BLOGS

Beyond <i>Winnie the Pooh</i>: Other Classic Disney Characters That Deserve a Comeback

It's been six years since Winnie the Pooh and his fellow fluff-stuffed residents of the Hundred Acre Wood's last feature film outing, Pooh's Heffalump Movie. That may seem like a fair amount of time, but there are other classic Disney characters that have been exiled from movie theaters for much longer. Consider this the start of a campaign to get them back on the big screen where they belong.

Chip 'n' Dale
Frequently pitted against Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse's trusty dog Pluto, these mischievous woodland critters wrecked all kinds of havoc in roughly twenty short cartoons produced between the early '40s to the mid-'50s. Personality-wise, they essentially formed a chipmunk Odd Couple -- Chip was the man with the plan, while his red-nosed, buck-teethed sidekick Dale had a knack for doing the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time. After spending most of their careers as supporting players, the duo scored their own '80s TV series (as well as two great 8-bit NES games based on the show that we're not ashamed to admit we played on a regular basis) called Rescue Rangers, but have only popped up occasionally since. Considering the inexplicable popularity of the Alvin and the Chipmunks features, now seems like a prime time for the Mouse House to get their own 'munks back in theaters. Just please -- try to avoid giving them CGI makeovers if you can.

Bernard and Miss Bianca
These days, it's hard to imagine any major Hollywood outfit greenlighting a film about a pair of globetrotting rodents that track down and rescue kidnapped children. That's one of the reasons why the '70s were such a creatively fertile time -- studios were willing to try just about anything. Although the first film was a hit at the time of its 1977 release, today The Rescuers is one of Disney's least-remembered franchises, perhaps because the sequel, 1990's enjoyable The Rescuers Down Under, fell short at the box office. Bernard and Miss Bianca deserve another mission, perhaps one that sends them to a contemporary hot spot like the Middle East or Wisconsin. Of course, since the voice of Miss Bianca, Eva Gabor, has since passed on (fortunately, the still-alive-and-kicking Bob Newhart would be able to reprise his role as Bernard) they'd have to re-cast the role. May we suggest Helen Mirren?

Scrooge McDuck
Specifically we want to see this miserly, bespectacled water fowl reunite with his great-nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie for another big-screen Duck Tales adventure after the so-so 1990 feature Treasure of the Lost Lamp. That was basically a glorified TV-movie. If Disney pumped some actual money into it and handed it off to the right director (like, say, Brad Bird, although he seems to have graduated to live action features now) it could be a terrific, treasure-hunting romp.

Taran
The Black Cauldron, from 1985, is legendary in Disney lore for almost single-handedly destroying the company that Walt built. But the movie's awful reputation isn't entirely deserved. While significantly flawed, there are some very striking scenes and memorable characters tucked away in there. Plus, the source material -- Lloyd Alexander's five-volume Chronicles of Prydian fantasy series -- is excellent. Assuming they still own the rights, Disney could remake the film from the ground up and have their very own Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones franchise on their hands. And at least time they'll have a clear example of what not to do.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Before Mickey Mouse, there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Created in 1927 by Disney and Ub Irweks, Oswald starred in a number of shorts released by Universal. When the studio demanded budget cuts, Disney decided to strike out on his own and dreamed up the character that would become his fledgling company's mascot. Meanwhile, Oswald continued to appear in shorts up until the '40s, before vanishing from view. The Disney company reacquired the rights to the character in 2006 and recently awarded him a key role in last year's Wii game, Epic Mickey. Could that be a gateway to a possible big-screen team-up uniting two of Walt's earliest creations?

Basil of Baker Street
Forget Robert Downey Jr. -- our favorite contemporary cinematic Sherlock is the star of 1986's The Great Mouse Detective. Based on a series of kids' books by Eve Titus, the movie found Basil going up against his nemesis Dr. Ratigan (voiced by the dearly departed Vincent Price) to rescue the kidnapped father of an adorable little girl mouse. Boasting a terrific climactic set-piece that unfolds inside of Big Ben, Detective can easily stand alongside The Little Mermaid as one of Disney's best '80s productions. And that movie got two sequels (granted, both of which went direct-to-DVD) so where's the love for Basil?

Robin Hood
We can't be the only folks whose first exposure to the legend of Robin Hood was via Disney's 1973 version, featuring a cheerful fox as the famed Sherwood Forest bandit. Since there are dozens of Robin Hood stories (all of which are in the public domain) that could be used as fodder for further filmic adventures, it seems like a no-brainer to bring the character back, especially since audiences haven't exactly swooned for live-action Robins like Kevin Costner or Russell Crowe. Clearly it's because those guys didn't walk through Sherwood belting out "Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly what a day."

Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck
Though the long-suffering girlfriends of Mickey and Donald respectively have stood by their men in a variety of shorts and TV shows, they've never really gotten their own starring vehicle. (Unless you count the long-forgotten 1988 TV special Totally Minnie, which we don't.) Time to join the 21st century, Disney! Give these gals their own movie where they move to the big city and try leading the single life for a change. Maybe that'll make their self-involved exes appreciate them more.

It's Tubey time! Make sure that your favorite shows, actors, reality stars and characters get the recognition they deserve by voting in our annual Tubey awards. It's where fans have total control over what rates as the best and worst of the past year in a variety of categories. Vote now!

Comments

SHARE THE SNARK

X

Get the most of your experience.
Share the Snark!

See content relevant to you based on what your friends are reading and watching.

Share your activity with your friends to Facebook's News Feed, Timeline and Ticker.

Stay in Control: Delete any item from your activity that you choose not to share.

MOST RECENT POSTS

BLOG ARCHIVES

Movies Without Pity

March 2014

16 ENTRIES

February 2014

22 ENTRIES

January 2014

21 ENTRIES

December 2013

25 ENTRIES

November 2013

21 ENTRIES

October 2013

26 ENTRIES

September 2013

16 ENTRIES

August 2013

22 ENTRIES

July 2013

22 ENTRIES

June 2013

21 ENTRIES

May 2013

22 ENTRIES

April 2013

19 ENTRIES

March 2013

28 ENTRIES

February 2013

16 ENTRIES

January 2013

16 ENTRIES

December 2012

21 ENTRIES

November 2012

19 ENTRIES

October 2012

20 ENTRIES

September 2012

19 ENTRIES

August 2012

19 ENTRIES

July 2012

17 ENTRIES

June 2012

24 ENTRIES

May 2012

21 ENTRIES

April 2012

22 ENTRIES

March 2012

26 ENTRIES

February 2012

25 ENTRIES

January 2012

25 ENTRIES

The Latest Activity On TwOP