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Western Animation / The Rescuers Down Under

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Spoilers for this movie will be marked as usual. However, due to its nature as the sequel to The Rescuers, that film's spoilers are unmarked here. You Have Been Warned!
An adventure above the ordinary... in the land down under!

The Rescuers Down Under is the 1990 sequel to Disney's 1977 film, The Rescuers. It is the 29th entry in the Disney Animated Canon and is also the first sequel to one of their previous films and would be the only sequel in that canonnote  until 2018, when Ralph Breaks the Internet came in. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor reprise their roles as Bernard and Miss Bianca, being the last performance for Gabor before her death in 1995.

Set in the Australian Outback, the Evil Poacher McLeach (George C. Scott) has kidnapped a young boy named Cody (Adam Ryen) in order to snare Marahute, an endangered eagle large enough to ride around on. Naturally, Bianca and Bernard must come to the rescue, with help from Orville's brother Wilbur (John Candy) and Jake (Tristan Rogers), the mouse equivalent to "Crocodile" Dundee. Down Under was also a pioneer in the use of CGI. Unlike the first film, which was a huge success, Down Under actually failed at the box office, making it the only true failure of the Disney Renaissance.

Disney was facing a future with computer animation rapidly changing the state of the art. They used the movie as a test bed of their new CAPS coloring system — instead of hand-painting cels, you could now use a computer program to color the animation. This saved a considerable amount of time and hand-drawn animation was now easier to integrate into CGI backgrounds and effects (and also allowed for extensive use of Cel Shading). In Down Under, the test run of this system had mostly decent, sometimes amazing (especially during Marahute's flight), and sometimes mixed results. They had mastered it brilliantly by the time of Beauty and the Beast, the following year.

Due to its relatively short 73-minute running time, the film was accompanied in its theatrical release by the animated featurette The Prince and the Pauper (appropriately enough, the final Disney short to use cels) based on the story by Mark Twain and starring Mickey Mouse and friends.

This film provide examples of:

  • The Ace: Jake, until he is trapped with Bianca and Marahute, unable to save Cody.
  • Achilles' Heel: Discussed by McLeach when he has Cody prisoner. Cody can tell McLeach where Marahute's nest is, ergo the poacher needs to find and hit the boy's weak spot to get him to give up the goods. The problem? Marahute ironically is Cody's weak-spot, which means threatening the Eagle will do absolutely no good. So, McLeach isn't quite sure how to play this one — at least Joanna unwittingly makes him realize he's misread Cody's weak spot this entire time: It isn't Marahute, but her eggs.
  • Actor Allusion: In addition to voicing the Rescue Aid Society leader, Bernard Fox also voices the doctor who tends to Wilbur's wounds, very similar to his famous role as Dr. Bombay on Bewitched.
  • Airplane Arms: Cody doing a Marahute impression.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Joanna the Goanna acts more like a pet dog than anything. She begs, she whimpers, she wags her tail, she crawls through doggy doors, and she watches McLeach's catches like a guard dog. She also is as sneaky - and smart about it - as any hound dog.
  • All There in the Script: The captive Kangaroo is a Red Kangaroo named Red.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Many animals are their correct colors, with Frank the frilled dragon and Joanna the goanna being the exceptions. They're very, very green, while real-life frillies are brown and most of the Australian goannas are brown or gray.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Even animals that can't talk, such as Joanna, still tend to understand speech and act with human or near-human intelligence.
  • Animation Bump: The thirteen years between movies helps out a lot, obviously. Most of the animals avoid the "dots for eyes" thing, and the Skin Tone Sclerae thing is avoided with the main characters. Down Under was also the first in movie history to render 2D animation with computers.
  • Anything but That!: Being killed and skinned is bad enough, but Frank really doesn't want to be made into a lady's purse.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Under no circumstances would a real eagle grow to the dimensions of Marahute, whose head is larger than most of Cody. Her wingspan could easily be estimated at well over thirty feet long in some shots (the biggest eagles would be a stretch to reach nine feet), which puts her on par with teratorns and giant pterosaurs. She's also very smart and way more friendly then a typical bird of prey (which would probably attack anyone that tried to touch them). The film does acknowledge this, as the rarity of an eagle being that size is the main reason McLeach is hunting her in the first place!
