An underappreciated 1986 animated effort from Disney, "The Great Mouse Detective" was directed by Burny Mattinson, David Michener, John Musker and Ron Clements (the latter two being responsible for directing "The Little Mermaid" and, most recently, "The Princess and the Frog".)
"Mouse" - based upon the book "Basil of Baker Street" by Eve Titus, follows the Sherlock Holmes-ian tale of Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek), whose father, Hiram, is taken early in the film by a henchman of the villainous Ratigan (Vincent Price). Searching the streets of London, Olivia crosses paths with Basil of Baker Street ("The Great Mouse Detective") and his assistant Dawson. While Basil initially doesn't want to take the case - he changes his mind he finds out his nemesis Ratigan is involved.
Unfortunately, before long, Olivia is also taken by Ratigan, only to push Hiram to finish the creation that he took him to work on - a creation that, if unleashed - will spell serious danger for London. The movie offers a terrific and exciting adventure, although the movie may prove to be somewhat frightening for kids - the 1986 film is a bit more intense and while that adds to the adventure, the youngest members of the audience may get spooked during a few scenes.
The film's hand-drawn animation is quite enjoyable, and legendary animator Glen Keane did work on the film. The film's pacing is also wonderfully swift - at only 74 minutes, the film has been trimmed down to the essentials.
Overall, "The Great Mouse Detective" is an overlooked classic from the studio, and thankfully is getting another release from the studio, where it will hopefully continue to find new fans.
Featurette: Scotland Yard (bonus)
Basil of Baker Street (film)
VIDEO: "Great Mouse Detective" is presented by Disney in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While there are a few instances of mild wear-and-tear on the elements used, this transfer did appear to be a mild improvement upon the prior edition. Sharpness and detail were above-average, as while the presentation wasn't crystal clear, the animation did look crisp and detailed. Colors seemed fresh and bright, with pleasing saturation and no smearing or other faults. There were some light instances of wear-and-tear on the elements, but the presentation looked cleaner than one might expect, given the age of the film.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation of the film was fine enough, especially considering the material. Surrounds provided minimal reinforcement of the score, while score was nicely spread across the front speakers. Audio quality was better-than-expected, given the age of the film - dialogue, score and effects sounded full and well-recorded.
EXTRAS: "So You Think You Can Sleuth?" game, "The Making of The Great Mouse Detective" featurette, sing-along feature, Blu-Ray promo and trailers for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: Overall, "The Great Mouse Detective" is an overlooked classic from the studio, and thankfully is getting another release from the studio, where it will hopefully continue to find new fans. This new edition doesn't offer enough of a reason for owners of the prior DVD edition to upgrade, but those who don't own the film already should certainly seek out this edition.
The Film B+