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Not long after The Rescuers Down Under opened, its initial ad campaign — which focused on Jake, the Crocodile Dundeeinspired Australian kangaroo rat — was replaced by one featuring the Australian boy Cody astride the eagle Marahute in moonlit silhouette The new ad blatantly copied the memorable ad for The Little Mermaid that showed Ariel atop a rock in moonlit silhouette.

Thats a shame, because The Rescuers Down Under doesnt have that much in common with Mermaid — or, for that matter, with the earlier Rescuers film. Nor does it need to, really; this is a cartoon that's perfectly able to stand on its own.

The basic concept of taking the protagonists of 1977s The Rescuers (one of Disney's most successful features only in a financial sense) to Australia is not a particularly compelling one. Miss Bianca and Bemard are pleasant but shallow characters; voiced by Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart, theyre remnants of the Phil Harris era of Disney animation. This new story puts them in a quasi-Spielberg comedy-adventure; while it's a funny, exciting one, it rarely gets much deeper into its characters than such films tend to do (which isn't very far). The most interesting character relationship — between Cody (one of those earnest but rather bland little boys that Disney has animated frequently) and his eagle friend Marahute (superlatively expressive animation by Glen Keane) is fully explored in the first five minutes.

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