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Voice Cast: Hermione Baddeley (Auntie Shrew), John Carradine (The Great Owl), Dom DeLuise (Jeremy), Elizabeth Hartman (Mrs.
In June of 1993, I was finally eight years old, second grade was finally nearing its end of its run, and our teacher Miss Lorscheider had finally run out of things to teach us. I can't say I remember my initial thoughts on the movie, as I wasn't particularly interested in it at the time.
I think that fourteen-year gestation period between my two viewings helped make the film more "important" for me.
The Secret of NIMH opens with Nicodemus (voiced by Derek Jacobi) writing in his journal, explaining that Jonathan Brisby has died, and making the first mention of the escape from NIMH. As I sat watching The Secret of NIMH for the first time in over a decade, I found myself intrigued by the seriousness and maturity of its story. The struggle for power and the question of change are two other themes addressed, and again, there is a human influence to both. Upon its theatrical release in July 1982, The Secret of NIMH had modest success, though critical praise was widespread.
Color correction has been done, as the film's colors are probably the best thing about the video quality. Audio is available in Dolby Surround, with alternate Spanish Stereo and French Mono available as well.
Another notable no-show for this DVD set is the 1998 sequel The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue.
All of the menus are 16x9-enhanced and offer excerpts of Goldsmith's score, but only Disc 1's Main Menu is animated. I think the fourteen years between my viewings of The Secret of NIMH have helped me not only to better appreciate the mature story and impressive sequences, but also to recapture the childlike curiosity I once had for animated features. I'm grateful for the treatment MGM and Fox have given this DVD, as it's been long overdue and well worth the wait for those waiting. Nevertheless, the power of the film outweighs its impressive-if-still-disappointing DVD re-release. So rather than rehash everything in the span of two weeks, us students got to bring in various videocassettes to watch. Over the course of two and a half years (half the usual production span of a major animated feature), the movie was produced from storyboards to animation within the confines of Bluth's own house and garage, as well as an acquired studio. It is an enigmatic way to begin, as we have no idea what Brisby or NIMH are, or why the writer's words appear to be shimmering and glowing. Brisby is told by Auntie Shrew (Hermione Baddeley) that the frost is over and the animals of the field must move before the plow comes. Ages, the rats of NIMH are smart creatures, benefiting from human interference and medicine from the National Institute of Mental Health. Thanks to NIMH, the rats have become intelligent, allowing such ideas as leadership and innovation to thrive in (and also divide) their community.
The most substantial feature (and most likely to be ignored by the "Family" of "Family Fun Edition") is an audio commentary with writer-director-producer Don Bluth and writer-producer Gary Goldman.
In "Who's Footprint", the player must match a NIMH character to their appropriate footprint.
While the Family Fun Edition of Anastasia did include the direct-to-video sequel Bartok the Magnificent on Disc 2, that film was actually directed by Bluth, whereas Timmy to the Rescue had neither his input nor support. A short trailer for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Special Edition, the set's only advertisement, plays as soon as Disc 1 loads. In recent years, I had started to regard animation as simply another form of filmmaking that was no different than live-action. Though not as in-depth as previous "Family Fun Editions" like the superb two-disc sets for Anastasia and Ferngully, what is provided is still valuable. Brisby isn't having such a good time flying on Jeremy's back on the way to see the Great Owl. Ages), Paul Shenar (Jenner), Peter Strauss (Justin), Shannen Doherty (Teresa), Wil Wheaton (Martin), Jodi Hicks (Cynthia), Ian Fried (Timmy), Tom Hatten (Farmer Fitzgibbons), Lucille Bliss (Mrs. It was a great way to end the school year, by bonding over the movies that defined our childhood.
In many ways, it mirrored Walt Disney's own dedication to animation, as he, Ub Iwerks, and a select few were making "Steamboat Willie" in secrecy shortly after Walt had lost Oswald and his animators to Universal.


