The Secret Is I'm Depressed
I absolutely grew up thinking Dom DeLuise was potentially the voice of God because he also did the voice of Fagin in Oliver & Company, Itchy in All Dogs Go To Heaven and Tiger in An American Tail. Also please tell me why I’m STILL attracted to Hot Social Justice Rat™️ Justin?!? And yes the end scene where Mrs Brizz places her super delicate mouse fingers (?) on the powerball is weirdly sexual, as her mouse mane (?) blows back from the force of red stone FIRE, she has this kinda of ethereal, orgasmic reaction. HOW DID MY PARENTS LET ME WATCH THIS AS A CHILD…over and over again. I wish I had a crow friend named Jeremy.
Fun story: when I was a little kid I was a) obsessed with TSoN, and b) had a dad who worked for NIH (National Institute of Health). The movie was such an unquestioned part of my reality that in my head, I translated NIH into NIMH, and well into my teens thought my father tortured rats and taught them to talk during the day! Probably some trauma to unpack there!
Speaking of non-Disney animated movies- no mention of the nightmarish hellscape that is All Dogs Go to Heaven? I was terrorized for years by the memory of watching half of this movie once when I was like 10. And by “years” I mean I am currently retaining some trauma in my late 30s over it.
I also had this on VHS (along with The Dark Crystal) and wore it the fuck out. Recently I even incorporated "the sparkly" into a tattoo I got because I love this movie so much.
The scene where she escapes from the bird cage is still easily one of the most thrilling action sequences I've ever seen. This movie holds up so so so well.
I too almost wore this vhs out and was terrified you'd rip this movie to shreds as I haven't seen it in SO long. Thank you for justifying my love! Please someone get us a new Don Bluth movie- Lindy spinoffs appreciated!
Wow, so glad you did this movie!! I had this VHS as a child too and the scene where Dragon is crawling through the log and you see his shadow and then him scared the CRAP out of me. So so terrifying. Glad to revisit that childhood trauma lololol
Awesome!! I've never seen the movie but retain a deep fondness for the book, whose content also helps resolve some of the movie's apparent plot holes:
- Yes, they do have to move Mrs F/Brisby's whole cinderblock house so Timothy can ride out his pneumonia in a safe warm underground space; the book makes it clear that moving him to anywhere more exposed in this cold early spring season would kill him. (The mice, not being absolute idiots, do all exit the house while the rats are actually moving it, with Timothy warmly wrapped up in scraps of cloth from their nest.) There is no stupid murder plot involved in this caper.
- Yes, you're right that the rats' stated motive in relocating to an isolated spot in Thorn Valley is to attain independence and self-determination instead of, as Nicodemus puts it, "just living on the edge of somebody else's [civilization], like fleas on a dog's back. If the dog drowns, the fleas drown, too." The book was published in 1971 so I don't think it was pushing a Reaganite philosophy? though I'm not saying that the filmmakers in 1982 might not have been trying to Reaganize it a bit.
- Yes, Mrs F/Brisby does have to be the one to put the narcotic in Dragon's bowl, because the crack in the wainscoting that lets them access the bowl is big enough for a mouse but not a rat. It is deffo a hazardous job, though: making the attempt was what got her husband Jonathan killed (and more recently got Mr Ages' leg broken).
- And all without any magic necklace or magic mirror! What I found really enchanting in Rats of NIMH, as in all good fantasy, is that the author introduced ONE reality-defying premise (the animals thinking and talking like humans) and then worked out all the consequences (as you noted) in a realistic and plausible way. You want to know exactly HOW the rats tapped into Mr. Fitzgibbon's electrical supply? The book tells you! It's believable! And no, they're not going to be able to get electricity in Thorn Valley, they know that and they've made the hard choice to go (literally) off the grid anyway! The conflict with Jenner is not because of some random "lust for power", it's because he, with some reason, says "why start from nothing if you can start with everything?" Jenner also doesn't swordfight with anybody or murder anybody, he just leaves the colony with a few followers (and what happens to them has important consequences near the end).
- No, literacy isn't genetically transmitted, the NIMH scientists put a lot of work into teaching their rat and mouse subjects to read, Jonathan taught his wife and kids, and the rats teach their rat children.
And wow, I just found out that the author's daughter later wrote two sequels to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH??! How did I not know this?
I read the book in school and was OBSESSED with it, and then watched the movie and was so confused about where all the magic stuff was coming from. THIS STORY ABOUT TALKING RATS THAT MAKE ELECTRICITY IS SUPPOSED TO BE BASED IN SCIENCE, COME ON!
Okay - I’d like to politely request a Ferngullt butt news
I can tell we are somewhat Of An Age because I also took all of these movies out of the video store manymany times (and I bought the novel of NIMH at some point; my copy had the movie mice on the cover). I spent a few months last year chasing down a memory of a kids' movie about a girl who moves near an old house and has nightmares about a girl who disappeared from that house during a home invasion by bank robbers in the 1800s, in which the parents are killed but she's just . . . gone, and the climax of the movie is the modern girl finding the ghost girl's skeleton at the bottom of a pit in a secret passage, along with the missing bank robber's treasure.
Also there's a treasure map and two convicts who are also looking for the treasure and the convicts home invade THE PRESENT-DAY GIRL'S HOUSE ALSO and hold her mom at gunpoint. But the moment of these children finding this dead child's skeleton . . . hoping she at least died in the fall and didn't suffer . . . cheery stuff.
(It's called Mystery Mansion and it's on Turner Classic Movies and the quality is MUCH worse than I remembered, but that's how it is sometimes).
Yay! Haven’t read yet but I have had rats running along the back wall of my yard and in my trees all summer and it makes me think of this movie.
Justin was my First Ever Crush on a televised character. Followed somewhat quickly by Data from TNG. No living human man can live up to these standards!
The morning pages joke really kills. This whole thing is great. Love this movie.
Movies we watched in the 1980s and 1990s were messed up. Although I still love them (I've got a Last Unicorn tattoo to prove it), my kids think they are disturbing. I wrote a list of the movies (https://www.themarysue.com/disturbing-movies-millennial-parents-show-their-kids/) and of course Secret of the NIMH was on it. I wonder why so many of use are vegans and animal rights activists...
Lindy, do Blackbeard’s Ghost next, what are you waiting for?
I have not seen this movie since it was originally in theaters because it traumatized me so badly as a kid. All I’ve really remembered all this time was a fatherless mouse family, a single mom mouse, a bunch of scary ass psychedelic animals who don’t help her, animals in lab cages, mouse mom in a cage, mud, drowning ... that’s it. I was an only child with a poor single mom and a tragically dead dad, so going to the movies in the 80s was like Russian Roulette. Maybe I’d remember the lesson on stealing if I wasn’t having a hysterical breakdown over a cute animal drowning in a cage while her children drowned in mud??? 😂😭