'Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers' Is a Perfect Reboot

Directed by Akiva Schaffer

Starring Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons, Will Arnett, KiKi Layne, Eric Bana, Tim Robinson, Keegan-Michael Key

BY Alex HudsonPublished May 22, 2022

Does anyone actually want a Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers reboot? No, of course not — and to this film's immense credit, it knows it. A self-deprecating sense of humour is its greatest strength, as it trolls Hollywood for its cash-grab reboots while making an excellent one in the process.

This extremely self-aware film imagines a world in which real humans and cartoons coexist, and Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) were actors in a once-successful show. After three seasons between 1989 and 1990 (just like in real life), the show is cancelled after Dale tries to go solo, and they sink into obscurity.

Flash forward to the present, and Dale has gotten reconstructive surgery to become 3D. He appears at fan conventions and Chippendales strip clubs, while the still-2D Chip sells insurance and sneers at the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. Eventually, the two reunite to solve the mystery of the missing Monterey Jack, a character from the original show who is kidnapped by someone making bootleg knockoffs of popular cartoons (e.g. Pooj the Fat Honey Bear).

With one of the main characters rendered in 2D and the other in 3D — plus supporting characters in claymation and more — Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers is aggressively meta. The "Ugly Sonic" from the original Sonic the Hedgehog trailer appears, talking about how the internet hated his "human teeth," and there's even a scene set in the semi-realistic "uncanny valley" of early '00s animation.

Along the way, Chip and Dale encounter a parade of characters from other cinematic universes. More than anything, Rescue Rangers is a masterpiece of Disney brand synergy; I counted references to The Simpsons, Beavis & Butthead, the MCU, the Pixar films and a whole lot more. It's a slightly terrifying reminder of just how many properties Disney owns — but I guess I'm a sucker for it, because I couldn't help but be delighted every time Chip 'n Dale collided with yet another cinematic universe. I didn't catch any Star Wars references; maybe they're saving it for the sequel.

The voice actors further tear down the fourth wall, hamming it up to the point that they are practically caricatures of themselves. Mulaney's exasperated yells are like a slapstick parody of Mulaney, Samberg is basically playing his Brooklyn Nine-Nine character Jake Peralta, and supporting star Seth Rogen laughs with his crowd-pleasing "eh heh heh heh." 

It's extremely clever, with every moment stuffed with references and quick jokes. It's bound to reward repeat viewings, just to catch it all.

Simply being meta might be enough to make Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers entertaining, but it's also flat-out funny — like Dale's exceptionally silly attempt at rap, which had me cry-laughing. As far as pointless reboots of long-forgotten properties go, it doesn't get any better than this.

Latest Coverage