Review – The Secret of NIMH

November 2, 2007


I was in Target looking for something and ran across The Secret of NIMH on sale in a new 2 disc edition (widescreen and P&S). Grabbed a copy and ran to the cashier.
When this was first released, I though it was one of the coolest animated features I had ever seen. While I was driving home, I wondered if the movie would still be as good as I had remembered.


Well, yes and no. The plot in short – a mouse named Mrs. Brisby (voiced by Elizabeth Hartman) becomes a hero while keeping her family togther after the disappearance of her husband. Where this movie gets interesting is how the plot twists around from a typical Disney vein.
I’m slightly offended at this later viewing by the humanization of the animals (although this story at least has a valid rationale for their humanization, not like the typical Disney fare). Inviso text for the spoiler:
Mrs. Brisby and some of the characters of the film are escapees from what the film depicts as an artificial intelligence experiment at NIMH. Thus Mrs. Brisby can read, and the rats she eventually befriends can master important skills such a metallurgy, electrical wiring, simple machines and such. Cool concept eh? But that doesn’t explain why other creatures like Auntie Shrew are also wearing clothing – I don’t think that shrews are frequently used in experiments. And what’s with her husband being called Jonathan? Mice are going to seek out an English proper name?

This is easily one of the most science-fiction tinged animated films I’ve seen (Don Bluth, the director, was also involved with Titan AE) and was a major factor in me forgiving the humanization of the animals.


The new transfer makes the movie pop a little more (the last time I saw it was in a crappy VHS tape, and that copy was really dark, image-wise) and it’s always good to see a movie in widescreen (the old DVD only had a P&S version of the film). Good voice work all around, especially by Dom DeLuise as Jeremy the crow. Seek it out if you have the chance.

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