Rescuers Down Under, 1990
watched March 25, 2012
As I mentioned, this is the only sequel in the entire canon. Walt Disney was adamantly against sequels, which is why there were none until after his death. I have to agree with Walt on this one; I have yet to see a great Disney sequel. There are many I refuse to watch, on principle.
This one isn't bad, though. Let's be honest here, the Australian setting automatically bumps up Rescuers Down Under's cool factor. Kind of like guys with Australian accents. I mean, hello, Hugh Jackman? Chris Hemsworth?
Anyway. I digress.
This sequel further develops the story arc of our two main characters. In the first film, we see these two seemingly opposite mice meet and work together for the first time. Here in Down Under, they are still very much the odd couple, and yet there is now also mutual trust and affection. Giving Bernard and Bianca a second film provides the implication that they've built a relationship over a period of time, which we don't see in any other romantic stories. It's refreshing, as well as super cute and endearing.
And of course, as in most romantic plots, a threat to the relationship gets thrown into the mix. In this case, that threat comes in the form of a charming kangaroo rat named Jake. He embodies the adventure and suaveness that Bernard most definitely does not. (Not insignificantly, he also has an adorable Australian accent. Ahem...) When Miss Bianca appears to be quite taken with the new guy, only the audience sees Bernard's unwavering affection, and his frustration that he can't find the right moment to express his real intentions.
The most heartwarming line in the movie comes during the climax. Jake and Miss Bianca are trapped and unable to protect Cody, the boy kidnapped by villain poacher McLeach. The golden eagle Marahute's precious eggs are also vulnerable. When Bianca assures Cody that Bernard will help, Jake thinks she's just bluffing to make Cody feel better. But then Bianca's true feelings are revealed:
"You don't know Bernard like I do. He'll never give up!"*Jake isn't a bad guy, but he is quick to assume that Bernard has nothing to offer. Bianca, on the other hand, sees that underneath his nervous exterior is a brave and determined mouse, reliable and trustworthy. That is the mouse she has grown to love.
In life we're often attracted to external qualities: charisma, good looks...Australian accents. But these are not the things which matter most. Bernard reminds us that the person who may not demand our attention is often the one whose character proves to be the deepest and richest. Bianca reminds us that one must be willing to spend some time in order to discover this treasure of a person.
So give that unassuming person in your life some time and energy. They may surprise you.
(*note: this quote may or may not be a paraphrase. I don't know this movie well enough to quote it word for word!)