  • Aside Glance: During the 'eggs' scene, when Joanna tricks McLeach into giving her the box of eggs, he briefly looks straight at the camera with an expression that reeks of "Are you shitting me?!"
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Cody asks Frank the frilled lizard the following question:
    Cody: Hey! Where did you come from?
    Frank: Um... the desert?
  • Awesome Aussie: Jake, a hopping mouse and champion outdoorsman with whom Bernard battles for Bianca's affection..
  • Ax-Crazy: McLeach, who clearly enjoys being a violent murderous thug even beyond wanting to make himself rich.
    McLeach: [as he lowers a helpless child into a crocodile pit] Now, this is my idea of fun!
  • Bald of Evil: A variant; McLeach has notable male-pattern baldness.
  • Batman Gambit: In order to get Cody to lead him to the bird, McLeach lies to him and says the bird is shot, knowing he'll go take care of the eggs, thus leading him to the nest.
  • Big Bad: McLeach is the film's antagonist, who kidnaps Cody and seeks to capture and kill the eagle Marahute.
  • Big "NO!":
    • McLeach gives off one as he plummets to his doom down the waterfall.
    • So does Cody the moment he's accidentally swept off the cliff when he frees Marahute.
    • And when McLeach says to Cody that someone shot Marahute right out of the sky...
  • Blade Enthusiast: McLeach throws, flourishes, or menaces Cody with a variety of large, unpleasant skinning knives. Of course, as a professional poacher he's got to be skilled with such implements, but does he have to enjoy it so much?
  • Book Dumb: Percival "I didn't make it all the way through third grade for nuthin'!" McLeach is quite uneducated, but don't let that ever make you think he isn't cunning or insidiously clever—especially when you consider he probably built that "truck" of his. That's an impressive piece of engineering. Even more impressively, when he kidnaps Cody, he tosses his back pack to the crocodiles. This is later found by the Rangers while looking for the missing Cody, believing that the crocodiles had eaten him. McLeach waits until the search is called off to go out looking for the eagle again and emotionally manipulates Cody into leading him to the nest. And to top, now that Cody is useless to him, he plans to feed Cody to the same pool of crocs he tossed the back pack into, considering that if the body was to turn up, it would only confirm the initial reported death of Cody. Considering that his entire villainy in kidnapping Cody is done largely on the fly, he's one of the most intelligent members of Disney's Villains ever.
  • Bowdlerise: Some prints of the movie edit the knife throwing scene by replacing the shots where the knives come within inches of hitting Cody with cuts to Joanna in her bathtub, eating animal crackers... probably because the knives were too scary for children.
  • Butt-Monkey: Wilbur, from the moment he does his back in.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Bernard has a very hard time working up the nerve to propose to Bianca. Jake does not help.
  • Captain Crash: Either Orville taught Wilbur how to fly badly or they both inherited a clumsiness gene.
  • Character Development: Downplayed, but the RAS Chairman and his opinion of Bianca and Bernard. In the first movie, he was concerned about sending Bianca into danger, and had a low opinion of Bernard (for understandable reasons, as he was the RAS Janitor at the time). Between the success of the Devil's Bayou mission and their off-screen adventures in the interim, those concerns are long gone. It's clear from his first scene that the Chairman now considers Bernard and Bianca to be the RAS' flagship team and thinks very highly of them.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Jake tames a snake through intimidation to get the gang a lift through marshlands. Bernard pulls the same trick on a razorback boar to save the others.
  • Code Emergency: The Rescue Aid Society calls a Code Red emergency meeting to announce that Cody has been kidnapped.
  • Company Cross References: The dialog in the sequence where the Doctor orders the calibration of the syringes ("range 42!') with the nurses echoing him is identical to the dialog in Peter Pan when Captain Hook is aiming a cannon at Peter Pan and Wendy, with the orders repeated by Smee.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: It's obvious that Frank will get caught by Joanna after he grabs the keys, as the door flap that Joanna uses isn't painted with the background.
  • Continuity Nod: Orville's flight number is 13 in the first movie, where Bernard makes a big deal out of it. Even though the superstition never comes up in Down Under, when Wilbur is attempting to land, he identifies himself as Albatross One-Three.
  • Cool Car: McLeach's half-track.
  • Cowardly Lion: Bernard. He insists he's just a lowly janitor, he stutters and can be a nervous wreck, but if others are depending on him, he's unstoppable.
