The Great Mouse Detective – Mystery in the Midst
Edition (1986/Disney DVD)
B- Sound: B- Extras: B- Film: B
Disney coming back into their own and hitting it big with blockbusters like The Little Mermaid or Aladdin or The Lion King it was making interesting films like The Great Mouse Detective. I would call The Great Mouse Detective a mid-level Disney film, as it is
memorable and fun, but not the studios best.
Originally premiering in 1986 as Disney’s 26th feature length
animated film it was met with general praise and good box office return. What The
Great Mouse Detective did do for Disney was beyond the film itself. While the animated features that were
released in the few years prior to Mouse
Detective were met with mild success, overall they left Disney in a state
of financial uncertainty; wondering how profitable animated features were. The
Great Mouse Detective netted a profit that would reinvigorate Disney in
both finances and confidence to green-light the making of The Little Mermaid. Giving
credit where credit is due, Disney later hired directors of Mouse Detective John Musker and Ron
Clements to direct both The Little
Mermaid and Aladdin (amongst
others). So while I do love The Great Mouse Detective as a film with
its on merits, I appreciate it even more for what it did for the studio.
based on the children’s book Basil of
Baker Street by Eve Titus, follows Basil the mouse detective (voiced by
Barry Ingham) as he takes on a case after a young Scottish mouse named Olivia
lands on his doorstep. Olivia’s
grandfather has just been captured by a peg legged bat named Fidget who works
for Professor Ratigan. Ratigan is
looking to rule all of England
by having Olivia’s grandfather (a toy maker by trade), create a clockwork
replica of the mouse queen. At first
Basil is reluctant, but persuaded by the idea of finally capturing the evil
Professor Ratigan (voiced by Vincent Price) Basil jumps into action. The film sets out on an adventurous journey
that mixes Sherlock Holmes’ sleuthing with Disney charm perfectly. It is fun, captivating and memorable for
I am surprised that this film does not come up more often. The characters are brilliantly done as they
propel the story forward with ease. The
animation is not recycled as had been done in previous feature films and
instead embodies its own brand of creativity.
The Great Mouse Detective is
certainly a forgotten Disney classic that deserves more credit. I would most definitely place this on my top
ten Disney list.
technical features of this release are not perfect as the film has not received
much restoration treatment. The picture
is a 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that has solid blacks, but the colors were not vivid
enough and there was a thin layer of grain throughout. The image was in no way blurred and for the
most part crisp, but it was obvious that this was not a Disney Platinum or
Diamond release. The sound is a Dolby
Digital 5.1 Surround Sound that is nice, but not as immersive as needed for the
film. The dialogue was crisp and clean,
but directionality was lacking and ambient noises were only mildly
emphasized. So in the end I hope to see
this film on Blu-ray with the treatment it deserves.
extras are either useless or recycled junk. Extras include a new “So you think you can
Sleuth” Game; The Making of The Great Mouse Detective; “The World’s Greatest
Criminal Mind” Sing-A-Log; Dylan & Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray is Suite!; Learn
How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the go.
The game is a waste of time and the ‘making of’ segment is recycled from
the last release as is the sing-a-long featurette. The last two extras are merely promoting
buying Blu-ray and Digital copies; in turn adding nothing to this release. I may be able to excuse bad extras, but not
transferring the great extras from the previous release like Mickey and Donald
cartoons or the concept are is simply ridiculous.
interesting note for this release, however, is that the original title card
reading The Great Mouse Detective was
reinstated; instead of using the 1992 title card of The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective as was used in previous
end, if you do not own the previous release of The Great Mouse Detective than now is the time to rediscover a classic. For those who have the previous release I
would say hold out for Blu-ray as this release adds little to the film, even
with the minor picture upgrades.
- Michael P. Dougherty II