The Great Mouse Detective (1986)


Who doesn’t love Sherlock Holmes? He’s one of the greatest fictional character of all time. Disney obviously noticed this and decided to make an animated version aimed at children. This is the Great Mouse Detective.

The film revolves around Basil of Baker Street (Sherlock meets Mickey mouse) as he teams up with Dr Dawson (Watson) to rescue a young girls toy maker father from professor Ratigan (Vincent ‘born to play villains and creepy guys’ Price). Ratigan plans to have the toy maker make a robotic version of the mouse Queen so he can replace her and have him transfer all Royal power to him. Dawson and Basil go to save the girl’s father and foil Ratigan’s plan before he can take over the world.

This is one of those films that sort of goes unnoticed, not a lot of people really talk about it and it’s a massive shame because this is a great movie. The animation is great, I really like the way they show London with the fog and the old 19th century look, very reminiscent of those old Sherlock Holmes films and you can tell the animators knew what they were doing. The ending scene in Big Ben is just brilliant. It marks the first time computer animation was used in a Disney film and it looks brilliant, the cogs and the angles and the colours, it’s just brilliant. The music is also really good, the score fits with the character of Basil/Sherlock and the time period perfectly, it’s very cheery/adventury/British and, once again, the music in the finale is pretty good.  Also, how could I talk about the music in this film without mentioning Ratigan’s villain song, that’s right Vincent Price has a villain’s song in this film. Great Criminal Brain is just a freaking fantastic villain’s song. It’s cheery and terrifying at the same time, he mentions how he drowned widows and orphans in the past. I LOVE IT!

The characters are generally good and likable, the girl is cute and sweet, as she should be, Dawson is competent and likable, the father is alright (he’s not really in it much so it doesn’t really matter). But where this really comes out is with Basil and Ratigan. This is exactly what it should be, the relationship between the two of them is perfect (their pretty much Sherlock and Moriarty) They both have massive egos, Basil is a douche at times, he can be rude and obnoxious but he’s still intelligent and likable. Hell, even towards the end, where Basil, Dawson and the girl have been captured and Ratigan’s going to kill them with an elaborate deathtrap thingy, he doesn’t apologise to Dawson for getting him killed, no, he talks about how he’s been beaten and how Ratigan’s intellect is superior to his after all. That’s a brilliant character.  Ratigan is one of the best Disney villains up to this point. He’s egotistical, he dances, he sings, he giggles, he’s completely in love with what he’s doing, but for me the best thing about him was his facade of a civilised gentleman. I was watching this and it reminded me of the Jungle Book, this is what I wanted from Shere Khan, the civilised villain that just breaks down into pure animalistic rage and violence towards the end of the film, that’s a great character. In fact, Ratigan reminds me a little of a Bond villain, he even owns a cat which he feeds those who piss him off and the voice actor just contributes to that perfectly. Vincent Price loves every second of playing Ratigan, he loved the role and he loved kids. In fact I think the only guy who could do as good a job would be Tim Curry and even then at a push.  This is what makes the film great, Ratigan and Basil. You put them in a room together and immediately you have a brilliant scene. There aren’t many bad things about this film, I guess I didn’t really like how you know what Ratigan’s planning, it does remove a lot of suspense, but then it hit me, Ratigan is being put in the limelight as much as Basil is, there’s equal focus on the both of them and that’s a great idea, making them both main characters. Also, the film can be a little slow at times and I did find myself getting a little bored at times, but that’s just a minor problem and it occurred once.

A great film, good animation, fun music, good character, perfect villain and hero.

8/10

Benny4700

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