(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…
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.
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…
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…
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.
The Secret of NIMH was on my mom's NOPE! list. She didn't call it her NOPE! list, but it was an auto-NO along with anything else super dark, super creepy, super magicy. Despite that, The Secret of NIMH was a beloved film that my sisters and I grew up adoring.
Even now that I'm a 30-something guy, The Secret of NIMH is still worthy of adoration. The lush animation is hyper detailed and about as dark as anything you'll find sitting on the kid's shelf at Blockbuster.
It, uh... it "recalls" characters that feel directly inspired by some classic Disney titles: Robin Hood (1973), The Rescuers (1977), and The Great Mouse Detective (1986, which, the astute reader will recognize as…
I could go ahead and go in depth about what I love and don't like about this movie (like I did in the first version of this I wrote), but I'd rather say this is my all-time favorite movie. The animation, music, story, the characters... Especially the lead character, who is one of my favorite movie characters ever. I love this movie. Absolutely. With no doubt.
You can't be a fan of animation and not love this movie. Charming characters, beautiful animation and a unique story make this an instant classic.
film #4 of isa's movie challenge
task #10: an animated film made before the '00s
this is such a quiet and calmly paced movie, but it's also got that creepy quality most don bluth films have. that's partly why i like them; it isn't even just the dark imagery and colour palettes, there's something about their style, particularly in the way characters move and the choices of voice actors, that set them apart from all other animated films.
The Sercret of NIMH logra ser una entretenida película, pero sobretodo es muy inteligente, siempre yendo un paso después de ti, es decir, antes que empieces a cuestionar que el mundo es innecesariamente complejo, te das cuenta que el mundo es simplemente el nuestro, antes que digas que digas que los niños empiezan a ser molestosos, ocurre una escena que de hecho, los desarrolla, y así sucesivamente.
Eso sí, lo que se lleva toda la película es el personaje principal, la Señora Brisby, doblada espectacularmente por Elizabeth Hartman, da ejemplo de como un personaje femenino fuerte debe ser, mostrando matices en su forma de actuar, sus debilidades y su fuerza, creo que quedara siempre conmigo.
Si puedo criticarle algo a…
Don' Bluth's first feature film after leaving the Disney fold is still his best. Robert C O'Brien's wonderful book is beautifully realized here, combining humor, warmth and suspense in a way that will delight kids and adults alike (though it does get fairly dark in places, some parts are probably too intense for very young children). Great voice work by a talented cast (Hermione Baddeley, John Carradine, Dom DeLuise, Elizabeth Hartman and Derek Jacobi), some nice music and some really striking cel animation.
Well done Kid's film.
Doubt I'll ever watch it again. But, glad I did.
The Secret of NIMH has its problems including the troubling lack of emotion in it and too many characters with most of them being not that memorable, but the story is so fantastic and intriguing, the score is superb, the approach is refreshingly darker and more mature, there are some truly powerful and atmospheric sequences here and the animation is exceptional and one of the best of the time. It isn't great, but it is certainly a very good, very authentic animated film.
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