The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition review
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the legend known as Sherlock Holmes, recently made famous again in the film starring Robert Downey Jr, of Iron Man fame. What we’re almost certain Conan Doyle never foresaw, despite his detective-like ability, was that one day, an animation company named Disney would create a character based on his creation. A mouse, no less. And yet, here we are, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Disney film, recently released on DVD, known as The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition. So how does the animated adventure stand up in the world of movies?
Picture it. London. late 1800s. A young girl is celebrating her birthday along with her father, a toymaker. Suddenly, a peg-legged bat dashes into the scene, grabbing the family and trying to steal them away. The girl, Olivia, manages to escape, but her father is now gone. With the limited amount of information in the senseless crime, there’s only one individual who could possibly help her; the master detective Basil of Baker Street.
Basil (Barrie Ingham), the great sleuth that he is, is already, and seemingly always, in mid-case; he’s after his arch nemesis, the nefarious Professor Ratigan, voiced by the famed Vincent Price. But when Olivia mentions the criminal’s peg leg, Basil realizes it must have been Fidget, the peg-legged Bat and known crony of the evil Ratigan. From there, the game is afoot. A mouse foot.
The film is an adventure through out; one of the lesser known, but certainly underrated, films in Disney’s massive, vaulted franchise. And as is the case with many other movies, it is the villain here, notably Vincent Price’s performance, that truly steals the show – becoming the iconic character you most associate with the title. Though, that is not to downplay the heroic stars of the film. The Sherlock / Watson roles are filled wonderfully by Ingham’s Basil and Val Bettin’s counterpart role.
Speaking to the lesser known quality of the film, even at 25 years old, there is a special interest in cutting edge technology; during several scenes, and perhaps most noticable in the Big Ben finale, the animators introduce the then-new process of computer aided animation. Yes, even back then, cartoon company’s were toying with the idea of CG. Take a peek:
The discs, themselves, are the remastered “Ultimate DVD” edition of the film; though it is somewhat surprising there is no Blu-ray edition or counterpart, particularly considering the modern day trend of releasing both as a combo pack. Perhaps the producers of the film and rework felt there wasn’t enough to enhance or include in the larger and higher quality discs, but it’s difficult to speculate otherwise – we’re not half the detectives Basil is.
In fact, to be honest, the only new facet we could find in this edition is the “So you think you can sleuth” bonus feature. While that is certainly a fun little piece, it’s a challenge to say that it makes the upgraded purchase “worth it”, since everything else (from features to quality) is the same as the previous DVD edition of the film.
But all that said, if you haven’t yet seen or owned the film, the The Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist Edition is a great film and really enjoyable. Perfect for families and kids of all ages — especially if you enjoy detective / Sherlock Holmes stories.