe as “the squarest person in the cool room” and “you could probably pour soup in my lap, and I’ll apologize to you.” Mulaney was a writer on SNL and has acted alongside Nick Kroll, Jim Gaffigan, and Maria Bamford. His voice work is strong, having voiced the very popular Spider-Ham in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and a starring character in Netflix’s Big Mouth. Mulaney is a little nerdy, a little reserved, and as Chip, he’s the perfect foil to the more exuberant Dale.
Kiki Layne as Ellie Steckler
Ellie is a human (live-action) rookie cop working the case of the missing cartoon characters. When Flounder from Disney’s The Little Mermaid goes missing, Chip and Dale fear their friend Monterey Jack may be next. Ellie shares with them that cartoons from popular movies and television shows are being kidnapped and bootlegged. She’d like to help, but her credibility was shot when she followed a bad for the missing Peppa Pig and the resulting raid went south when the force was attacked by Paw Patrol.
Ellie is played by Kiki Layne, known for her 2018 starring, breakout role in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-nominated If Beale Street Could Talk. She went on to star in 2020’s Netflix superhero action movie The Old Guard opposite Charlize Theron, and Eddie Murphy’s 2021 sequel, Coming 2 America. With such a varied background, Layne is clearly stretching her acting muscles yet again, and since Layne claims her favorite childhood film was The Lion King, this new role seems to fit her well.
Eric Bana as Monterey Jack
Known as Monty to his friends, Monterey Jack is a strapping Australian mouse with flaming red hair and a luxuriant mustache. Thirty years after their show’s end, Monty calls both Chip and Dale to the rescue, finding himself in dire straights after borrowing money for cheese he can’t repay. Washed up and strung out on cheese, he knows his life’s in danger, but he’s as powerless to do anything about it as he is to his eye-spiraling, mustache-twirling addiction.
Eric Bana, real-life Australian, known for his growly, deep-throated voice, seems perfect for playing an adventuresome mouse. Bana has appeared in numerous movies, including Black Hawk Down, Munich, 2003’s Hulk, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Star Trek. His voice work includes the excellent Mary and Max, and Pixar’s Finding Nemo.
Will Arnett as Sweet Pete
There’s nothing “sweet” about Pete, the crime boss behind all the cartoon disappearances. As the boy who never grew up, audiences loved him, but as soon as he hit puberty, Peter Pan was tossed aside, no longer useful to the movie studio he’d made rich. Middle-aged and not quite fitting into his costume like he used to, this Peter is grizzled and cynical.
Will Arnett may be known for roles in comedies like 30 Rock and Arrested Development, but his smoky, gravelly voice lends itself well to shadier characters too. Arnett has voiced Batman in both The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, and has moved the genre’s needle with his work on the Netflix animated dramedy, BoJack Horseman as well as playing the lead role in the hilarious improv detective show, Murderville.
Seth Rogen as Bob The Warrior Viking
Bob The Warrior Viking is one of Sweet Pete’s evil henchmen. Chip and Dale encounter him in the Uncanny Valley, home to motion-captured characters who look real but not quite right (also home to cats from the terrible 2019 film, Cats). Bob has dead eyes reminiscent of the Tom Hanks animated holiday film, Polar Express. He may not be able to look you in the eye, but he’s still capable of cartoon atrocities.
Seth Rogen doesn’t often play the bad guy unless his recent turn as Rand Gauthier in Pam & Tommy counts. His voice roles are nearly as numerous as his raunchy comedies, and if you watch Bob carefully during the convention scene, you’ll see a few of the more notorious ones, including Pumbaa from The Lion King, Mantis from Kung Fu Panda, and B.O.B. from Monsters vs. Aliens.
J.K. Simmons as Captain S. Putty
Perhaps the Chip ‘n Dale producers were unable to secure the rights to Gumby, the famous claymation character. Captain Putty, however, is a reasonable facsimile. He’s a gritty commanding officer, but his authority is somewhat undercut by the fact that things are always sinking into his putty and getting stuck there – including other officers.
Known for playing tough cookies in films like Whiplash, Spider-Man, and Justice League, J.K. Simmons’ gruffness lends itself very well to the taciturn Captain Putty. Simmons’ previous voice work includes Archer, Zootopia, Marmaduke, and soon-to-be Yellow in the upcoming M&M’s series.
Paul Rudd/David Tennant/Rachel Bloom
Paul Rudd has a quick but memorable cameo in Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, as either the actor who plays Ant-Man, or the guy who plays Aunt-Man, depending on which version is to be believed.
David Tennant, Dr. Who’s The 10th Doctor, and star of Broadchurch and Good Omens, reprises his DuckTales voice role rather fittingly as Scrooge McDuck. Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and recent voice in The Angry Birds Movie 2 and Trolls 2: World Tour, provides several voices, including Flounder, Insurance Sheep, Lost Boy, and Cannon Ball.
Chris Parnell/Tim Robinson/Keegan-Michael Key
SNL alum Chris Parnell has a small role as Dale’s human (live-action) agent, Dave Bollinari. Tim Robinson has a much more fun role voicing Ugly Sonic, the original and ultimately scrapped design from the 2020 Sonic The Hedgehog film. This movie isn’t afraid to poke fun at the debacle, or at Ugly Sonic’s creepy human teeth.
Keegan-Michael Key keeps busy voicing two characters. Key voices Chip’s frog coworker at the insurance company as well as Bjornson the Cheesemonger, a Muppet-like henchman of Sweet Pete’s who sounds a lot like Swedish Chef.
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