(Working on organizing it by similar aesthetic.)
The Secret of NIMH
Right before your eyes and beyond your wildest dreams.
A widowed field mouse must move her family -- including an ailing son -- to escape a farmer's plow. Aided by a crow and a pack of superintelligent, escaped lab rats, the brave mother struggles to transplant her home to firmer ground.
I rewatched this film to see if it would be suitable to show to my 4 year old daughter. And while the answer is a resounding 'no' I did rediscover this rare, beautiful and surprisingly moving animated marvel.
Don Bluth is a genius. He is one of the best animators ever and I'm glad he had enough of Disney, left there fighting and made this. There's a good chance this film would not have existed otherwise.
With Bluth's characteristic animation style, we are given the story of a mouse seeking help from a group of intelligent rats as her son is sick and she has to leave her house. Throw in a wise owl and a host of other talking…
Growing up there were two phrases that my mother would often say to me that I can remember as clear as day - "Why don't you go outside and play.." and "Don't sit so close to the TV, you'll ruin your eyes."
I enjoyed playing with toys, squishing mud between my toes and jumping off picnic tables while flapping my arms, in hopes to defy gravity for just a few seconds, but what I really loved was watching movies. In having three siblings, parents and a grandfather who lived with us, it was a special treat to walk into the living room and have it empty. I would hurry over to the stack of VHS hidden within a cabinet, often…
A webbed and gnarled translucent watercolor sword and sorcery pastoral, furious with movement and activated Newtonian Alchemies. One of the jewels of the Annus Mirabilis 1982, The Secret of NIMH plays out like a crazed post-Disney, post-Rankin/Bass brew of Altered States and the Planet of the Apes TV shows. In the shadow of human civilization, the United States Government has given rats the capacity to use magickal and non-magickal technologies apparently not extant in un-DARPA'ed rat theories of global operations. This is the birth of the end of humankind's assumed hegemonic grasp on this world. Also, John Carradine as the most hypnotically terrifying animated owl ever.
One of my earliest memories of watching a film in the theatre, The Secret Of NIMH holds up surprisingly well over thirty years later, and looks fantastic in high definition. There are moments when the film trips over itself trying to cater to the House Of Mouse crowd (Jeremy the crow I'm looking at you), but this tale of rats (which are way cooler than mice btw) attempting a simple feat of relocating when their habitat on a farm becomes threatened, is supremely intelligent and capable of inspiring wonder without treating children like, well, children. It demands that its audience meet it at its level, and at the same time throws a bone to adults to chew on regarding animal experimentation. It's one of Don Bluth's finest moments, and Nicodemus is such a badass rat he has stayed with me for the last three decades the same as if I had just seen him yesterday.
The maturest, and darkest, animated film aimed for children ever made. There are literally good guys dying in this. There is blood. Most of all, there is non-stop tension; in fact, the whole film consists of unnerving scenes that move the viewer to the edge of their seat more than most live-action films do. The Secret of NIMH tells a grownup story, with grownup themes and a grownup atmosphere, but in a way completely captivating for the younger public (I can know as I must have seen it over ten times as a kid), with fine animation and Mrs. Brisby as an ideal protagonist. Don Bluth should never be underestimated as a filmmaker, but it is this film, his directorial debut nota bene, that shows him at his finest. An animation that can be enjoyed by all age groups, and which in itself will never age.
Reviewing the Commentary #2:
The Secret of NIMH- provided by director/producer Don Bluth and producer Gary Goldman
Animation films on home video rarely feature commentaries (there's not too many on the Disney releases for some odd reason), so when I saw that my Blu-ray copy of one of my favorite (and one of the most underrated) animated films ever made had a featured commentary, I was excited to hear what the crew had to say about the movie.
And what surprised me most about was that it seemed like Bluth is an extreme perfectionist. Since the film was released on a minimal budget and was his directorial debut, throughout the commentary he seemed to feel down on himself whenever he…
This was a favorite as a pre-schooler. I haven't seen it in 20 years and it's amazing how the arthritic fingers of ancient rats are seared into my psyche. While later Don Bluth is good it never recaptures the almost Miyazaki-ish imagination and wonder of this movie.
Also Dom Deluise is the greatest voice actor of all time.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
"Courage of the heart is very rare."
A whimsical and heartfelt story that clearly inspired later Animal-centric animated films, 'The Secret of Nimh' is a beautifully crafted film containing an ethereal soundtrack and impressive voice cast (Derek Jacobi). Full of elements from fantasy to contemporary commentary on animal cruelty, Director Don Bluth showcases a film that will resonate with both children and adults. Not afraid to show the mortality of its characters, 'The Secret of Nimh' is among that collection of rather mature 80's animated films, despite the 'Redwall' atmosphere.
I wish I had seen this when I was a lot younger, and 'The Neverending Story' will definitely be next.
Why does Mrs. Johnathan Brisby not have a first name? Why am I soo endeared by Elizabeth Hartman performance as Mrs. Johnathan Brisby? Is this an Oedipus thing? Why is Jeremy in this movie? Why does every Don Bluth movie have really uneven animation, but incredible backgrounds?
This movie always made me feel uneasy when I watched it as a kid and I always thought the premise was really interesting.
‘The Secret of NIMH’ is a movie that explodes with atmosphere and world-building. Don Bluth’s directorial debut is nothing short of Oscar worthy (if only the best animated feature category had existed in 1982). You really don’t see animated movies like this anymore, movies that don’t shy away from showing how dangerous of an environment the characters are in - which leads to a much more satisfying ending.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
the owl deserved more screen time. nicademaus' death was #tragic.
Why does every evil animal have one injured eye? Also Nickadeamus is a stupid name.
Beautifully drawn and detailed
I remember this movie being pretty groundbreaking when it came out.
Overall, a good film. I do wish Disney did it however, and it had that magic awe they are able to bring to these films so easily. Overall I think the film lacks in world building, resonance and developed characters. I didn't feel or think anything really about this movie. I love it's dark atmosphere and complex plot, but, I wish the storytelling was better, which is Don Bluth's biggest weakness in my opinion that made his films overshadowed by Disney's best. Good film, but, it has potential to be great.
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