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The Secret of NIMH
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The Secret of NIMH More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of my Favorite animated movies.

Author: The_Depressed_Star_Wars_fan from United States
8 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a great movie. The animation in this movie, although not as good as like Disney or Studio Ghibli animation, is still great to look at. It was done by Don Bluth who you might remember as the guy who did, The Land before Time, An American Tail, etc. But trust me when I say that this is Bluth's masterpiece. The voice acting in this film is actually very good, considering that it always seems that voice actors don't sound convincing. But here they do. The Story line to this movie is the best part. For a kids film it is actually kinda dark and interesting at times. Sure there are times when it gets childish but for the most part it's pretty interesting. So in the end THE SECRET OF NIHM is a great movie, so I say check it out.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A timeless masterpiece.

Author: Andrew from United States
26 March 2010

Animation is rare, it is much more difficult and expensive to make than live action. Good animation is even more rare, because, in the Western world (United States in particular) it is mostly aimed at very small children and, as a result, ends up pretty boring to watch.

While not specifically "adult", The Secret of N.I.M.H. is something of a rare treasure - something a grownup can watch without falling asleep (unless you have a severe hatred for the medium). I, for example, first saw it at the age of 20 (I wasn't babysitting by the way, but watched it alone). And boy, was I surprised! For many years I haven't seen a piece of animation that moved me. But this time it was different - I got that feeling a person gets from watching something like The Good The Bad & The Ugly and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I absolutely LOVED it. A month later I bought the DVD, that is a honorable part of my collection.

A lot has been said about the movie already, and you could easily find the plot synopsis at, so I won't get into the story here. Instead, I will try to clear the film from some accusations made at the time of its release:

The story was accused of being shallow and the film for having no central character. Well I'll be! Shallow is something I would say about The Princess and The Frog. It is hard to find a western animated feature with a story as complex as in The Secret of N.I.M.H. And, for us "grownups", complex = interesting. Yes, the film has many characters, but it is a good thing. No "Main Guy/Girl + Love Interest + Bad Guy + Comic Relief" formula here. While there is a comic relief AND a bad guy(somewhat), the film is very realistic. And the story never concentrates on Ms. Brisby (the main) too much. Everybody enjoys just enough screen time. Great.

Also, something worthy of mentioning - during the film's production, DIn Bluth wanted to raise the interest in animation in people again. He wanted it to appeal to older audiences. The original intension was to receive a PG rating (watch the film to see WHY). But, because it was ANIMATED, it automatically received a "G". Nowadays such things normally do not happen. Yes, the film IS more dark and complex than an average G-rated flick. It was of a bad film for children. But it was originally aimed at the age group of 12 and up. And it has the word "damn".

Oh yes, and Jerry Goldsmith and Steven Spielberg loved the movie. If THAT does not say anything to you, I don't know what will...

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A lovely and moving animated gem

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
15 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mild-mannered mouse Mrs. Brisby (wonderfully voiced with great warmth by Elizabeth Hartman) has to move her family from a field that's about to be ploughed, but can't make said move because her youngest son Timmy is sick with pneumonia. Ms. Brisby enlists the aid of a secret society of super-intelligent genetically enhanced escaped lab rats to move her home. Director Don Bluth and writers Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy tell this simple, yet absorbing and inspirational story of courage, friendship and devotion with tremendous clarity and sensitivity. Moreover, the main characters are extremely engaging, with Mrs. Brisby making for an endearing reluctant heroine who most overcome her innate timidity and discover remarkable reserves of inner strength. The uniformly excellent cast voice their colorful roles with admirable aplomb: Hermoine Baddeley as the feisty Auntie Shrew, Dom De Luise as the amiably bumbling Jeremy the Crow, Derek Jacobi as the sage rat leader Nicodemus, Peter Strauss as the dashing, gallant Justin, Paul Shenar as the evil, power mad Jenner, Arthur Malet as cranky old Mr. Ages, Will Wheaton as the blustery Justin, and, in an especially bravura turn, a perfectly sinister John Carradine as the wise, but fearsome the Great Owl. The exquisitely fluid and vivid animation has a striking painterly quality to it. Jerry Goldsmith's supremely graceful, robust and harmonic score further adds to the considerable drama and intrigue. The magical and uplifting conclusion is simply astounding. But ultimately it's the feeling of real heart that's evident throughout which makes this animated feature so special and touching.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

great animation and story

Author: leathaface from Washington DC
21 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember this movie from when I was very young and it was one of my favorites then. I was able to find the original VHS release at a video rental for a dollar. The animation is amazing, in my opinion pioneering the emotional, expressive style that Disney used a decade later. Ms. Frisby's character is a mouse, but her facial expressions are startlingly human. This isn't your standard Disney-animated children's movie fare either. Some scenes are surprisingly dramatic and graphic. The scene I remember the most is when Frisby enters the Great Owl's lair, only to be chased by the ugliest, most horrifying animated spider I've ever seen. Then seconds later, the spider is crushed to a pulp beneath the Great Owl's giant, razor sharp talon. The Owl used to give me nightmares. The storyline is somewhat original but the underlying theme seems to center around animal rights. When her mouse-child falls ill with pneumonia and she finds out she must move her house to avoid having it demolished by a plow two days later (man that's heavy stuff), Ms. Frisby seeks the help of a secret society of intelligent lab rats. The leader, a wise old rat named Nicodemus tells her of a group of rats who were captured and subjected to a number of tests, but most importantly injected with a formula to make them more intelligent. Ms. Frisby's husband led a revolt to break out of the lab, and ended up in a rose bush on a farmland plot, exactly where Ms. Frisby had spent her life. There is a subplot involving a power-mad dictator rat named Jenner who tries to assassinate the current leader. This is a truly awesome piece of animation. The character development is also done well, Dom Deluise is my favorite character, a hyperactive but dopey blackbird named Jeremy. If you like cartoons or any kind of artwork (the backgrounds are beautifully rendered) you'll appreciate this movie.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful movie ,for all the family .

Author: Rectangular_businessman from Peru
6 January 2007

I love this movie . It had a beautiful animation full of details ,combining it with a wonderful story full of mystery and thrills , and a great development of characters The story follows a group of mouses that try to survive ,and a little mouse that tries to save his ill son ,and for that she will have to face many dangers and discover some secrets .

The movie was very good , I liked the special attention to the scenery and to the characters .The voices are pretty good too ,and Derek Jacobi was perfect as Nicodemus .

Don Bluth is a very good filmmaker . Even if not all his works were so good as this ( think "Titan A.E. ") , he is very talented ,as Martin Rosen ,the brilliant director of the excellent "Watership Down "

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bluth's best: A masterpiece never to be forgotten.

Author: Weather_lord_7 from United States
26 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watch this film, and think to myself: Why hasn't this won at least some kind of important award (Emmy, Grammy)? This was a masterpiece in the making, and yet it is so underrated because the likes of Pixar and such. Almost all the characters are likable: courageous Mrs. Brisby, went through all kinds of trouble to help her sick son, that loudmouthed Ms. Shrew, and ol' Jeremy, the comedic relief of this dark, dramatic film. It also surprises me that this movie got rated G with all the blood and themes here (not to mention the use of the word "Damn"), but then again, so did Watership Down (which got a U rating in the UK). So, in conclusion, this movie gets two thumbs up.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sheer Brilliance!

Author: darthcraftus from United States
25 September 2006

This is probably the best animated movie I've ever seen. And I've seen both "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King" and I think they are both masterpieces! This film just took my breath away. The animation, acting, and story are all top notch! "Nimh" is on of those rare animated films that does't insult your intelligence. On the contrary, it sort of makes you think.And all the actors give an award-winning performance; they make the characters so full of life and emotion that they almost seem real. It delights the eyes and sooths the soul.But be warned: though this move is rated G, there quite a few scenes that are somewhat scary and/or violent. Go and rent "The Secret of NIMH." You will not be disappointed.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

SECRET OF NIMH : Don Bluth's Most Worthy Venture, A Beautifully Dark Piece...

Author: cwrdlylyn from United States
21 March 2006


The one and only film Don Bluth managed to really hit out of the park after leaving Disney is his first attempt at a full length feature... THE SECRET OF NIMH. Based on the classic story "Mrs. Frisby & The Rats Of Nimh", Bluth's film definitely simplifies some of the heavier elements of the classic children's novel, but compared to some other children's films of the time he does leave a good deal of meat on the bones.

It's the story of a simple field mouse, Mrs. Brisby, who must move from the fields before the farmer plows away her home. However, her young son Timmy is gravely ill and the move would surely kill him. She must muster courage she didn't know she had and unearth secrets she didn't know existed... and in the process she not only tries to save her son, but the lives of the mysterious rats who live in the farmer's rose bush.

THE SECRET OF NIMH was one of the first large-scale animated films to really find success outside of the "Disney" institution and it did so by both embracing Disney's top qualities and differentiating itself all the same.

NIMH features top grade animation, but instead of the usual bright-cheeriness of Disney, all the imagery has a dark shadowy feel. NIMH is not a bright, always happy story and this film embraces that. All the brightness radiates from the leading character of Mrs. Brisby (voiced by Academy Award nominated actress Elizabeth Hartman, in a wonderful voice over performance).

Mrs. Brisby is an innocent women with little strength, but her loyalty and love for her children, her dead husband, her friends, and her comrades is so overwhelming that it leads her to do great things. She does all with an almost ignorant optimism that makes her a truly lovable and admirable central character.

While the film embraces the "cuteness" of talking animals, funny sidekicks (Dom DeLuise makes a good comic foil as Brisby's loyal Crow friend), and sappy songs... it goes further with the serious side of things then Disney often does. The villain is pure evil, the violence and terror is very strong, and we see Rats and Mice getting murdered and destroyed (blood and all). However, it is this boldness that makes the film stand so distinctly apart from many of Disney's efforts.

THE SECRET OF NIMH is gripping, emotionally involving, and fun for the whole family... and it maintains a delightfully quick pace to ensure that it never drags. All in all, it's a wonderful animated movie that parents can fully enjoy with their children and not completely sacrifice drama, thrills, tension and overall emotional gravitas.

It's a shame that in Don Bluth's later efforts (THUMBELINA, ANASTASIA, ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN) he seemed to try less in terms of differentiating himself from Disney and instead he continually conformed to their formula. In the process, he made no films that came close to living up to the potential he showed with the marvelous SECRET OF NIMH.

... A- ...

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This is a film which understands the meaning of animation

Author: pipsorcille from San Francisco, CA
18 February 2003

"Don's first feature is lovingly animated but the differences from the book annoyed me. First of all there's the name change - Frisby to Brisby. Why? Secondly there's Jenner. Tiger & the Tractor & The Humans were threats enough in the book. Jenner was only mentioned. Thirdly there's the magic. The mice & rats managed perfectly well without it. It was an unnecessary embellishment. My other complaint is that the NIMH scenes are passed over too quickly.

So what's good about it? Jeremy, Martin & The Shrew are the best characters. I like Flying Dreams. The animation is good. Not bad for an initial film but he has made better since. 6/10"

I find it amazing that someone goes and criticizes a glorious film such as "Secret of NIMH" for inaccuracies such as "Frisby being changed to Brisby" and that "Jenner was only hinted" which would have been better not changed for a supposedly better adaptation of a book. I don't suppose these people realize it is DIFFICULT to adapt a film from a book. Books aren't written to be cinematically and you must realize that even if you're a huge fan of the book. If you ere making a film off of it, you'd still have to make changes. It's just the way it goes. Peter Jackson was an incredible lover of the Lord of the Rings trilogy but even he realized that making a by-the-numbers adaptation would just make the films dull. So he had to leave out or change a few things.

So what if filmmakers change a few things? This isn't a true story nor is it based on anything immediately important in today's world such as terrorism. Fiction is fiction is fiction. People have GOOD reasons for changing things.

Anyway, I'd like to add that there's a lot of garbage cartoon features in today's society. Disney films have just gotten WORSE and WORSE and WORSE and very few people seem to realize that animated features these days try too hard to win children's emotions or even gear themselves to being appealing. All these horrible, annoying songs we have to witness in Disney films are absolutely forgettable and in addition, people seem to look at animation as a different genre. It isn't! It's another technique of making film. It just requires the hand more than actually filming live-action. Few filmmakers and studios seem to realize this besides those in the independent world.

"Secret of NIMH" has INCREDIBLE colors. The detail you see in the foreground and background puts a lot of variety. This isn't some computer generated Pixar film. These are REAL, hand-drawn, full-blood images with more labor and energy than even an entire computer can lay out. Plus the animation is FLAWLESS. Here you see emotions being drawn out as if they're real emotions on a human being or creature. Every cartoon feature or TV episode has its drawbacks as far as keeping the drawings consistent with the plot, action, and even being quite simply realistic. I didn't notice those problems in this film.

I must also add that while "Secret of NIMH" might not be 100% faithful to the book, as a cinematic experience it's wonderful. As I've said before, here we have a film which takes the story seriously and doesn't turn it into an overly sentimental, manipulative Disney film. A lot of characters in this film are actually well-realized. Most of them are not flat. We realize their reason for existed in this film and even Jenner, the villain of this story, is three-dimensional as a character. His sole purpose for having greed and wanting to take over as the leader of the rats is because of Nicodemus trying to say that the rat race has become very intelligent and would cause a problem if more and more grew and went beyond the rose bush. In fact, the "Nimh" story is the most fascinating element. There's actually a reason behind why the rats talk, which is much different than any film ever made in history. All these other animated films put non-human characters in the narrative and have them talk but there's never a backstory as to why they speak. "Secret of NIMH" puts a backstory and by doing that, the result is fresh and unique.

Mrs. Brisby as a character is very intelligent and well developed. In a lesser film, she'd have less to do or say. Here we see Mrs. Brisby as a character who is in fact a great woman role model, even as a mouse. I'm especially touched in the conversations Brisby has with crow, Jeremy (wonderfully voiced by Dom DeLuise) in how Jeremy could find the right girl. Even this isn't played out as a cheesy joke. This even explains why Jeremy, although clumsy, isn't a stupid sidekick. He has feelings and wants to help a lot but ends up getting into trouble.

Plus the end fight scene with Justin and Jenner is exciting, even for an animated film. It's illustrated in a triumphant musical score by Jerry Goldsmith.

By the way, in my book this film deserves a 10/10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Some of the best animation ever for an exciting kid's story.

Author: pksky1 from Northern California
8 December 2002

Before animation went digital, animation still got a lot of respect. This is one of the best examples of what you could do before "Tron" came along. The story was originally a kid's novel and it is a slightly strange story about a field mouse and her quest to save her children from a farmer's plow. Her journey leads her to her own past and a relationship with a colony of super intelligent rats. The characters have a nice natural feel -- more then usual for a children's talking animal movie. Adults will probably like this one too. May be too intense for some children.

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