Call For Comments: Rescue Rangers, Cameo Films, and Marketing Nostalgia

From Mav: You know what… the new Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers movie is absolutely fucking delightful. It seriously is. It’s really really good and you should watch it. Not only is it really good, it’s sort of surprisingly good because it didn’t actually HAVE to be. We’ve done a lot of shows about nostalgia in the past. We’ve talked about how the purpose of the nostalgia film isn’t so much to be a movie or narrative in the classic sense. Sometimes you’re just kind of giving people a trip down memory lane and story is unimportant; It’s all about the countless cameos to point at. I thought that’s what this was. It’s not! It’s a legitimate really good buddy cop detective movie… starring animated chipmunks and a bunch of cameos to point at.

In some ways, maybe this is an extension of the concepts we talked about on the multiverse show a couple weeks ago. One of the appeals of the multiverse films is IP recognition. No matter how good or bad the story was, one of the biggest things Spider-man: Now Way Home had going for it was seeing all the Spider-men (Spider-mans? Spiders-man? Man-Cluster?) stand together and then face all the villains from the other movies. And honestly, while it wasn’t MY personal problem with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, certainly one of the disappointments is that people were expecting a LOT more cameos out of it. They wanted to be able to point at stuff! Hell, I even acknowledged before the Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, one of the things I was really looking for was pointing at possible cameos. I was half-joking here, but I’m not convinced everyone was. That really was a lot of the appeal.

But it turns out, it really does take more than that. The reason I know is Space Jam: A New Legacy. I’m not 100% convinced that even meets all the criteria to count as a movie. It’s garbage. Complete and total garbage. Like I said, I didn’t like Dr. Strange 2 because I thought the story was dumb. It wasn’t dumb because of the lack of cameos. In fact the cameo portion was maybe my least favorite thing in the movie. I didn’t care about the story and no amount of cameos was going to fix that.

And that brings us back to Rescue Rangers. This was a good movie. First and foremost, before everything else, it was a good movie. The story was interesting! The characters were engaging! The acting was good! And… I got to point at stuff! I actually find that fascinating. Because on paper, it seems like this going to be exactly the same as Space Jam 2 … an algorithm spitting out cameos by IPs that the studio owns … basically begging for applause like a sad Jeb Bush. But it wasn’t. They took the assignment of utilizing IP and put together an interesting story. Not only did I like it better than Space Jam 2, I liked it better than Ready Player One… I liked it better than the FIRST Space Jam. Honestly, I think it’s the best pure cameo film since Roger Rabbit… and it might even be better than that. But I don’t know that you can tell that from commercials for the movie. I don’t know that you can even tell that it’s a “cameo movie”. It looks like a generic kids film that might be a little goofy with a couple adult jokes it in it. It’s so much more than that!

So I guess I want to do a few things this episode. First, I want to talk about Rescue Rangers. It’s on Disney+, so you should go watch it now! But also, I want to talk about the basic concept of marketing nostalgia and cameo movies. What are we really looking for in films like that? What makes one work or not. Why does this film succeed where something like Space Jam: A New Legacy and even Ready Player One fails? So watch the movie and then give us your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.