Five years ago, we wrote about how Disney was developing a live-action/CG animation hybrid version of a Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers movie, based on the chipmunk pals who solve crimes with a few other pals like Gadget, Zipper, and Monterey Jack. Progress has been slow, but now the movie has a rather unexpected director.
Akiva Schaffer, the Lonely Island member and director of films like Hot Rod, The Watch, and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, has been hired to direct the movie, which is taking an unusual approach in its story.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers ran for three seasons as an animated series on The Disney Channel in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and became a staple for ’90s kids while airing in syndication. It put a new spin on Disney chipmunks Chip and Dale, reimagining them as the leaders of a detective agency who faced off against animal villains like the evil Fat Cat. Here’s the theme song, which I inexplicably still have memorized all these years later:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Rescue Rangers film “will not be an origin story nor detective agency story. Rather, the take is being described as being meta, something self-referential and cool.” What all of that exactly means is still the subject of speculation, but Schaffer’s oddball sense of humor indicates that this could be a much different type of film than, say, Alvin and the Chipmunks (or its squeakuels). THR says Barry Schwarts wrote the script; that’s either an up-and-coming writer without an IMDb page, or a misspelling on their part.
In addition to his film credits and work pioneering the Digital Shorts for Saturday Night Live, Schaffer recently directed a couple of episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and co-directed every episode of the brilliantly ludicrous Netflix comedy series I Think You Should Leave. I can’t imagine him devoting time to this project only for it to turn out to be a boring, middle-of-the-road Disney flick. (Commercial director Robert Rugan was attached to helm this back in 2014, but his name isn’t mentioned in this new report.)
THR notes that they aren’t sure about the release plans for the Rescue Rangers movie, pointing out that it could end up getting a theatrical release but could also just as easily debut on Disney+, the studio’s upcoming streaming service. While we wait to hear more, I’ll be pondering what a “meta, self-referential and cool” Rescue Rangers film might look like (and whether descriptions like that will ever not sound like they’re ripped straight out of 30 Rock).
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