Disney+ has teamed up with the award-winning visual effects team behind The Lion King and The Jungle Book, Moving Picture Company (MPC) to deliver its latest feature Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, which sees the nostalgic 80s’ cartoon franchise return to the big screen.
Directed by Akiva Schaffer, the story follows Chip and Dale, two beloved detective personas as they rehash their adventures after succumbing to a life of routine and domesticity. Voiced by John Mulaney and Andy Samberg respectively, Chip and Dale reunite with the rest of the group, save their friend, and rebuild the two’s friendship.
Unlike previous iterations of the iconic trio, Rescue Rangers features a combination of film styles, treating viewers to live-action actors, interacting with 2D cartoon characters, photo-real 3D animals, and even claymation models, mixing several media styles that reflect the history of filmmaking and the history of Chip ‘n Dale from the 1980s to present day.
MPC’s production VFX supervisor Steven Preeg, VFX supervisor Axel Bonami, producers Ben Harrison and Siobhan Bentley, and animation supervisor Omar Morsy led MPC’s global team of VFX artists to deliver over 1,450 shots for the film. This included the creation of Chip and Dale themselves, as well as over 100 2D hand-drawn characters, 60 3D animated characters, and 30 full computer-generated, designed, and lit sets.
In addition, MPC’s visualization team, led by Patrick Smith and Leandre Legrange, delivered the previz, techviz, postviz, as well as concept art for over 50 characters, and hundreds of variations, for the movie. “Our protagonists were our first explorations – Chip was 2D and Dale was 3D, which we made as a proof of concept. Akiva wanted to explore all the possibilities, so he was very involved in the design process from the beginning. A huge creative focus of the film was mixing media like clay, 2D, different eras of animation styles, and 3D, all into the same world, which was an exciting challenge,” said art director Leandre Lagrange.
Axel Bonami shared, “The whole project was a jet-packed mission. MPC was entrusted to make sure there’s a seamless blend of all the different worlds. Our primary challenge on the film was orchestrating a massive team of creative artists located around the world, with one common goal: to create a seamlessly natural digital world that blends live-action photography with over one hundred digital characters and multiple fully CG environments. For every single CG character, every performance is keyframe animated, including character design. Each character required detailed skeletal builds and muscle systems and most importantly, had to be able to provide a convincing performance and maintain the comedy of the film’s narrative.”
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is now airing on Disney+ and here’s the official synopsis: A comeback 30 years in the making, “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” catches up with the former Disney Afternoon television stars in modern-day Los Angeles. A hybrid live-action/CG animated action-comedy. The film stars John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live) as Chip, Andy Samberg (Palm Springs) as Dale and KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Eric Bana (Dirty John), Flula Borg (Pitch Perfect 2), Dennis Haysbert (24), Keegan-Michael Key (Schmigadoon!), Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons), Tim Robinson (I Think You Should Leave), Seth Rogen (Pam and Tommy), J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos). The film is directed by Akiva Schaffer (Saturday Night Live), written by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and is produced by Todd Lieberman (Wonder) and David Hoberman (Beauty and the Beast), with Alexander Young (Extinction) and Tom Peitzman serving as executive producers.