  • Cute Giant:
    • Marahute the giant eagle.
    • To mice, humans are giants, so naturally human children will qualify as cute giants from the perspective of the mice as well.
  • Darkest Hour: McLeach has captured Cody, Marahute, Jake, and Bianca. On the ride back to his hideout, he suddenly remembers that he's got a "loose end to tie up"; Cody. By nightfall, he arrives at Croc Falls, where he plans to lower Cody into the crocodile-infested waters to never be seen again using his half-track's crane attachmen. To make matters worse, the mice and Marahute are in no position to help him, only watching helplessly as McLeach dangles poor Cody above the hungry crocs, singing and laughing maniacally as they snap at him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Krebbs the koala, one of the many animals trapped in McLeach's hideout, seems to be one of these.
    Cody: Frank, you're free!
    Frank: I'm free? I'm free, I'm free, I'm free, I'm free!
    Kangaroo: Shhh... Joanna will hear.
    Krebbs: Double or nothing, he's caught in 5 minutes.
  • Demoted to Satellite Love Interest: Bianca becomes one (in the first film, she and Bernard are equally important in the story). Unlike the first film, Bernard is The Hero in this film, while Bianca's role revolves around her Unresolved Sexual Tension with Bernard and being in the middle of the Love Triangle with Bernard and Jake. Though she does get to help save the day along with Jake by helping to free Marahute so she can save Cody and Bernard when they are about to fall to their deaths.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cody mentions that his dad is "gone" and empathizes with the unborn eagles whose father was shot pre-movie.
  • Disney Villain Death: McLeach narrowly avoids being eaten by crocodiles only to fall off the edge of a waterfall. Though, considering everything he had put a truly colossal bird of prey through, he was probably lucky that gravity got him before Marahute did.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The film's score contains a very Indiana Jones-like heroic motif. One of the key moments it's heard is when the characters are rope-swinging under a moving truck.
    • The filmmakers were admittedly influenced by Hayao Miyazaki and as such, the film contains some very Miyazaki-like moments. Some have gone so far as to call this a "Disneyzaki" movie.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: The slogan for Albatross Air.
    Wilbur: "Albatross Air. A fair fare from here to there." Get it? A fair fare? It's a... a play on... never mind.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: When the mouse wife at the fancy restaurant hits her husband after she thinks he was trying to play footsie with her under the table, it's presented comedically.
  • The Dragon: Joanna, almost literally.
  • Dramatic Thunder:
    • After Cody is kidnapped and the mouse he freed earlier rushes off to send a call for help, a thunderstorm erupts.
    • Near the climax, when the scene cuts from Bernard riding the razorback boar to Crocodile Falls, there is a single thunder strike to indicate the movie has reached its Darkest Hour.
  • Evil Egg Eater: Joanna, Percival McLeach's pet monitor lizard, is obsessed with eggs, and wants nothing more than to eat the eggs of the giant eagle Marahute. She is also, notably, one of the only animals in the movie that doesn't speak, only communicating in hisses and snarls.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Apparently, feeding Cody to crocodiles is McLeach's idea of fun.
  • Evil Is Hammy: George C. Scott as McLeach.
  • Evil Poacher: McLeach.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: McLeach realizing Marahute's eggs are Cody's weakness.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Crocodile Falls turns out to be well-named.
  • The Faceless: Cody's mom's face was never shown in the movie. However, in all other productions based on Down Under, she was completely visible.
  • False Reassurance: The mouse doctor on the prospects of his patient: "Now now, my dear. Keep a stiff upper lip. They all come in with a whimper, and leave with a grin." Think about it a minute.
  • Faux Affably Evil: McLeach often acts in a way that is almost charming, but his true, brutish traits always shine through.
  • Fed to the Beast: McLeach tries to feed Cody to crocodiles in the film's climax.
  • Free-Range Children: Cody lives in a very sparsely inhabited area of Australia, and his mom doesn't have any problem with him running around. It's pretty viciously deconstructed when he walks into McLeach.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The opening scenes establish Cody as somebody who has many friends among the local animals and goes out of his way (and puts himself in danger) to rescue animals in trouble. At age eight (see Free-Range Children, above).
