We arrive at the 29th film in the Disney Canon, “The Rescuers Down Under”. It’s the first animated sequel to a Disney film (“The Rescuers”), as well as the first sequel in the Canon itself. And in my opinion, it’s better than the original, but not vastly better! So let’s take a look into this film!
We are still in the period known as the Disney Renaissance, which as I mentioned in the last post, was a decade during which every animated Disney film released was a huge critical and commercial success except for one. This movie is that one!
Released in 1990, “The Rescuers Down Under” received positive reviews from critics (mainly from its superb animation and use of the CAPS system, I assume), but was not an overwhelming box office success that the other films during this era would be.
The film takes place in Australia where a young boy named Cody, helps free a giant Golden Eagle from a trap.
After that, he falls into a trap himself; one that was laid by Percival C. McLeach, the villain of our film voiced by George C. Scott!
McLeach is a poacher who’s on the lookout for the Golden Eagle. After hearing that Cody has seen the bird, McLeach kidnaps Cody in an effort to discover the Golden Eagle’s whereabouts.
A mouse witnesses the kidnapping and sends a cry for help to the Rescue Aid Society; a cry that passes through various RAS headquarters along the way until finally reaching New York, the main center of the RAS!
Our heroes, Bernard and Miss Bianca end up flying to Australia to save the boy and that’s the gist of the film!
Along the way we come across lovable characters such as an albatross named Wilbur voiced by John Candy,
an Australian kangaroo mouse named Jake,
and my favorite character of this film, a sadistic mouse doctor named “Doctor Mouse” who doesn’t know that he’s sadistic and uses all the latest medical instruments!
But the character of focus today is the Hawaiian operator! He runs the…umm…stereotypical, generic, army-related, technological…center for transmissions and communications…in Hawaii!
Ok, I don’t know where he works exactly; but the point is that his workplace is the Hawaiian headquarters of the RAS, although he’s oblivious to that fact! We first seem him going about doing his job of staring at computer monitors, when all of a sudden, the monitors seem to be plagued by an “RAS Virus”!
He desperately tries to fix this problem by repetitively pressing a key on his keyboard.
But, the Hawaiian RAS mice know that this is a secret message meant for them and that they must distract our Hawaiian operator friend somehow. So, they dial the phone number of the…center, which causes the diligent worker that our Hawaiian operator friend is to get up from his position and answer the phone.
While he’s away from the desk, the mice take over the computers, decode the message, and…further pass it onwards to New York!
Now, our human friend here is quite important, although he doesn’t utter a word! Had he not gone up from his spot to answer the phone and instead worked persistently on fixing his computers’ bug, the message would never have been decoded by the mice! This infers that the message would never have reached New York! This infers that the message would never have reached Bernard and Miss Bianca! And this infers that Cody would have died at the hands of McLeach, because everybody knows that when hostage situations arise; the only ones you should call are rodents from countries that are extremely far away from you!
Ok, a bit of a stretch! Anyway, the point of the matter is that our Hawaiian operator friend is minor, but quite important, although he doesn’t know it; hence his being awarded with the forgotten/minor character award for this film!
19 thoughts on “Disney Canon-Forgotten/Minor Characters #29: The Hawaiian Operator”
Oh wow! I totally forgot about that scene with the pink arrows and the map! Sends me back to childhood, and Jake is awesome btw. Great choice for a forgotten character.
Thank you! Never got into Jake too much, but I don’t hate him.
I literally haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid, so I’m not sure if I’d still like Jake today! I should I’ve it a re watch! And I’ll keep an eye out for the Hawaiian operator
Yes, please do! He’s probably awaiting some kind of fanbase!
Good one! I also forgot about it! Now I need to look at this movie again. It’s been ages since I’ve seen it.
It’s worth a re-watch!
I a thallus think that this film is worse than the first because the story is not really that tight, and the continuity is not that good. Nothing to say abor the character, but great post.
I a thallus?
I think this film is better than the original, but not MUCH better.
Nice of you to give some attention to McLeach. He’s definitely one of the most underrated Disney villains ever.
OK, I have a lot of things to say about RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, but unlike previously, I’ll be jotting these down in separate comments. (So, please don’t think of me as shearing a dead sheep…)
For my first note, I would just like to say that I think it’s absolutely criminal how the movie has gotten less attention than it really deserves. Maybe if that schmuck Katzenberg had given it a fair shake, it might have fared better…
I’ve never heard “shearing a dead sheep” before; I assume it’s like “beating a dead horse”?
Yeah, it’s a new variation on that phrase; I coined it myself…
RESCUERS DOWN UNDER Musing #2:
I happen to be a huge fan of the late John Denver, and whenever I listen to his song “The Eagle and the Hawk” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmMhlcnFmhY)- one of my favorites- I can’t help but think of Cody’s flight with Marahute. (If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Glen Keane was listening to the above song on repeat when he animated that scene…)
RESCUERS DOWN UNDER Musing #3:
To call Marahute a “golden eagle” isn’t entirely accurate (unless, of course, you’re just using that as a descriptor), because golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are not found in Australia.
On her blog post “Top 10 Fictional Birds Based on Real Birds” (http://willoughbyart.blogspot.com/2014/02/top-10-fictional-birds-based-on-real.html), wildlife illustrator and paleoartist Emily Willoughby has suggested that Marahute is actually a female Haast’s eagle, with color patterns based off of the Australian white-bellied sea eagle.
Great readding your blog post