Nicholas Gazin (skeleteen) wrote in disney_films,
Nicholas Gazin

12) The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

The opening scene of the movie is a toy maker presenting his daughter with a wind up dancing doll for her birthdya and then being kidnapped by a horrifying bat with a peg leg. We hear the girl call out "Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?" and then the title of the movie fades in.

A war surgeon named Dr. Dawson finds the toy makers daughter while he's out looking for lodging. She is looking for Basil the mouse detective in order to help her find her father. They end up helping Basil do this and more. I don't wish to give away the plot.

This movie is based on a book called Basil of Baker street which is an homage to Sherlock Holmes. I loved reading the Sherlock Holmes stories when I was in middle school and this movie did not disappoint me. It captures a lot of the exhilerating moments of the Sherlock Holmes stories and the spirit of Watson and Holmes relationship although Dawson seems a little less streetsmart then Watson does and Basil is more spacey than Holmes. Vincent Price plays Ratigan, the villain who is supposed to be a stand in for Moriarty. There's a few points in the movie where Ratigan sings which are great since Vincent Price's voice is full of character. He claims that the role of Ratigan was his favorite.

The climactic battle is the very first instance of cell animated characters being placed in CG environment and it's super epic and even references the climactic battle in which Moriarty and Holmes killed each other in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories.

It seems that starting with Oliver & Company movie companies thought it would be a great idea to cast famous screen actors as the voices for their cartoons. Cameron Diaz was the most highly paid voice actor ever for her role in one of the atrocious Shrek movies and her voice is nothing special. Voice acting is not the same as acting as reading interviews with Billy West has explained to me. Fortunately there are only two actor voices in this movie and they are the wonderful Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone. The famous voice actor, Frank Welker, does voices in this movie. Welker is known fo being able to do any animal, real or fictional and make it happy or sad.

This movie is totally opposite to Oliver and Company in terms of the feeling that emanates from the screen. The environments are clean and inviting. We already know the characters in this movie, but because their archetypes and not stereotypes as in Oliver & Company. The movie moves forward at a good pace, has believable peril, good songs, an evil villain and a climactic finish.

8 of 10
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