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Near the beginning, after Cody frees Majestic Eagle Marahute from a trap set by Mcleach, the eagle flies him around for a ride across the sky. During the event, Marahute catches Cody in her talons and tickles his tummy while in her grasp.
  • Gale-Force Sound: Wilbur's radio.
  • Gallows Humor: Krebbs the koala, convinced that escape is hopeless, indulges in some. It's implied he regularly teases Frank about being made into a "lovely lady's purse."
  • Giant Flyer: Marahute is the closest to the trope, but in one scene, Wilbur is dwarfed by a trio of massive pink stork-like birds.
  • Gilligan Cut: Bernard getting Wilbur to sit on Marahute's eggs.
    Wilbur: Oh, no. Wait a minute! Hold it! I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong! Don't even— No! Don't look at me like that! You getting "no" from me! You understand? No, I will not ever sit on those eggs! [cut to Wilbur now sitting on the eggs] Aww, nuts! Gotta learn to be more assertive. No is no is NO. [to the eggs] Hey! Quit movin' in there!
  • Glove Snap: "All right, ladies, snap to it! [snap] Oh! That smarts..."
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Upon learning of Cody's kidnapping, members of the Rescue Aid Society relay for help to their headquarters at the United Nations building in New York from Australia. The signal is sent first from a ramshackle broadcasting station in the outback, then from the jury-rigged wreck of a Mitsubishi Zero fighter in the Marshall Islands, then from there to a high-tech (for the time period, of course) US military listening post in Hawaii, which the RAS has apparently hacked into, and then (whilst we don't see the rest of the stations) it jumps from San Francisco to Denver to Chicago to D.C. before finally arriving in New York.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Seamstress: An example without falling: When Wilbur is coming in for a landing, Jake rigs up a bra as a drag line. Of course Wilbur ends up wearing the bra.
  • Green Aesop: Anti-poaching.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: McLeach apparently has a double-barrelled, pump action, side-by-side shotgun with a scope. And a foresight.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Cody, who tries his hardest to protect Marahute from McLeach.
  • Head in a Vise: Wilbur wakes up from sedation at the doctor mouse's office and mutters that he feels as though his head is in a vise. Then he looks up to see his head's really is in a vise. Presumably the doctor thought this was helpful to their practice, but he never explains how.
  • Heart Is Where the Home Is: While all three participants are from different nationalities, the trope is set up in a way that is meant to appeal to Americans. American mouse Bernard, who has finally had enough Character Development to be Hungarian Bianca's equal, faces the adventurous, Awesome Aussie Jake for her affections. Bianca, who has returned Bernard's feelings since the previous movie, is not swayed by Jake's charm and picks Bernard.
  • Help Mistaken for Attack: During the scene with Marahute the eagle trapped under rope, when Cody arrives to free her, and takes out a knife, Marahute seems to (temporarily) interpret this as an attempt to wound or kill her rather than to free her.
  • Hired by the Oppressor: Evil Poacher McLeach captures and kills wild animals, but uses a pet lizard to assist him in his actions.
  • Hooking the Keys: Cody and the other animals trapped by McLeach make a long hook to get the key. They successfully hook the key when McLeach's pet goanna Joanna bursts in and breaks the hook apart, then puts the key back in its peg.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: A flurry of these. Of course, it's likely Jake was making it all up to impress Bianca. Then again, it is Australia.
    Jake: So, which way you taking? Suicide Trail through Nightmare Canyon, or the shortcut at Satan's Ridge?
    Bernard: S-s-suicide Trail?
    Jake: Good choice! More snakes, less quicksand. And once you cross Bloodworm Creek you're scot-free, that is until... Dead Dingo Pass.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Frank the frill-necked lizard covers his ears and sings "Waltzing Matilda" when Krebbs the koala starts describing what the poacher is going to do to them. Then Frank uncovers his ears to see if Krebbs is done, only for Krebbs to just now finish his sentence, to Frank's horror.
    Krebbs: Frank will go as...
    Frank: I can't hear you! LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA! WALTZING MATILDA! [slightly uncovers his ears to see if Krebbs is done]
    Krebbs: ...a purse.
    Frank: AAAH! NO-HO-HO-HO-HO!
    Krebbs: A lovely ladies' purse!
  • Improvised Lockpick: Frank tries to pick the lock of his cage with his tail. It takes him a while but he succeeds.
