“We can no longer live as rats; we know too much.”
When a widowed mouse named Mrs. Brisby (Elizabeth Hartman) enlists the help of some educated rats in moving her family to safe ground, she learns the secret of her husband’s death.
The Secret of NIMH — based on the Newbery Award-winning young adult novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien — is the result of a decision by animators Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and John Pomeroy to break away from Disney Studios and create their own independent studio. Their goal was to implement older, slower techniques — including airbrushed contact shadows and backlit animation — in hopes of evoking the “Golden age” of animation, and the visuals truly are gorgeous (see stills below). Unfortunately, however, the story itself — which deviates substantially from its source material — leaves much to be desired. I’ve seen the movie twice now, and each time have found my attention wandering about midway through; the narrative simply doesn’t sustain itself. Nonetheless, all film fanatics are sure to be curious about this historically important animation feature, and will want to watch it at least once.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Elizabeth Hartman as brave Mrs. Brisby
- Lovely animation
Yes, simply for its importance in animation history.