Sunday, May 30, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 26: The Great Mouse Detective

Series Intro: Series Intro: This is Part 26 of a multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They will mostly be in release date order, save for those that are not available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers skipped will note missing movies that will be out of order).

Some background information: (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official   Title: The Great Mouse Detective
Release: July 2, 1986 (Just under a year between releases… already seeing “Renaissance” time table)
Running   Time: 74 minutes 
Estimated  Cost: $14 million (half the price of Black Cauldron
Estimated  Revenue: $38.6 million
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Plot  Summary:
Professor Ratican wants to rule over great Britian and kidnaps a toy maker, Hiram; forces him to create a life-sized toy of the mouse queen.

In the mean time, Hiram’s daughter, Olivia, has met up with Dr. Dawson and the two travel to the mouse detective, Basil. Basil takes on the case and allows Olivia and Dr. Dawson to join.

They are lead to Ratican, via his lacky Fidget (a bat). During the final show down, Toby is thrown from a rodent sized blimp into a river. Ratican and Basil fight in Big Ben and after a harrowing escape, Basil knocks Ratican down and is presumed dead.

Olivia and her father are reunited and Dr. Dawson becomes Basil permanent assistant.

Songs:   
* "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind”
* "Let Me Be Good To You"
* "Goodbye So Soon"

It’s interesting that the only song in the movie that actually moves the plot along is a villain song (Greatest Criminal Mind)!


Plot Rating: 4 stars  out of 5

This movie truly melded the worlds of character driven plot and action driven plot. I cares a lot about the characters and there was a lot of action to keep the story moving.

However, the plot seemed tired. And I only believe Don Bluth is to blame. Don left Disney during the early production stages of Fox and Hound to form his own animation company. American Tail would be the Bluth film that was released the same year of Mouse Detective and has the villain in a similar situation at Ratican; in Mouse Ratican is a rat pretending to be a mouse in order to fit in, while in Tail Warren T. Rat is a cat pretending to be a rat! Now, I’m not saying Bluth stole from Disney or visa versa, but I think it’s more than a coincidence that two rival studios release rodent films just months apart from each other.

In the same vein though, I think Disney has had a lot of success with their rodent films. I loved Rescusers and was excited to see WDAS choose another mouse flick (remember it all started with a mouse!)

Animation Rating: 4 out of 5

The APT process was unnoticeable in this film, the animation harkened back to the heydays of WDAS. That being said, the use of computer-animated backgrounds was a bit more apparent in this film, particularly in Big Ben.

This movie truly marks the integration of computers into the world of animation (Cauldron used it, but seeing the WDAS seems to completely ignore this movie, Mouse Is given the credit.

The  Test of Time:

The movie has had some re-releases and I believe Basil occasionally makes appearances at WDW’s Epcot at the United Kingdom pavilion. I think Disney marketing could start branding Disney rodents in a similar way as they’ve done with Disney Princesses (or the failed Disney Hero line). Just like with Princesses, we’d have to ignore that the movies take place miles and years apart, but I’d love to see more mentioning of their animal films!

Through  the Modern Lens

Seems fine here.

Next  Up:
Oliver and Company







1 comment:

janice said...

During the final show down, Toby is thrown from a rodent sized blimp into a river.

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