  • Incorrect Animal Noise: Marahuté is an eagle, but has the typical falcon cry as its call. It's unlikely that such a different species would sound the same.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: The site of the aforementioned Disney Villain Death.
  • Infantilization Retaliation: When the eagle's eggs hatch, Wilbur gets the bright idea to try to scratch one of the baby chick's chin but it bites him since it doesn't know any better.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Wilbur bears quite a resemblance to John Candy in terms of facial features.
    • George C. Scott seems like the performance model of McLeach.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Bianca is rich, stylish, and every inch an upper class ambassador type. Bernard is a former janitor, and his best clothes have holes in the pockets that lead to him losing his wedding ring. For that matter Jake also probably doesn't have much money, but in his case he makes it come off as dashing and adventurous.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Aside from the mice and Cody, the film also has Cody feeling very attached to Marahute the eagle, though she can't speak to him the way all the other animals can.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Wilbur gets scared in the hospital, and calls for mother.
  • The Joy of First Flight: The whole sequence where Marahute takes Cody for a flight over the outback, and the boy clearly enjoys every moment of it.
  • Knife Outline: Done intentionally by McLeach when he's trying to intimidate Cody into revealing Marahute's whereabouts.
  • Laid-Back Koala: Krebbs the koala doesn't make a strong effort to escape his cage back at McLeach's hideout, though his laziness is partially fuelled by cynicism. It doesn't help that his fellow captives are relying on Frank to get the keys to their cages.
  • Land Down Under: Naturally.
  • Large Ham: Wilbur and Frank, albeit to a lesser extent than McLeach.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Downplayed, but it's clear during the RAS Emergency Meeting that in the interim since the first film and their off-screen adventures, Bernard and Bianca have become the RAS' flagship team.
  • Leitmotif: There are several.
    • Cody is given a whimsically-thrilling motif that plays during many of his scenes, most notably the famous flight scene with Marahute. This could also double as her theme.
    • The "Message Montage" motif plays during most of the daring and action-packed scenes of the film. At the end of said Montage, when the signal finally arrives at Rescue Aid Society HQ and they're called into the meeting, the RAS Anthem from the first film briefly plays.
    • Bernard and Bianca are given a gentle, old-fashioned melody that reflects the relationship that exists between the two mice.
    • McLeach himself doesn't necessarily get his own motif (unless one counts the eerie droning noise that plays in many of his scenes), but his highly-destructive half-track gets an aggressive, mechanistic rhythm that plays during it's presence.
      • On the subject of McLeach, an alerting snake-like string cue frequently accompanies Joanna.
    • Wilbur the albatross, like McLeach, doesn't get his own motif, but Wipeout-inspired guitar riffs by George Doering do play during certain moments involving him (such as his takeoff).
  • Literal-Minded: After capturing Marahute, Mc Leach realises he has a loose end (Cody) to tie up, guess what he does to Cody in order to feed him to crocodiles?
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": In this case, a Goanna named Joanna.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: McLeach's version of "Home On The Range" mentioned below. The melody is still cheerful, but the words... well, don't ask.
  • Mad Doctor: The unnamed mouse doctor that is assigned to cure Wilbur's back problems is clearly a few eggs short of a dozen. Who else but a Mad Doctor would load syringes in a double-barreled shotgun and use a chainsaw in surgery?
  • Map Stabbing: McLeach has Cody tied up in front of a large map and tries to intimidate him into revealing the location of the eagle Marahute by calling out locations and then throwing knives at them on the map, narrowly missing Cody.
  • Match Cut: Marahute returning Cody to the ground, after they visit her nest.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Orville is replaced by his brother Wilbur.
    • The name Cody comes from the Gaelic "Cuidigh", and means "helper" or "guardian".
    • The captive red kangaroo from Down Under named... Red.
    • Marahute's name is based on the Gaagudju Aboriginal name for the white-bellied sea eagle.
  • The Millstone: Joanna is one to McLeach, despite being a menacing threat to the other animals.
  • Misplaced Accent: Cody and McLeach are both supposed to be Australian born and raised, yet both possess American accents.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Downplayed. Some of the Australian animals featured are not found in the same parts of the continent; crocodiles are found in the northern regions, but there are also wombats, which are only found in the southeast and in Tasmania.
