on 28 February 2003
This film has long been overshadowed by more recent animated features. OK, it doesn't have the catchy tunes or the flashy graphics of the Little Mermaid or the Lion King, but its still an entertaining movie for people of any age.
The film is set in Victorian London, where mice and rats have their own little society. The toymaker, Mr. Flaversham is kidnapped by a one legged bat, and his daughter, Olivia, sets off to seek the help of Basil of Baker Street, and his two wacky sidekicks.
The Great Mouse detective doesn't follow the usual big-spectacle Disney formula, having only 3 musical numbers, none of which are particularly lavish. The most memorable song is performed by the flamboyant villain (perfectly voiced by Vincent Price) and his goofy henchmen.
This film is nowhere near the top of Disney's achievements, but it's still a strong entry in their massive catalog, and it differs so much from the usual Disney style that it has a quaint sort of charm. All in all, I absolutely love this film, it's definately one of my favourites, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
on 2 August 2004
This was one of my favourite films as a child and still is today. In my opinion it is THE greatest Disney film and does not have the fame it deserves.
From beginning to end this is a delight to watch, mainly thanks to the wonderful Sherlock Holmes based characters and cunning twists in the plot. There is plenty to amuse both the child and the Holmes fan, from the narration of Dr Dawson, the loveableness of Toby, the evil schemes of the Napolean of Crime - Professor Ratigan , and of course the cunning disguises and eccentric genius of Basil himself, not to mention brief cameos from the human forms of Holmes and Watson. For the ardent Holmes fan there are a number of sneaky and less obvious references to the great human detective. The fun, adventure and suspense will please every child and adult alike.
The film was clearly made with lots of care and attention. The animation and characterisation is great and although Victorian England is dark there is enough Disney magic to warm even the hardest of hearts. It's only weakness as a Disney film is the scarceness of songs, although the nature of the film doesn't present many appropriate moments for songs.
The films is perfect for every age group, it is full of adventure, fun and laughter, and the occasional tear. I thoroughly recommend it to absolutely everyone.
When I was just seven years old I watched this at the pictures. I then got the story & tape, and the sticker album.
Now at the tender age of 27 I watched this again on DVD the other day and I enjoyed it. It is very different to many other Disney films. For a start it is set in Victorian London. It is one of the last Disney Films to have lavish painted backdrops rather than the more cartoony style we see today.
It is set in a sort of parallel world to ours, one of mice. Basil is approached by young Olivia and Dr. Dawson (the Watson to Basil's Holmes) in order to request his help to find her kidknapped dad. Once Basil learns that his arch-nemesis Ratigan is involved with his disappearance he is only too happy to help.
Sherlock Holmes fans will love the nods towards the Conan-Doyle legend - he infact appears in the film (Holmes that is, not Conan-Doyle!)
Barry Ingham is the perfect voice for Basil. He manages to pack in the eccentricity and that quintessential Englishness required for the role. Basil is one of my all-time favourite Disney characters. My absolute all time favourite though is Fidget - the peg-legged bat who happens to be Ratigan's henchman. His crazy jabbering speech always makes me chuckle.
Speaking of voices - Hollywood great Vincent Price voices Ratigan, an inspired choice. Instead of a rasping throaty growl, he has a more charming sophisticated way of speaking which makes him feel more menacing.
There are a few musical numbers in this film, but they aren't particularly great - nothing you'd expect to find on a Disney compilation CD. The plot is quite 2 dimensional, there's no real sub-plots or anything other than the main story.
This looks good but lacks the magic which should make this an absolute classic, the characters are enjoyable - particularly Basil, Ratigan, and of course Fidget.
DVD features are weak on this, there's an old cartoon - and I mean OLD (I think it's a 1930's one). It looks as though they bundled a few throwaway items just to make sure there were some features to list on the back. The old Making of is okay - but nothing special. Some really good features could have earned this another star from me.
I'm sure most people will enjoy this - it is a good film. But maybe not one you'll watch regularly.
1986's somewhat underappreciated Walt Disney adventure 'Basil The Great Mouse Detective', is like a 'Sherlock Holmes' movie for the young viewers. I confess, although I was a Disney kid myself, eager to get my hands on almost all the movies, and watching 'The Disney Channel' religiously, this caper was one which alluded me, despite always being aware of it's existence. I only managed to watch it quite recently, and it really charmed me.
Set in Victorian England, when Baker Street based detective rodent Basil (Barrie Ingham) investigates the kidnapping of a toy-maker, he uncovers a link to his ratty arch-enemy, the evil Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price).
Strangely gothic for a Disney flick, this is a highly enjoyable little film, which holds the honour of being the first animated movie to use computer animation (this was used in the clock scene). Complete with colourful animation, catchy songs, excellent voice acting, and a rather clever story, 'The Great Mouse Detective' is not quite an animated classic, but great fun for the entire family.
The DVD contains a 'making of' featurette, and two classic bonus cartoons to delight fans of classic Disney animation: 'Clock Cleaners' (1937), featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, and 'Donald's Crime' (1945), a cute parody of film noir, starring everyone's' favourite hot headed duck.
