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Don Bluth's The Secret of NIMH is one of those classic animated movies that gave some sensitive children of the '80s nightmares. If your childhood was anything like mine, with time split between two divorced working parents, you watched a lot of VHS tapes.
The film opens on warty, gnarled hands with coke nails on every finger as a voiceover informs us that someone named Jonathan recently died.
Though his name won’t be revealed until later, we can deduce fairly readily that Nicodemus is a rat wizard since he uses magic glitter dust instead of ink and doesn’t need to touch his pen to the page to write. I loved that movies as a child, and actualyl recently re-read the book (home for Christmas and perusing my childhood book shelf).
Also, I didn’t realize that NIMH stood for National Institute for Mental Health until I was a teenager, and it blew my mind. While it was released before I was born—proof that I can talk about 80s films while still being a very vibrant and young woman, thank you very much — my parents apparently felt the need to make sure I didn’t miss out on this demented mess about near-dead young ones, animal experimentation, and murder. In further confirmation that this film was inexplicably intended for pre-literate children, the lines the narrator speaks are not the same lines he writes labors over writing in the book.
I was of the generation that watched The Fox and the Hound, The Land Before Time, Watership Down AND The Last Unicorn, not to mention An American Tail (warning children of the dangers of fascism from the age of four upwards) and All Dogs go to Heaven (didn’t that have torture scenes?

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However, this is being pitched as something akin to NIMH: Origins, dealing with how a crew of lab rats get their smarts. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH, the film version might be the high point of Don Bluth's impressive animated output.
We assume the voice is courtesy of whoever owns the hands, which is a little confusing because while the voice is telling us the narrator is old, the hands are telling us he’s been dead for several weeks. Probaby TSON couldn’t make much impact in the already tortuous vortex that my brain had been turned into.
Frisby and the Rats of Nimh : Mrs Frisby can’t move her family to their summer home because her son is sick.
It is discovered that the rats were experiment rats at the National Institute of Mental Health and escaped. They agree to help her move if she agrees to help them with their plan to escape and build their own rat society.

The Secret of NIMH : The movie has a similar plot, only science didn’t make the rats stronger, but rather a wizard rat magically helped the rats to grow more intelligent. The movie also focuses more on rivalries, with a duel between Nicodemus, and Jenner and Jenner and Sullivan. Differences: The main difference is the magical element in the movie, the name change to Mrs. It has that creepy 80s feel that so many children’s movies and TV shows had during that time.
I’d rather the focus of the rats be on science than weird amulets with magical powers.Meet BrendaI'm Brenda. The movie totally freaked out my kids.ReplyLeave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.

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