    • The most egregious example is Marahute herself — not only are golden eagles not found in Australia, they're found only in the Northern Hemisphere! However, her color pattern is not based on an actual golden eagle but a white-bellied sea eagle, which is an Australian species.
    • Justified with the razorback, as feral pigs are one of the many invasive species that were brought to Australia and are found pretty much everywhere on the continent.
    • A fairly obscure one: one of the birds on Jake's bird chart is a flowerpiercer, which is a South American species - it was probably confused with the similarly-named flowerpecker, which does live in Australia.
  • Morton's Fork: McLeach asks Joanna if she knew about the razorback that just ran out of his truck. At first she nods (implying she knew it was there and hadn't done anything about it) and then, when McLeach gets angrier, she shakes her head (implying she wasn't guarding the truck properly). She gets in trouble anyway.
  • Mouse World: Down Under is notable for the sheer number of ways the movie shows the mice interacting with humans and their technology, as they go about their business. They have hacked into intelligence listening posts for their own information relays, and even have a restaurant in the chandelier of the UN.
  • Mundane Utility: Though not fully shown, McLeach intends to use a blowtorch to cook his dinner during the "eggs" scene.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Bernard and Bianca can't get Wilbur's attention until Bernard turns off his stereo.
  • Musical Nod: When the delegates are summoned, a snippet of the Rescue Aid Society's theme (from the first film) features in the score.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: Jake is an Awesome Aussie hopping mouse who wears a khaki shirt and a slouch hat, uses a boomerang, and talks with an Australian accent. Krebbs the koala and some of the kangaroos have the accent too.
  • Near-Villain Victory: McLeach comes dangerously close to a total victory. Had Bernard not disabled his vehicle after having been stranded earlier, Cody would have been eaten by the crocodiles (thus confirming in the Rangers' mind that he died by misadventure), Marahute would remain McLeach's prize and the mice imprisoned.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: McLeach tries to feed Cody to the crocodiles.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Adam Ryen as Cody and George C. Scott as McLeach. Most of the animals in Down Under as well; only Jake, Krebs the Koala and a handful of kangaroos have noticeable Australian Accents.note 
  • Nothing Can Save Us Now: Jake to Bianca, during the climax. She's having none of it. Bernard is still out there.
  • Offscreen Airplane Pull-up: The climax provides a heroic catch from an Inevitable Waterfall. Marahute, a giant eagle, dives after a falling Cody, and both disappear into the mist before soaring out together.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Happens to Bernard and Bianca the first time he tries to propose. Bernard tries to propose to Bianca, but misplaces the ring. While he looks for it, Bianca receives word of the mission to Australia and is urgent to inform Bernard about it. The waiter volunteers that he'll tell Bernard about the case, but Bernard is too focused on his proposal to listen and he dismissively blows the waiter off. When Bernard returns to the table and tries to propose again, Bianca thinks he's talking about the mission and accepts. He is delighted, but is perplexed that she wants to do it now, and that she only needs to wear khaki shorts and hiking boots.
    Bianca: Bernard, did you talk to Francois?
    Bernard: Ah, yes, but uh.. there's... there's something I want—
    Bianca: I know exactly what you're going to say. Francois told me all about it.
    Bernard: He did? How, how... how did he-
    Bianca: Oh, it doesn't matter, I think it's a marvelous idea.
    Bernard: You do? I mean, you... you really want to?
    Bianca: I don't think it's a matter of wanting. It's a matter of duty.
    Bernard: D-duty? I... I never thought of it... well, umm... all right.... all right. How does-how does next ah-April sound to you?
    Bianca: Heavens, no! We must act immediately tonight!
    Bernard: Tonight? But, but, ah.. wait! [cuts to them walking down into the Rescue Aid Society headquarters] Uh, Bianca, this is so sudden! I mean, don't you at least need a gown or something?
    Bianca: No, just a pair of khaki shorts, and some hiking boots.
    Bernard: Hiking boots?!
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Usually only noticeable on a second viewing, but one of the R.A.S. members is named Frank, who is clearly not the frilled lizard we meet later on.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Cody's mother spends most of the movie believing this has happened to her, as McLeach throws Cody's backpack to the crocodiles to make it look as if he was eaten. One powerful scene shows Cody's house while his mother cries "Cody!" while another scene shows her being notified of his supposed death.
