Now available for the first time on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack is Disney’s The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under.

The Rescuers is about Bernard and Bianca, two mice and members of an International group known as the Rescue Aid Society.  The RAS has found a note in a bottle written by a little girl named Penny.  Penny lived at an orphanage in New York until she was kidnapped by the evil Madam Medusa to help retrieve a lost diamond known as the “Devil’s Eye”.  The diamond is part of a lost pirate treasure which is only able to be reached by going down a well, and Penny is small enough to fit down there.

The RAS decides that a rescue mission must be undertaken immediately and Bernard and Bianca set out to investigate and find Penny and bring her home.

The Rescuers is one of the “darker” Disney animated features in my opinion both in story and coloring.  Don Bluth was still an animator at Disney at the time and was the directing animator on the film.

The opening sequence features some extreme close ups on painted canvas, which is absolutely beautiful to watch.  It’s like watching a sequence of canvas storyboards over the opening credits and song. Definitely not your typical animated opening for a feature.

Technically, the movie is a little jittery on some of the camera zooms, but that’s a flaw from the original film and not something that could have been fixed in the Blu-ray transfer.

The Rescuers Down Under takes place in, you guessed it, Australia!  A direct sequel to the first film, a young boy is captured by a local poacher.  The poacher has him held captive because he knows the whereabouts of a rare golden eagle.  An eagle that the poacher had trapped, but the boy had set free.  Word gets out to the Rescue Aid Society about the boy’s capture and they decide they must send their two top agents, Bernard and Bianca, to go rescue the boy in Australia.

Admittedly, I’m not much of a fan of the “direct to video sequel” era of Disney, but this one was pretty good! Being able to get Zsa Zsa Gabor and Bob Newhart back as the voices of Bianca and Bernard was vital to the success of the film. The addition of John Candy to the voice talent roster was also another brilliant decision and George C. Scott lends his voice to a fairly dislikable villain as the poacher.

For proof of how beautiful the cleanup and transfer to Blu-ray was, watch the bonus feature “the making of The Rescuers Down Under”. You’ll see lots of clips of the original film before it was restored.

Film Synopsis:
To commemorate the 35th anniversary of an original classic, Disney proudly presents a special 2-movie collection featuring all-time family favorites, “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers Down Under,” for the first time ever on Blu-ray! Join two of the world’s bravest mice – Bernard and Bianca – as they set out on two thrilling rescue missions full of comic adventure while soaring through the Devil’s Bayou and flying sky high in the Australian outback. Buckle up for the ride of your life as these tiny heroes with great big hearts outrun and outwit their rivals to save the day. Brimming with lovable characters and unforgettable music, the 2-movie collection is high-flying fun for the entire family! Share the laughs and excitement for the first time on Disney Blu-ray.

Talent/Cast:

Bob Newhart (“Elf”) as the voice of Bernard
Eva Gabor (“Green Acres”) as the voice of Miss Bianca
“The Rescuers” additional cast:
Joe Flynn (“The Love Bug”), Jim Jordon (“Chico and the Man”), Jeanette Nolan (“The Horse Whisperer”), Pat Buttram (“Who’s the Boss?”)
“The Rescuers Down Under” additional cast:
John Candy (“Uncle Buck”), Adam Ryen (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Wayne Robson (“The Incredible Hulk”) Tristan Rogers (“General Hospital”), George C. Scott (“Patton”)

Rated: G (both films)
Run Time:  78 minutes (both films)

Bonus Features:

  • “Peoplitis” deleted song
  • The Making of “Rescuers Down Under”
  • “Three Blind Mouseketeers” animated short
  • Water-Birds, A Walt Disney True Life Adventure documentary
  • “Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing-Along