The Rescuers (1977)

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Released 21-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Water Birds: A Walt Disney True Life Adventure Featurette
Featurette-Three Blind Mousketeers
Karaoke-Someone's Waiting For You
Featurette-Under The Hat Villains
Gallery-The Rescuers Scrapbook
Game-The Ultimate Case
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 74:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:34) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Lounsbery
Wolfgang Reitherman
Art Stevens
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Bob Newhart
Eva Gabor
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Artie Butler
Carol Connors
Sammy Fain


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hebrew Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Greek Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Part of what Walt Disney is calling their 'Classics Collection', The Rescuers was released in 1977. The animation style is the simpler style that was used 'back then'. Not that this is a bad thing - the animation style has a certain feel to it which I associate with the type of story and the times in which it was written. Also, it is still from the masters of animation and the characters are wonderful. The only anachronism is the extensive use of firearms with the bad guys out to shoot the good guys in no uncertain terms.

    The disc itself had me wondering for a little while - there are some special features on the disc and I expected the usual making of, or something similar. Imagine my surprise when the big extra was one of those fascinating and entertaining (but totally unrelated) wildlife documentaries that Disney used to do. Alongside this is an extra cartoon and a sing-along rendition of one of the songs from the movie and a simple game. I sat there wondering just what the relationship was between the wildlife documentary and the movie, and then it dawned on me. I can remember spending Sunday afternoons watching a variety of offerings from Disney and part of the mix of cartoons, live action films and other material were these documentaries. I actually think this is a great idea - my son is at the right age for many of the Disney films but he has no interest at all in "making of" documentaries and so on.

    This actually makes this disc better value when placed in the correct context. My son will get far more enjoyment out of these special features than the normal offering.

    The story revolves around a little girl that has been kidnapped from an orphanage as part of a plan by an evil woman to retrieve the world's largest diamond. The diamond is rumoured to be underground in a pirate's cave. The entrance to the cave is so small that only a young girl can get in. The young girl manages to send a note for help out in a bottle. The note ends up in the hands of the Rescue Aid Society, a group that was founded by the mouse that removed the thorn from the lion's paw. Everyone in the group is a mouse and one mouse in particular, voiced by none other than Eva Gabor, volunteers to undertake the rescue of the girl. She chooses as her partner in this endeavour the janitor mouse that is sweeping out the headquarters of the Rescue Aid Society. Helped by a number of other animals, they track the girl to the swamp where she is being held and plan their daring rescue.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Even allowing for the age of this film, the master and the transfer do have some problems.

    Presented at 1.66:1 and 16x9 enhanced, the IMDB shows the original aspect ratio of this feature as 1.75:1.

    Sharpness is somewhat affected by grain but not to a great extent. Black levels and shadow detail are both good. A lot of the scenes are at night or indoors and overall the contrast is down a little. There is a fair amount of low level noise present.

    The colours do have some noise in them and are also slightly subdued.

    These are problems with the MPEG encoding, the result of a slightly low bit rate and the amount of grain present. If you look at the scene at 28:37 you will see the grain and the resultant pixelization. In the same scene there is also some posterization present. The transfer is free of aliasing and also totally free of any interlacing, which is a very nice thing to have missing on a disc with animation. There are film artefacts throughout with grain, dirt, flecks and scratches present.

    There are both English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles available on this disc. Both are easy to read and accurate to what is being said.

    This is a dual layered disc with the layer change at 65:34. It appears to have just been placed where it fell and it is bit distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This DVD features Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in English and Spanish along with Portuguese, Hebrew, Greek and English Descriptive (for the visually impaired) soundtracks presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.

  There are no problems with the dialogue quality or the audio sync.

    The music is the usual appropriate Disney fare, with some rather nice songs wound into the story. A Disney film would not be complete without these and they add to the overall experience.

    While this is a 5.1 soundtrack, there was little else other than the music in the surrounds.

    The subwoofer was slightly used in a couple of scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu consists of a nice picture from the movie with a small amount of animation overlaid on top. It is presented at 1.79:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The audio consists of the sounds of the swamp that features in the film, with frogs and so forth underscoring the menu.

Featurette: Water birds, A Disney true life adventure (29:26)

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, this featurette is actually wonderful. It is a wildlife documentary with a rather unintentionally funny voice-over. They have searched out footage of water birds doing some very funny things, and then added some great music to complete the package. The music and its perfect timing and integration with the on-screen action is probably the best part of this featurette. Unfortunately, the film master was not in great condition with a large amount of grain, scratches and flecks visible. It does improve somewhat on the second reel, just after the reel change mark appears.

Cartoon: Three Blind Mouseketeers (8:24)

    This cartoon is from 1936 and is in simply astounding condition - the film master is near perfect. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, it is a musical cartoon about three blind mouseketeers and their battle with a nasty cat. It is interesting to note those scenes where one character stops moving while something else happens. They did not use trace back to give the stationary character some movement and life so they become very still indeed.

Sing Along: Someone Is Waiting For You (2:21)

    This is a scene from the film presented at 1.33:1 with the words from the song appearing along the bottom. The words change colour in time with the music to indicate what you are meant to be singing. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

 

    If you select the teddy bear in the bottom right of the screen on the bonus menu you are taken to a second bonus features menu with the following options:

Featurette: Under The Hat Villains (1:30)

    A very quick introduction to the importance of villains in the world of cartoons, presented by a rather annoying teenager. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Picture Gallery: Scrapbook

    Presented as a scrap book with 15 pages and 3 or 4 images per page. You can select each image and see a larger version. The pictures included range from concept drawings to pictures taken during the production of the cartoon. There are 49 pictures in total.

Game: The Ultimate Case

    There are a number of items across the screen and four pictures in the upper part of the screen. The objects need to be found in the pictures in a particular order. You first select a picture and it expands to near full screen. Then, there are number of objects in the picture that can be navigated With the mouse, you need to select the correct one. There is a voice-over that will give you hints if you get into trouble.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There does not appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc.

Summary

    Overall I think The Rescuers is a great movie even with the transfer problems. My 3.5 year old son sat riveted throughout the entire movie. The extras make an unusual but interesting inclusion and supply even more entertainment for the kiddies. Remember that this cartoon was made in the days before they included some adult content to keep the parents happy so if you are not into kids animation then you might want to leave the room.

    The video is a bit of a problem.

    The audio is perfectly functional.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Monday, October 28, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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