  • Parental Abandonment: Cody mentions to Marahute that his father is "gone." There are strong implications that he was another victim of the notoriously dangerous Australian Outback, but it could have been actual abandonment.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?:
    Mouse Doctor: Bring me the Epidermal Tissue Disruptor!
    [cue chainsaw]
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: Wilbur tries escaping from the hospital in which he was confined after hurting his back, with the Doctor Mouse and his nurses chasing after him, trying to bring him back to the operating room.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: When Cody is trapped by McLeach with some of the animals he's poached, Frank the frilled lizard manages to free himself and tries to get the keys to Cody. Unfortunately, Joanna arrives to stop him.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Jake manages an impressive feat of strength when he lassos a snake to get a ride, but he's got nothing on the male lead. Bernard not only wrestles a razorback to the ground by their tusks, but also manages to hurl a heavy set of keys all the way up to the back of McLeach's truck AND save a boy several times his size from going over a waterfall with a piece of rope almost as big around as he is.
  • P.O.V. Cam: We briefly experience Cody's euphoric point-of-view as Marahute holds him in her talons, looking down at the Outback that is at least a mile below his swinging feet.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Your spine needs tender! Loving! Care!"
  • Punny Name: Just like his brother Orville, there's Wilbur the air service birds. Also, Joanna the goanna. (Goanna being the local Australian name for monitor lizard.)
  • Put on a Bus: Orville, whose voice actor Jim Jordan passed away before he could record any lines. His flight service is taken over by his brother Wilbur.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: For a poacher, McLeach does not handle his rifle properly, the first instance of this being when he uses it (already loaded and cocked) to pull Cody out of the pit trap.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: McLeach figuring out how to get Cody to hand over the eagle.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Joanna and some wild crocodiles. Frank the frilled lizard is harmlessly insane, so he's an exception to the trope.
  • Romantic False Lead: Jake for Bianca.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: the Big Bad, McLeach, starts bragging about having "whooped" a bunch of crocodiles...only to turn around and see that they were really trying to avoid the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • Scavenged Punk: Much of the equipment in the film is built from human materials, but it's almost purely a background element.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Averted despite the Disney Villain Death; after leading Joanna to crash into McLeach and leave him tettering on the cliff edge, Bernard deliberately pushes him off into the river eventually leading to the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: As you can tell from its name, the second movie shifts the action to Australia.
  • Shark Pool: The waters near Croc Falls, which, appropriately enough, are infested with crocodiles!
  • Shoot the Rope: How McLeach tries to drop Cody in with the crocs when his truck shuts off. He doesn't find it as easy as it is in most movies, but he only missed once on the first shot.
  • Shout-Out: When Wilbur is about to escape from the hospital after hurting his back, he yells "You'll never take me alive!" which is a reference to the famous Australian bush ballad "Waltzing Matilda."
  • Shown Their Work: Despite Wilbur being the main focus on-screen for the final scene; the animators put the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross Constellation in the sky.
  • Single-Season Country: The majority of the movie is set in Australia, and naturally, during the summer. The movie correctly depicts it to be winter in New York City at the same time.
  • Soft Water: Averted when McLeach falls of a waterfall to his death.
  • Something We Forgot: The film ends with Wilbur as an unwilling babysitter to Marahute's newly-hatched chicks.
  • Spit Take: When Bianca tells Wilbur that she and Bernard must leave for Australia tonight, Wilbur spits and coughs out his drink, getting it all over Bernard.
  • Suddenly Shouting: McLeach, seeing Cody shaking the cage and demanding to be let go, tells him, "You need to be QUIET!! ...or the rangers might hear you." Naturally it's to demonstrate that they're in the middle of nowhere and there's no one to hear his screaming.
  • Suggested by...: The Rescuers Down Under characters created by Margery Sharp.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Wilbur is Orville's previously unknown brother as Jim Jordan, who voiced Orville, died before the second film was produced.
  • Sweeping the Table: Early on in the film, Jake the hopping mouse is playing checkers (the board is as big as a table to a mouse) when he gets a call from Wilbur the albatross, who is about to land on the runway. Jake hurriedly turns the checkerboard over, scattering the checkers in the process, to look at the bird identification guide on the other side. It confirms his suspicion that the runway is too short for Wilbur to safely use.
