Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Great Mouse Detective {1986}

{Animated Disney Film #26 of 54}

I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan for a few years now. I've only read a couple of the original stories (I own a bind-up of most of them and I'm always intending to read more!). But BBC's Sherlock is one of my favorite shows, and I've seen (and enjoyed) most of the Granada series from the 80s.

I knew that this movie was inspired by the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I didn't realize that it's basically just a kids' version! :) I was pleasantly surprised with this one.


All of the references to Sherlock made me smile. Basil (the mouse detective) is moody and distracted at times but exuberant at others, and he can never remember the little girl's last name (or he refuses to, which sounds like something that Sherlock would do). He plays the violin and is interested in chemistry. Of course, Dawson is Watson and Ratigan is Moriarty. There's another big parallel, but more on that later. And I love the fact that Sherlock Holmes lives in the house above Basil.

I have to say that I wasn't really expecting this movie to be a musical. There were only three songs, so it wasn't overwhelming, but at least two of those are big musical numbers. I did not like the "Let Me Be Good to You" scene at all. It's set in a tavern and the song starts out only mildly inappropriate, something that would likely go over children's heads. But then it got surprisingly suggestive! It felt really out of place in a children's movie and I was surprised that it was included.


I always mention the voice actors in Disney films...the ones here aren't particularly well-known, except for Vincent Price as Ratigan. I don't think I've actually seen any of his films, but I'm familiar with who he is. (Slightly random little note- there's a Dumbo "cameo" in the toy shop scene! That was fun. And there's a lizard in Ratigan's gang that is lifted directly from Alice in Wonderland, right down to the hat he's wearing.)

I absolutely loved the dramatic finale in the Big Ben clock tower. It was so tense and exciting and incredibly well done. Here's where another Sherlock reference comes in: the scene echoes Sherlock and Moriarty's showdown (and fall) in The Final Problem. The music was amazing in this scene and gave it even more of a dramatic, cinematic feel. I probably should have mentioned before that Henry Mancini wrote the music for this movie, so the score does sound a lot more like a live-action film than an animated one.


With the exception of the tavern scene, I really loved this movie! It was exciting and funny and I loved picking out all of the Sherlock references. As with The Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood, this movie is a good way to introduce kids to the idea of a story before they're old enough to read the original source. But that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed by adults, as well!

Next up on the list is Oliver & Company. We're inching closer to the 90s now, and I'm so excited! As someone who grew up during the "Disney renaissance," I'm probably going to start getting nostalgic and sappy over the films soon. :) Of course I love discovering new favorites, but there's nothing like reliving your favorite childhood films.

What do you think about The Great Mouse Detective? Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan?

14 comments:

  1. Oh, this is one of my favorites! Except for that weird tavern scene, of course...

    YES!! The 90s! woo-hoo! looking forward to those reviews. And as The Great Mouse Detective was my first introduction to Sherlock Holmes, I'm pretty sure that Oliver and Company was my first intro to Charles Dickens ;)

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    1. It was really good! I know, I'm so excited about the 90s movies.

      Okay, so you just blew my mind! I never realized that Oliver and Company was inspired by Oliver Twist!! Wow. Granted, I've never read the book or even seen a film adaptation, so it's not like I would be able to notice parallels, but wow. :)

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    2. haha. Well, once during high school I had to write this huge research paper BUT we were allowed to write it on any subject we wanted, so I chose my two favorite things: Disney and literature. So basically it was a fifteen-page essay on the literary origins of Disney movies. ;) I recommend looking up Oliver Twist on wikipedia just to get the basics on the story; even most of the names of the characters are the same! I love how Disney did that. :D

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    3. Sounds like an awesome research paper! :) I will have to read a Oliver Twist synopsis after I watch Oliver and Company again so I can compare them.

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  2. Ugh, The Great Mouse Detective was a scary movie for me, even almost ten years later. I didn't like the bag guy, the bat scene at the beginning, and just the whole feeling of darkness in the movie. Ooo, I'm getting shudders just thinking about it. I'm glad you liked it, though. :)

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry you didn't like it! I don't mind darkness in a children's movie, but I have a problem with depressing-ness, like in The Fox and the Hound. :)

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  3. The Great Mouse detective was one of my favorite Disney movie's as a child. It was also my first Intro to Sherlock Holmes, which I now love. Just like Oliver and Company was my first intro to Dickens. Can't wait to read your 90s Disney's Movie reviews.

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    1. Like I told Hayden above, I had never made the Oliver and Company/Oliver Twist connection. Mind blown. :)

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  4. Definitely one of my favorites! I love all of the Sherlock Holmes parallels. :)

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    1. It was really good! I loved all of the Sherlock references, too. :) It was fun to pick them out.

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  5. I watched this last year for the first time, and I loved it! I love how Sherlock-y it is. Dr. Dawson is my favorite!

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    1. It was such a fun movie! Dr. Dawson was very Watson-ish, and Watson is such a great character. :)

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  6. Oh, this is so nostalgic. This was one of my very favorite Disney movies growing up. It was also my first experience with Sherlock stuff. And, yes I agree, I've always thought the tavern scene strange.

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    1. It was so much fun! I think I would have loved this movie if I had grown up watching it. (I still loved it!)

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