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"The Great Mouse Detective" : "Mystery in the Mist Edition"
Wayne Klein
Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Release Date:
Special Features:

Two featurettes, sing-along featurette


A hit after the disastrous period where Disney could not find an audience for its animated films, “The Great Mouse Detective” takes Sherlock Holmes and turns him into a mouse named Basil of Baker Street (Barrie Ingham a character actor who in a bit of serendipity also played a sleuth in the BBC TV series “The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes” also out on DVD this month)with his own Watson named Datson and fighting the evil Rattigan (Vincent Price in a marvelous performance). “The Great Mouse Detective” was also one of the first animated films from Disney to incorporate digital animation (during the sequence inside Big Ben) making it something of a ground breaking film for the studio. ***

Basil is hired by Olivia Flaverson (Susanne Pollatschek) to find her inventor father who has disappeared without a trace. Basil uncovers that somehow the fiendish Professor Rattigan his long time nemesis snatched the professor as part of a plot to subvert the British government. Assisted by Dr. Dawson (Val Bettin), Basil goes undercover to find out where Rattigan is keeping his hostage and why. ***

Co-directed by Ron Clements (“The Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin” and ) “The Great Mouse Detective” was the first signs that the studio could compete in the suddenly cluttered world of feature animation. Although it didn’t do quite as well at the box office as Don Bluth’s “An American Tail” it’s every bit as winning even if it lacks the visual flair and ambition of later Disney triumphs.

Image & Sound:

The film receives a crisp, colorful and detailed transfer looking better than it ever has before. Audio sounds quite good with a nice mix that focuses primarily on dialogue except during the action scenes.

Special Features:

“So You Think You Can Sleuth” is a solid featurette that takes a look at detectives throughout history, “The Making of” featurette gives us some solid information on how this gem managed to get made after the disaster of “The Black Cauldron”. “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind Sing-Along” provides us with the words to sing-along with Professor Ratigan from one of the delightful musical sequences in the film. ---

Final Words:

Although “The Great Mouse Detective” doesn’t quite measure up to later Disney classics from the 90’s, it’s a solid and enjoyable film that has been overlooked multiple times during its initial run in theaters and on home video. With an excellent transfer and some solid extras, “Mouse” might finally get the appreciation it deserves.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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