THE SECRET OF NIMH
Running Time: 82 minutes
What’s Going On?
To save her ill son, a field mouse must seek the aid of a colony of super-intelligent rats, all while the looming farming season threatens to destroy her home.
Who’s In It:
The film features the voices of screen legend Derek Jacobi as well as Elizabeth Hartman and a very young Shannen Doherty and Wil Wheaton.
If You Like…:
Don Bluth’s other films like the Land Before Time films, An American Tale, and Anatastia, seeing NIMH, Bluth’s first feature.
All of the special features here are ported over from the two-disc edition of the film that was released in 2007. However, there is some interesting stuff to be had if you haven’t seen this film since it’s original release.
There’s a featurette called The Secret Behind The Secret, which is a condensed story of how Don Bluth created his animation house, which literally began out of his garage, and his approach to character design and even how he hired an acting coach for his animators so they could bring emotional truth to their characters.
The most interesting part of the special features here is the commentary from Don Bluth and producer Gary Goldman, which goes into great detail about all of the technical aspects of the film, including how many color palates were need for each character depending on the lighting of the scene as well as how the various special effects of the film were created. It’s a real treat for fans of the animation process, as well as fans of the film itself.
The Technical Gist
This was one of my favorite films when I was growing up and I was really looking forward to seeing this on my big TV in high definition but I was utterly disappointed. Not only does the film not look great, there are parts of the film that look terrible, like the film was transferred from a VHS recording of the movie that had been left in someone’s garage since 1985. It’s really quite sad considering that Disney has been able to restore films from the 1950s and 60s to a pristine quality that makes them look better than they did in their initial releases and then that a film that is the first of a major animation studio can’t even get a little bit of a polish to it. Sadly, the audio has the same problem and there are sections of dialogue that are mumbled and difficult to understand or are blown out by other elements of the mix.
Sadly, I can’t recommend this blu-ray because it doesn’t live up to what the format is capable of. However, the DVD is on Amazon for less than ten bucks, and many of the reviews on Amazon have said that the transfer on the DVD is better than the blu-ray, and you’ll still get to check out all of the special features, since they were are all part of that release of the film.