Auntie Shrew (Hermione Baddeley) also has little respect for rats, considering them to be beastly. The rats are "ashamed" of stealing human electricity, and elect to start a new life in Thorn Valley. This may upset some parents expecting a "children's" movie, but it's a reminder of what these characters are fighting for: their very survival. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but fans who have been crying foul over the video quality of the movie's previous DVD releases may want to keep on crying. The video is slightly cleaner and sharper than the older releases, but there are still noticeable amounts of dust, dirt, and occasional scratches throughout. Jerry Goldsmith's score maintains a nearly non-stop presence, and is evenly balanced with dialogue and effects.
For the most part, they provide a rather engaged discussion which enlightens, with only a few pauses, all the way through the end credits. It's not long enough to go as in-depth as fans would like, but it still packs in enough to give a quick, clear analysis of the movie's origins, animation process, and voice actors. We usually try to edit at the storyboarding stage, before we spend money animating." While that does confirm there are no deleted animated sequences, it raises the possibility of storyboarded sequences that were deleted.
A four-page insert inside the dual Amaray keepcase provides not production notes or a chapter list but only a variety of simple children's games (word searches, mazes, connect-the-dots) pertaining to the film.
I had respect for the art and a high regard for people like Disney and Bluth, but that certain "magic" was gone; rather than excited or terrified at what I saw, I was more impressed and analytical. The audio commentary serves lots of behind-the-scenes secrets and recollections, while the featurette offers a brisk and breezy look at the film's making. For many of us, that meant an animated movie, and any animated movie was a considered a Disney movie. Ages"), while at the same time, I was thrust into the film's universe as if I had never been there before. Of course, NIMH wasn't done in secrecy, but very much under the same harried and stressful conditions. But Jenner (Paul Shenar) is eager to remain in the rosebush, believing that reliance upon human electricity is a necessity for survival.
However, positive word-of-mouth and a VHS release some years later helped NIMH secure a large and loyal cult following.
Despite praise from the filmmakers on Don Bluth's website about how clean, saturated, and amazing the new transfer would be, NIMH does not appear as cleaned up as it could have been.
These shortcomings are especially apparent during several of the underground scenes between Mrs. I also loved listening to the alternate language tracks and was disappointed at how poor and slightly muffled the French track came out. The remarks of Bluth and Goldman deal closely with what they're seeing on screen, supplying an appropriate behind-the-scenes story for most parts.
It was a pleasant surprise to find that, even after hearing their excellent commentary, the two filmmakers' remarks here are not redundant. The absence of this material -- as well as input from other animators or surviving voice talent -- is unfortunate.
While we're noticing what's been excluded, I'm also upset at the lack of any art galleries, animation tests, or promotional materials for the film (*cough* the trailer *cough*). But if reviews are any indication as to its quality, I doubt many fans would be unhappy with its exclusion, even if there was more than enough disc space to cover it. A shiny embossed metallic slipcover completes the package, duplicating the keepcase artwork, which itself has been reused for the continuous re-releases since the film's 1998 DVD debut. Even the games can be enjoyable if you have a fondness for them (and are willing to crumple a few pieces of paper). We had no conception of how Disney differed from Warner Brothers, Studio Ghibli, Filmation, or Don Bluth. And just as "Steamboat Willie" wowed its viewers with the introduction of sound, The Secret of NIMH wowed critics and audience alike with its impressive sequences and dramatic story. Brisby tries and amazingly succeeds in halting the plow before it destroys her house (where sick Timmy is fast asleep). The humans' roles are minor but important, as they are completely oblivious to the damage they are inflicting upon these creatures.


His betrayal of the rats and killing of Nicodemus shows how far he would go to keep that power.
Its 1998 DVD debut surely disappointed many fans, offering lacking video quality and a mere trailer and booklet as bonus materials.
Throughout the commentary, Goldberg tells the viewers that while he and Bluth are watching an unrestored version of the film, we should be seeing a high-definition remastered version with color correction and all unintended minutiae removed from the cels.
Perhaps the best part of this piece is the abundant amount of vintage behind-the-scenes footage -- character sketches, storyboards, production photos, live-action reference, animators' home movies -- that's interspersed with the new interview. Viewers have to figure out how the yarn is wrapped around the crow by starting at one point and envisioning where it would turn up at another. The movie gave me so much more than just nostalgia, as it restored the innocent wonder I used to hold for animated films. As such, when one of my fellow classmates brought in The Secret of NIMH, most of us figured it was a lesser-known Disney film. Auntie Shrew chastises Brisby for risking her life and tells her to see the Great Owl (John Carradine). Summer plow is something standard and routine for the farmer, yet he doesn't realize that it causes the animal community to uproot themselves from their homes and move elsewhere. Yet amidst all the serious tones and twists in the movie, there remains a true sense of endearing family drama.
While the disc itself never changed, cover art would as the film was continually re-released in the years to follow.
However, unless you're watching on a huge screen or up close, it doesn't add up to a less than pleasing viewing experience. Its timelessness and eternal messages of courage and love help cement it as a true classic.
Where are the art galleries, the vintage promotional materials, and the interviews with people whose last names aren't Bluth or Goldman?
We had been groomed on the likes of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, so this eleven-year-old flick seemed pretty ancient to us.
The film also introduces a mystical and supernatural element in the form of an amulet given to Mrs. Jeremy flies Brisby to the Great Owl's tree, where the wise old creature refers them to the rats of NIMH.
This Family Fun Edition is the first new treatment the movie has gotten in the digital format, and is superior in some aspects while still disappointing in others.
Still, it is puzzling in light of the filmmakers' compliments that we're treated to something only slightly better than the old DVD. It's a very spirited conversation in which many great techniques are dissected, which makes the few stilted spots easy to overlook.
I tried it a couple times, and both of my unsuccessful attempts now reside in my wastebasket. And what happened to the amazing and flawless high-definition video transfer that's mentioned so often in the commentary? If you plan on making a website that relates to NIMH, then I suggest you ask me or the owner if you can use them. On her way home, Brisby rescues the clumsy, unlucky-in-love crow Jeremy (Dom DeLuise), who has been caught up in a mess of yarn. For what it's worth, I feel this is another reminder that NIMH is no mere ordinary children's movie, solidifying the already serious tone for viewers.
The final activity, "Memory Game", plays a clip from the film and follows it up with a multiple choice question on a certain detail (like "How many monkeys were in the scene?"). There are only four different clips, but a text screen makes note that questions change every time the game is played. Seems like a lot to be found in a simple little semi-swear word, but then again, it's always open to interpretation.



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