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January 17, 2011 / Prof Cupcake.

the great mouse detective! how did childhood me miss this

Given it’s lack of songs and unrelenting darkness it is no surprise that this Disney film never made it into the realm of cultural phenomenon. Yet this surprise Disney sleeper hit is a fantastical journey into the world of Victorian London complete with camp rat super villains, precocious young mouse ladies and daring detectives, its Sherlock Holmes all be it with a much more rodent edge.


The plot follows little Olivia, a young mouse who journeys far and wide to find her father after he has been kidnapped by a demented bat. Drawn to the door step of the illustrious Detective Basil, she tells her sob story only to have the good detective recognize it as the hand work of the evil Ratigan. A nonferrous low world rat who fancies himself one suave mouse. A fight to the death ensues when Basil discovers that Ratigan means to overthrow the mouse queen and all of micedom with the help of Olivia father who is being coerced into building a robot version of the queen. The plot culminates in a dizzying battle inside Big Ben, where the fate of the mouse world hangs on a whisker of a minute to midnight.


With only two songs of any description in this film, its rather lacking in the musical department. A sure strike against it, as any good Disney film is filled to the brim with totally superfluous though incredibly enjoyable musical numbers. Yet it’s deep integration with the world of Sherlock Holmes clearly makes up for any musical lack. A film busting with camp sensibilities and tongue and cheek performances it is a joy to watch from start to finish. Furthermore the adorable relationship between Detective Basil and Dr. Dawson is a wonderful bromantic relationship, a precursor to the many bromances that dominate today’s silver screen.


Though no Little Mermaid or Aladdin, this mid 80’s Disney classic is a wonderful addition to their impressive Cannon. A film all age groups, (particular those fascinated with crime drama) will enjoy, it might be slightly scary for the youngest of the young, but the campiness of all the villains will undercut any fear that may be present.



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