  • Television Is Trying to Kill Us: Stowing away in the wheel well of an airplane is something people do occasionally do. It is almost invariably fatal for them; between falling out as the plane starts moving, being crushed if you don't manage to get out of the wheel's way when it retracts, freezing to death at temperatures below -40 degrees once the plane reaches cruising altitude, asphyxiating in air too thin to breathe, or getting the bends from the extremely low air pressure, stowing away in a wheel well is one of the most suicidal things a person (or a mouse or a bird) can possibly do.
  • That Liar Lies:
    McLeach: It's over boy, your bird's dead. Someone shot her. Shot her right out of the sky! [makes a shooting gesture] BANG!
    [Joanna pretends to be shot and falls dead on Cody's lap]
    Cody: [backs away] NO!
    McLeach: What do you mean "no"? Calling me a liar?
  • Took a Level in Badass: Happens to Bernard the moment he decides to wrestle a razorback to the ground.
    • Can be applied to the Rescue Aid Society as a whole, compared to the first film. This is especially noticeable immediately after Cody is kidnapped. In the first Rescuers film, the R.A.S. is a cute, somewhat-ragtag band of mice that answer messages in bottles and are hesitant to send one of their agents into too much danger. By Down Under, they're a crack emergency response team with a sophisticated messaging system (piggybacked on human equipment) that can quickly relay information from the Australian outback to New York City, and convene at a moment's notice any time of day or night to get the job done.
  • Trapped the Wrong Target: Played with; Cody falls into a Pit Trap that McLeach made to capture animals. Naturally, the poacher is quite surprised to find out he captured a boy instead of an animal, and (unsuccessfully) tries to hide the fact he's a poacher by blaming his pet goanna Joanna for having dug the hole (and apparently planting a signal device in it in the process). Then McLeach realizes that Cody knows the location of the rare giant eagle Marahute, and concludes he caught something he wants after all. Thus, he reveals his true colors and kidnaps the boy.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy: McLeach realizes that nothing he tries will get Cody to tell him where the nest is, so instead he lets Cody go and lies that the eagle has been killed and, as Cody runs off, mentions the eagle's eggs to Joanna. Cody, of course, goes to check on the eggs and McLeach follows.
  • Underside Ride:
    • Bernard, Miss Bianca and Jake get under McLeach's truck to follow him when he goes after Cody.
    • Wilbur pulls off a variant when he taxis in an airplane wheel compartment.
  • Villain Song: McLeach sings his own short one to the tune of Home on the Range without musical accompaniment.
    McLeach: Home, home on the range, where the critters are tied up in chains! I cut through their sides, and I rip off their hides, and the next day I do it again! Everybody!
  • "Wanted!" Poster: There is one of these for McLeach in the forest. Its appearance to the viewer heralds a subdued scare chord and marks a shift in the movie's tone (Cody stumbles into a poacher's trap a few seconds later).
  • Water Is Dry: At the end of the movie, when Marahute flies away from Crocodile Falls with Cody, Bernard, Bianca and Jake on her back, both Cody and Bernard show no signs of being wet even though they had been in the water mere moments before.
  • Wham Line: "I've already got the father."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ironically, in this film we know what happened to the mice: it's a bunch of other creatures that drop off the movie's radar. What happened to the rest of the animals caged up in McLeach's hideout? They get plenty of screen time, names and personalities start getting established, and then... we never see them again.
    • Possibly intended and lampshaded example: No-one returned for Wilbur or Marahute's eggs, either. We also never get shown a different joyful reunion between parent and off-spring at the end: Cody and his mother. It doesn't help that the latter of whom likely still thinks Cody's dead.
    • The female kangaroo and other animals who first brought Cody to Marahute. After he frees her, they're never seen again.
  • With This Ring: The first time Bernard tries to propose, the ring falls out of his pocket and he has to go through some awkward moments to get it back.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Ahem. Marahute's Flight.
  • Would Hurt a Child: McLeach was going to lower Cody into a river full of crocodiles. And before that, he threatened him with knives as part of an interrogation.
  • Vocal Evolution: Eva Gabor's performance as Miss Bianca is notably quieter and slower compared to the previous film.


Video Example(s):


Cody flies on Marahute

After saving her from McLeach's trap, Marahute treats Cody to a flight throughout the Outback before taking him to her nest, the young boy loving every second of it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheJoyOfFirstFlight

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