The Great Mouse Detective is a wonderful Sherlock Holmes parody. I don’t any other show of its kind that could compete with the characters, music, plot, and humor. Add in the Disney magic it makes it even better.
The plot is surprisingly decent. A sweet little mouse named Olivia is getting a beautiful handmade birthday present from her father when a giant scary face appears and kidnaps her. It was a genius opening, for it shows the relationship between Olivia and her father, and I had no idea what the kidnapper was. He looked like a demon or some kind of monster, but I quickly discovered he was simply a comical bat named Fidget – who was scary for a short moment.
Olivia goes to find detective Basil, and once Basil realizes that the kidnapping was organized by his nemesis Ratigan he decides to help the girl. The plot is detailed and suspenseful. I was only able to figure out what Ratigan was doing right before he (almost) succeeded.
To top off a great plotline, the characters are remarkable. Olivia is a sweet and optimistic mouse, Basil is slightly obsessive about his detective career, and Ratigan is quite a villain. If one of Ratigan’s goons calls him a rat, he feeds them to his cat that for some reason does not eat Ratigan himself.
Basil’s temporary moment of defeat is probably one of the most emotional moments in the whole show, or perhaps in the entire history of Disney. My favorite character is Fidget the bat who is Ratigan’s henchman. He is no doubt a villain, yet his stupidity was hilarious and made me root for him anyway. He also has a really good voice actor (Candy Candido) who brought him to life.
Also, the movie is extremely funny. It isn’t the punch line or in-your-face kind of funny, it is the irony. The part where Basil takes over Ratigan’s robot and makes it start insulting him in front of everybody while it fell apart was rather funny, as was Ratigan’s detailed description of how Basil was going to die.
While Basil was trapped and about to die, Ratigan plays an upbeat so-claimed “specially recorded” song which makes the near-fatal scene quite ironic and hilarious. Like every Disney show before 2000, Great Mouse Detective is a musical, but it does have good music.
I enjoyed the song about Ratigan being the best villain ever, but I am not so sure about the song the performing mouse sang at the bar. The Goodbye song has to be my favorite because of the irony. The musical numbers increased the charm of the show, as if it needed an increase.
The animation is pretty basic, not the shiny Blu-ray quality seen in most movies, but there is no film grain on the other hand. The Big Ben fight was probably the most advanced it got. It was quite a complicated mix of 2D characters fighting amongst the 3D mechanism of the inside of Big Ben. The whole design of the film was changed for the short fight between Ratigan and Basil.
The view of the gears they were jumping on rotated like any other 3D movie while the poor animated mice tried their best to fit in. I wish the scene was longer, it was only a matter of time before the enraged mice got out of Big Ben and any 3D elements ceased to continue.
Overall, this is an overlooked gem. I can see why, as by the 1980s the market was full of mouse movies and it doesn’t exactly look like an interesting movie (I had my doubts about it), but it is great.
No Disney collection will be complete without it.
Visit the DVD database for more information.Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.