08 May 2007

Ink Blots LXIII - The Secret of NIMH

Don Bluth left the Disney corporation feeling that the company had lost its magic. His first feature film The Secret of NIMH proved to be his masterpiece, and an achievement he has yet to match. This 1982 film was adapted from the Newbery Medal winning book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, though the mouse's name was cahnged to "Brisby" for the film because of the flying toys. Sadly, in spite of its quality, this was another Bluth bomb earning under $15 million.

The story is simple. Mrs. Brisby needs help to move her cinder-block house out of the way of the tractors. She can't just move because of her sick little pinky Timmy. So, she enlists the help of some super smart Rats led by Nicodemus who were befriended by her late hubby. These rats were test subjects in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The "secret" being that the rats have psychic abilities and inexplicably they have also acquired magical artifacts.

What makes this film so great is its dark and mysterious atmosphere. Them rats are creepy as is an owl that Brisby meets up with early in the film. The animation is top notch. There are tons of mouse / rat movies out there, but this one stands apart as a true classic worthy of a rare A.

The Secret of NIMH (Family Fun Edition)


Shiro said...

I recommend reading the book that this movie is based on. As with most adaptations, it was much better. The book is much darker in tone, and no magical artifacts in sight; they are simply human-level intelligent rats... Excellent book. I liked the movie too, though...

j said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your grade, even though its been years since I saw the movie. We used to rent it a couple times a year from our local video store. Great movie.

I do also remember reading the book and thinking it was good, but its been a really long time, so I don't remember any details.

finky the kid said...

NIMH was a great movie. I remember actually being somewhat scared by a few parts of it (mostly just Nicodemus freaking me out and Mrs. "Brisby" getting attacked by "Brutus" just after entering the rosebush).

Another great pick, Chief. I should sit back and have an animation double feature with NIMH and Watership Down!