‘Chip and Chop: The Rescue Guardians’ – Chasing Roger Rabbit

the shadow of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ it is elongated. Much. Every new production that mixes live action with animation is going to be immediately compared to Robert Zemeckis’s film, it’s inevitable. It was not the first, but it was the one that established a chair in this complex method. The reasons go beyond the technical, where he was (and still is) an audiovisual genius, being able to integrate this characteristic into an adult plot that was also a fantastic tribute to the world of cartoons. It went beyond a simple trick or artifice, and it was no coincidence that names such as Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Bob Hoskins or Christopher Lloyd were found behind it. Since 1988, the year of its premiere, several films have appeared that have used this technique, the most popular of all being ‘Space Jam’and some taking the animation to the 3D terrain, such as ‘Sonic the movie’ either ‘Pokmon: Detective Pikachu’. If none of them are as round as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ It is mainly due to a problem of ambition. ‘Chip and Chop: The Rescue Guardians’ he is still in the shade in this regard, he is still chasing the nervous white rabbit, although this is not necessarily a negative thing.

The new Chip and Chop movie has much more than ‘The LEGO Movie’ either ‘Ready Player One’ what of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’. The film is smart and quickly stands out from the comparison. There is an investigative plot that has touches of film noir but gives much more relevance to talking about more human or real-world issues, such as the mid-30s crisis, broken toys from show business or simply friendship. Akiva Schaffer is the director of this film, a member of The Lonely Island, a comedy group from ‘Saturday night Live’ which is an important part of this production (Andy Samberg, another member, voices Chop). In 2016 he co-directed ‘pop star’ along with Jorma Taccone (the only member of the band who does not participate in this feature film), a satire about the world of music and its stars, with several cameos and a more sentimental background than it seemed at first. The two works by Akiva Schaffer share many things and in essence one could almost say that they are the same film but set in different universes. The influence of The Lonely Island is especially noticeable in the type of humor, always on the edge but never overstepping the line. Much more mischievous than what Disney has accustomed us in recent times. There are gags that justify viewing the film and the staging, especially in its photography (Larry Fong is in charge), looks above average for this type of direct release on streaming platforms.

The script is the aspect where it is weakest. The work of Dan Gregor and Doug Mand to pencil is lacking in ambition, of not delving into ideas that are wonderful. They take away all the metafiction part, and that is to be appreciated. That the motivation of the villains is to modify cartoon characters to make bootlegs of the movies they star in is an original, ingenious, ironic premise capable of creating very absurd and funny situations, but they end up leaving this plot aside to get into the part more dramatic, which ends up being routine and very predictable from the beginning of the film. It is a script that needed a couple more revisions and belong to a Disney from another era, where they dared to make movies that were really somewhat irreverent, to really be the successor of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’. But, as I said before, they have known how to stand out from the comparison by making a different film, with a much more relaxed tone, being a very pleasant, friendly and fun viewing. She doesn’t take herself seriously, which is a plus that manages to hide the shortcomings she has.

The festival of references and hints is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. Some are an important part of the plot and others just pass by. The overwhelming amount and the way they are used makes the universe where the film is located naturally rich in characters. It was not an easy task considering the different animation styles that come together here: traditional 2D animation, 2.5D animation, CGI, stop-motion, puppets… There are decisions that make the whole look a bit ugly, like some characters being 2.5D to cut costs and not because of a creative decision, but in general the animation is fantastic and this fruit salad is a gift for those of us who love animation. The film works much better as a celebration of this medium, there is little to complain about in that aspect, taking the trouble to integrate the different animation styles into the plot. A character who goes from being 2.5D to CGI for having undergone plastic surgery, monstrosities out of “Uncanny Valley” and animated as if they belonged in the early 2000s or a veteran policeman animated in stop-motion in an absolutely delicious way.

Summarizing, ‘Chip and Chop: The Rescue Guardians’ it is a very pleasant surprise. It could have been much more if it had had a production company like Amblin behind it and not the current Disney, but that does not mean that the final result is that of a film that knows how to make the viewer laugh, with original ideas and slightly crazy concepts. The simple fact that he is recommending a Chip and Chop movie in the middle of 2022 should already be enough to encourage you to see it.

Note: 6.5

By Marc Sacristán García


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