Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Today's animated feature is The Secret of NIMH.  This is it!  This is the start of Don Bluth and company's era of great animated films.  He, along with Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy all left Disney to pursue making this film, as their idea was rejected for being too dark.  They were soon after followed by 20 other Disney employees and later created United Artists.  This was during the time of the 1970s and 80s when Disney used cheap cost-cutting methods in their animations. Seriously, the animations are terrible.  After Walt Disney, the animation master, died, the company wasn't interested in cartoons anymore.  They were too focused on their new theme parks, Walt Disney World and Epcot, which opened in 1971 and 1982.

They went all out making this film.  There's actual smoke, magic crystals (that swirl in a different plane which is amazing for that era), and over 600 colors used and 1000 backgrounds.   It took over a year and a half to design and build the cameras.

This is another movie where I vaguely remember having to read the book as a child.  I know the main character's name was Mrs. Frisby, not Mrs. Brisby, but they had to change it to avoid legal problems with the Frisbee makers.  Yes, our legal system is that ridiculous.  I also remember the part about the rats escaping.  What I don't recall is the magic amulet, the red one that Nicodemus gives to Mrs. Brisby.

From the time when the rats escape the NIMH to go hide out under the rosebush, where did they pick up a magical amulet?  And if Nicodemus was trying so hard to conceal the necklace from Renner, why did he give it to her and then present her in a meeting with the rats?  Of course he would see it.  He tries to grab it from her and this starts off a Robin Hood style sword fight.  Where did they get swords now?  The swordfight between Justin and Renner is literally straight from The Adventures of Robin Hood.

I think the story would have been a lot better if they would have stayed away from the magic elements.  There was no magic in the book, they didn't need it.  The rats used their super intelligence to build their community and also to help Mrs. Brisby move her home safely.  I will give this film a 7/10 because of technical achievements.

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