Among the selections of movies in the excellent Sherlock Holmes reference book `Sherlock Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History' by Alan Barnes is this 1986 Disney concoction that is equal part musical, comedy, thriller, suspense and children's movie. In fact, as Barnes points out, this feature has many more Holmesian elements than many live action movies that happen to have the character Sherlock Holmes among its cast list.
Indeed this clever animated movie owes a great deal to its literary roots and is based on Eve Titus' book `Basil of Baker Street.'
Living underneath the apartment of the famous Sherlock Holmes at 221 Baker Street is a mouse named Basil. Shaped primarily on the Rathbone interpretation of the character, Basil is the most famous detective in all of mousedom and is determined to track down his evil nemesis Prof. Ratigan (wonderfully played with obvious relish by Vincent Price).
Basil's chance comes when he is approached by the daughter of a kidnapped toymaker named Flaversham. Initially uninspired and uninterested in the girls search for her abducted father Basil becomes decidedly more interested when she reveals that one of those responsible is a bat with a peg leg.
The bat is a known as a henchman for Ratigan and soon Basil races off into another adventure to chase down the evil genius.
The animation in the movie is top notch, the songs lively and the humor - well funny, but where this movie falters a little is in pace. I would say it is just a little too long and slower paced than I expected. It's a very satisfying movie certainly, and a `must-own' for Sherlock Holmes fans (Basil Rathbone's voice is even heard in one scene), but there are moments where it seems to drag and other moments where you wish the characters would stop singing and just get on with developing the plot.
Great fun for the kids and people who are still a kid at heart/
on 18 February 2015
THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE [1986/2012] [Blu-ray + DVD] [US Release] Disney’s Greatest Little Mystery in History! Mystery in the Mist Edition!
For the first time ever on Blu-ray, you and your family can unlock the clues and go on a great big adventure with Disney's clever little hero. From the creators of ‘THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG’ and ‘THE LITTLE MERMAID’ comes the greatest little mystery in history in this 2-Disc Combo Pack.
When the diabolical Professor Ratigan [Vincent Price] kidnaps London's master toymaker, the brilliant master of disguise Basil of Baker Street [Barrie Ingham] and his trusted sidekick Dawson try to elude the ultimate trap and foil the perfect crime.
With perfect picture, perfect sound and 2 ways to watch, Disney Blu-ray proves big heroes come in small packages! Narrated by Val Bettin.
Voice Cast: Vincent Price, Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin (narrator), Susanne Pollatschek, Candy Candido, Diana Chesney, Eve Brenner, Alan Young, Basil Rathbone (archive sound), Laurie Main, Shani Wallis, Ellen Fitzhugh, Walker Edmiston, Wayne Allwine, Tony Anselmo, Melissa Manchester and Frank Welker (Toby the Dog / Felicia the Cat) (uncredited)
Directors: Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, John Musker and Ron Clements
Producer: Burny Mattinson
Screenplay: Bruce Morris, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, John Musker, Matthew O'Callaghan, Mel Shaw, Pete Young, Ron Clements, Steve Hulett, Vance Gerry and Eve Titus and Paul Galdone (based on Basil of Baker Street book)
Composer: Henry Mancini
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 74 minutes
Region: Blu-ray: All Regions and DVD: NTSC
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Many of the new releases of children's animated films, are so saturated with powdery sugar that one suspects just watching them will produce cavities. What a treat it is to see an animated feature that doesn't moralise or patronise young children, or drown them in bathos. With ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ the people Disney have gone back to the basics that have delighted children and their parents for half a century.
The story takes place in London in 1897. The star is Basil of Baker Street, a brilliant, arrogant and neurotic little Sherlock Holmes of a mouse who plays the violin and is determined, as much out of vanity as virtue, to defeat his evil archenemy, Ratigan. Ratigan uses his evil genius to try to conquer all mousedom. Dr. Dawson, a chubby somewhat blustery mouse aristocrat, recently employed on Her Majesty's Service in Afghanistan, becomes Watson to Basil's Sherlock and the two are engaged to help a poor little girl mouse get her father back. The father, a toy maker who is the film's working-class hero, has been kidnapped by Ratigan's peg-legged bat henchmen. The toy maker is forced to help with a nefarious plan to kill the mouse queen and put Ratigan in control.
Unlike many modern cartoons, this story does not take place in never-never land but in a real place, at a specific time. It makes reference to historical figures like Napoleon and literary ones like Sherlock Holmes, giving a much appreciated intellectual grounding. Instead of cheap magic tricks to solve all problems, Basil wins in the end by the force of his intelligence. ''Is there a chance to get her back?'' Dawson asks, disconsolate after the little mouse has been kidnapped by the bat. ''There's always a chance, doctor,'' says our hero, ''as long as I can think.''
