Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective; Animated crime comedy, USA, 1986; D: Ron Clements, John Musker, Dave Michener, Burny Mattinson, S: Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin, Vincent Price

London. Mouse Dr. Dawson returned from Afghanistan and heads towards a hotel as he accidentally stumbles upon the little Olivia whose father was kidnapped by a bat that works for the evil Ratigan. Dawson and Olivia meet detective Basil who decides to help. With the help of dog Toby they find the bat in a toy store, but it kidnaps Olivia. Thus Dawson and Basil disguise themselves and go to a port, but fall into Ratigan's trap. Still, they manage to escape, save Olivia and her father and stop Ratigan from dethroning the Queen and becoming the King.

"The Great Mouse Detective", the 26th animated feature film from the Walt Disney studios, is a sympathetic little film that spoofs the detective stories involving Sherlock Holmes with a lot of love and offers an accessible and simple fun. Directors Clements and Musker already showed their competence in "Aladdin", though they handled the job with an too easy hand here and often, without any limit, "sticked" prepotence, stereotypes and too sugary tone to the characters. One of the best jokes appears in the form of a sentence said by the pseudo-Holmes Basil, who tells Ratigan (voiced by the legendary Vincent Prince) these words: "Mr. Ratigan, nobody has a higher opinion of you than myself. And I think you're a dirty, disgusting street rat". The finale on the Big Ben is too dark, but the film contains just the right amount of style to entertain even the ambitious audience, whereas the way Basil and Dawson free themselves from a mousetrap in one sequence (the axe actually cuts their ropes and they take a picture of themselves) is real magic.


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