Project Disney: The Rescuers
Our plan is to tackle all of the Disney films, re-reading the classic stories and tales that inspired many of them and to look at how the changes the filmmakers made, the new elements they introduced and the essential elements they kept. We will, of course, be talking about the films as movies as well, saying why we enjoy them and what some of our favorite moments are, but our focus will be on looking at them as adaptations. For the films that are not drawn from any one work we’ll be looking at some of the possible literary influences that we see in the stories. We are also including an audio discussion for each of the films we discuss! Here is a calendar of which films we are looking at and what dates we will be posting them, if you are planning to participate please message me so I can link up your post!
Title: The Rescuers
Synopsis: Two mice of the Rescue Aid Society search for a little girl kidnapped by unscrupulous treasure hunters. (From imdb.com)
The Adaptation: Unfortunately we weren’t able to get hold of Miss Bianca which apparently supplied the plot for this movie, so our comments are restricted to the first in the series. Disney’s movie only really takes the title and the relationship between the two leads from the first novel and even there some changes were made. Why didn’t they use the plot from the first book? Well, the story never really encourages you to feel anything for the prisoner and we never get much of a sense of who he is or why he was under lock and key. Later books in the series would use child prisoners and no doubt the directors felt that the audience would find it easier to care about someone their own age.
- The name and purpose of the society that Bernard and Bianca are working for is changed from the Prisoner Aid Society to the Rescue Aid Society and the mice involved all travel with their human United Nations counterparts.
- Miss Bianca is already involved in the work of the Rescue Aid Society at the start of the film, although she has never been on a mission, so Bernard doesn’t have to recruit her as he does in the novel.
- Miss Bianca’s background as a poet is cut from the story and she is a little less reckless than she proves to be in the novel.
- Bernard is heavily superstitious in the movie and seems to encounter the number thirteen at every turn.
- The film ends with the pair together while they go their separate ways at the end of the first novel.
I thought the book was a cute read filled with entertaining characters. I really liked the way Sharp developed a romance between Bernard and Miss Bianca and I loved that Bianca was shown to be quite brave and clever, even though she is a little naive about the everyday dangers most mice face. Unfortunately that aspect of her personality is downplayed a little in the film but I think the movie did capture both characters quite well and they were really quite cute together.
Unfortunately I don’t think the rest of the film is quite so well realized. The backgrounds and the music both felt really flat and the use of dull colors made the film look drab. This was definitely a case where I preferred the book to the movie!
This was another of the Disney films that I had on constantly when I was very little and I remember really loving the setting. When I returned to it in my late teens though I was shocked to notice all of the limitations I never saw as a child – how most of the Rescue Aid Society really never move, how some characters’ animations are looped to stretch out some sequences and how bland the backgrounds are (their shortcomings are even more apparent in high definition).
I still like the two main characters and think Newhart and Gabor made an appealing double act. I also like the concept at the heart of this movie and I think there are some fun sequences like Orville’s flight. Unfortunately I couldn’t get past the sense that the film looks cheap and a little drab. Still, the book was cute enough and I definitely understand why they decided to make a sequel to this movie!
One little tie-in project that we are working on as we watch all of the films again is that we have been making some ‘trading cards’ based on some of the most important characters from each movie. We assigned scores to each of them based on how dreamy, charming, intelligent, musical and stylish we think they are! We also came up with a silly ‘special skill’ that each one has. While we are only making these for our own use, I thought it might be fun to share them so you can see what we’ve been up to!