Small children may be afraid of some of the bad characters, but the Disney Studio's gift for creating really nasty bad guys means that they are scary, but they will love the cute, brave mice and cheer their triumphs. Adults will enjoy the wit and style. This adult really appreciated Basil's straightforward approach. ''No one can have a higher opinion of you than I do,'' he says to Ratigan, the king of crime. ''And I think you are a slimy, despicable sewer rat.'' That's telling him!
Of course this isn’t always a good thing. While for the most part the animation is very fluid, especially the celebrated battle between Ratigan and Basil amidst the cogs and gears of Big Ben’s interior, because certain movements, such as when the dog Toby charges away from the camera towards the horizon, look awkward and jarring.
The animated film’s greatest strength comes through the bright, consistently entertaining vocal work; there isn’t really a weak link in the cast, with the possible exception of Susanne Pollatschek’s performance as Olivia. Barrie Ingham owns the role of Basil, evoking both the character’s intelligence, tenacity and egomania perfectly. As his trusted sidekick Dr. Dawson, Val Bettin (who would bring The Sultan to life six years later in ‘ALADDIN’), was perfectly cast as a character with a heart of gold who is mostly out of his depth. Of course, the film’s greatest performance comes from the late Vincent Price, whose Ratigan is the ultimate megalomaniac blowhard. Like all great villains Ratigan is immensely colourful, dominating the entire film and usually overshadowing the hero. It’s strange that Ratigan is never included when people talk about great Disney villains; he really is a memorable creation.
An entertaining albeit slight feature, ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ gives us an engaging caper plot with effective visuals and voice work. It’s an important entry in the Disney canon to return to for its historical status in the studio’s evolution. It stands as the film which corrected the company’s errors from the immediate past, and paved the way for the artistic explosion that was to come in the immediate future.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 'The Great Mouse Detective' gets a very decent quality restoration from Disney is a very solid 1080p encoded image, with a very nice 1.78:1 aspect ratio and will please fans with its relatively clean appearance. Colours are nice and bold though. Much bolder than I remember them being on the previous inferior DVD release. Colour fills are nice and solid, even with the heavy grain. There are a few colour fills that fluctuate in colour shades causing that part of the image to flicker just a tad. In my opinion, besides a few instances of noticeable scratches, it looks like the film had been nicely cleaned of any outside distractions and overall this Disney releases is a very solid presentation.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The Disney 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix certainly gives a very expanding and enjoyable listening experience, but doesn’t quite have the same effect as it did with 'Cinderella' or 'Snow White,' so giving 'The Great Mouse Detective' a decent audio mix that never has any really impressive moments of note. What you do get are lightly mixed rear channels that feature some ambient sound like when Basil and Dawson visit a crowded dive bar. A fight breaks out and you can hear some of the commotion playing in the surround channels. Dialogue is centred right up front and is clearly heard. I didn't notice any hissing or static on the mix. Everything sounded as clear as it possibly could. Overly loud sound effects were really the only aspect of this mix that I found a tad troublesome. They did drown out dialogue on a few rare occasions.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: So You Think You Can Sleuth? [480i] [1.33:1] [4:40] This is a mini-history of the detective in fact and fiction and then a brief mystery of the missing cookies caper for the viewer to solve.
Special Feature: Disney Songbook: The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind Sing-A-Long [480i] [1.33:1] [1:58] Here is provided with sing-along lyrics on the screen for viewers to sing along with Vincent Price as he extols the virtues of being the evil nasty Ratigan. Presented in full-frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio, this heavily truncated version of the song offers a chance to see what the film looked like pre-restoration and in pan-and-scan format.
Special Feature: The Making of The Great Mouse Detective [480i] [1.33:1] [7:52] We go behind-the-scenes with the making of the Walt Disney Animation and includes contributions from the likes of Roy E. Disney; Glen Keane [Supervising Animator]; Henry Mancini [Composer] and Phil Nibbelink [Animator]. We also get to meet the actors behind the voices of the characters in the animation film and they are Barrie Ingham [Basil]; Val Bettin [Dr. Dawson]; Vincent Price [Ratigan] and Melis Manchester [Bar Room Mouse].
Sneak Previews: Cinderella [Diamond Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD] [1080p] [1.77:1] [2:08]. Disney Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 [Blu-ray] [1080p] [1.77:1] [3:05]. Anti-Smoking Advert [1080p] [1.33:1] [3:05]. Disney Promotional Movie Rewards Advert [1080p] [1.77:1] [4:28] This section includes: Disney Parks Promo; Disney Secret of the Wings [Blu-ray + DVD]; Disney Cinderella II: Dreams Come True + Cinderella III: A Twist In Time [Blu-ray + DVD] and Disney PLANES [Blu-ray].
Finally, 'The Great Mouse Detective' will always be considered a second-tier Disney title to some critics, but I fell in love with this Disney Animation and now I love it even more now I have it on the ultimate Blu-ray edition and so in my opinion there is a lot to like about it. It's a much better prospect than say, the dismal and ghastly atrocious 'Home on the Range.' Plus again we get a very nice video transfer and totally solid audio, this one comes definitely top of my list. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom