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When Timmy is taken away to Thorn Valley, he is treated like a slave. Then, after finding a girl mouse, a mouse who's parents are captured, they set off to find the great owl. Little do they know they will run into trouble in this family movie. Written by
This movie is a serious contender for the 'worst sequel ever' awards nomination category.
Let me elaborate on that...
I'll assume that when you read this review you are already familiar with Don Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH", which was a fine, dark and unusual animated movie that not at all conformed to the patented Disney cartoon mold which was lightweight, wholesome, pastel-colored nonsense with the characters spontaneously erupting in songs or other pace-annihilating planted plot permutations.
Instead, Bluth had the guts to try out his own formula, which was delightfully dark and mystic and devoid of pesky singing characters. The late Elizabeth Hartmann most excellently provided the voice for the humble and brave female protagonist rodent, Mrs. Brisby, and made the timid little mouse bigger than any animated character on the screen I had seen yet. NIMH was a good movie, even if Bluth made some liberal interpretations of the book on which it was based.
Jerry Goldsmith's rousing themes throughout the movie are a delightful bonus too. (the fact that the movie got trashed in the box office by E.T. was partly responsible for the advent of Bluth's most excellent animated laserdisc video arcade games coming into being.) Bluth never quite made another good dark movie after NIMH... The Disney Bug ate his brain, or something, because most of his subsequent films had pukey-cute designs and pesky critters singing (and even pesky marketable comic sidekicks.)
Now, NIMH 2 ...
1) Starts with a lame recap of the first movie; notably, Peter Strauss' voice for Justin has been dubbed over...
2) ... Is followed by the worst video-animated logo you can imagine. It's like a demented 3D Studio learner's first project. You can see the friggin PIXELS!!
3) Has god-awful backgrounds painted in naive primary colors
4) Has god-awful animation which was allegedly outsourced to a bunch of animation sweatshops in eastern europe. It shows.
5) Introduces a token female 'love interest' for the now-grown-up Timothy. She has BOOBS. She's a friggin MOUSE! How revolting... I thought this sort of crap was only made by sweaty fanboys.
6) Introduces a token comic sidekick, which is some kind of incredibly annoying, talking green bug with orange hair, a suit and bowler hat. How out of NIMH style is that, I ask you?
7) Has songs. And I don't mean incidental, or is that accidental stuff you can just crank the volume down at. (Many people didn't like that "Flying Dreams" song in the first movie either.) But noooo! The critters are all a-singing and a-dancing, and the songs are shrill and cacophonic and performed and orchestrated like high school theater plays. How unbearable! One of the songs even has a 'duet' performed with a video split-screen! Wheee!
8) Has the whole NIMH thing, which was a relatively sober and seemingly 'real' medical research lab, turn into Castle Frankenstein and brings one of the most perfectly stereotypical 'villains' into existence, complete with stiff mechanical (meniacal?) cackles and rolling demented eyes. This character looks like a left-over from a budget PC adventure game.
9) Is just stupid (pardon the regression)
10) Is a complete and utter waste of money, an insult to all thinking viewers, kids and grown-ups alike, an iron-studded MGM boot in the face to the artists who made the first movie possible, and the fans who liked it.
In closing, all I want to remark is that I hope MGM will release "The Secret of NIMH" in widescreen on DVD as they promised.
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