The Great Mouse Detective DVD Review

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
Now this is a great little cover for a children’s movie.  They really updated the cover for the Great Mouse Detective: Mystery in the Mist edition.  This is a nice use of the cover, with a great shot of the main characters of the movie.  The menu is a bit more drab, and features some live action scenes, which for a standard DVD is always better than a static menu.  Not bad for a release that is so old.

Features: 4/10

  • So You Think You Can Sleuth Game – This 5 minute “game” features quite a bit of sleuthing background, and is just average in terms of extras.
  • The Making Of The Great Mouse Detective – This 8 minute or so behind the scenes is what you would expect from such an old movie.  Not bad, and a decent little watch, which really demonstrates the hand drawn format that we miss so much these days.
  • The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind Sing Along Song – Here we get to sing along to Ratigan’s theme song, which is the best song in the movie by far.  I still don’t know about singing it though.
  • Dylan & Cole Sprouse Blu-Ray Is Suite – This is a promo for the Suite Life, on Blu-ray.
  • Learn How To Take Your Favorite Movies On The Go With Disney File – This is another promo, this time for how to use the included digital copy that is found on so many of the Disney releases.

The Movie: 6/10
The Great Mouse Detective is one of those movies that I remember watching as a kid, but I didn’t remember the details.  It is based loosely on Sherlock Holmes, and it s based more prevalently on the children’s book Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone.  From the beginning of the movie we get a much more ominous feel, as the scary introduction of the movie sees a toymaker snatched form his toy shop by a one legged bat, right in front of his hidden daughter Olivia’s eyes.  The little mouse sets off to find Basil of Baker Street, the renowned detective, who she feels will surely find her father for her.

Along with Dr. Dawson, another mouse who finds and leads Olivia to the quirky detective, the group sets out on a caper to find Olivia;s father, who we discover, through Basil’s keen intellect, has been taken and forced to work for the evil Professor Ratigan.  Ratigan just so happens to be the arch nemesis of Basil (and Ratigan is played by Vincent Price).

The Great Mouse Detective is one of those movies that clearly demonstrates that the Disney formula is not always spot on.  It is a curious mix of story and music, with a strange little musical number featuring Vincent Price singing.  I enjoyed the movie, but it falls in along with other notable Disney mouse movies like the Rescuers Down Under, which to me is similar in many ways to this one.  It is not a bad movie, but the Great Mouse Detective is nowhere near a classic.  Fun for a watch, this one is not a movie that I would recommend to everyone.

Audio & Video: 7/10
I was pretty impressed with the video for such an old movie.  the colors were pretty nice looking (there are some real discrepancies at times though – keep an eye on the green frog, who many times looks tan).  Overall I was quite impressed though.

The audio was not quite so nice.  It was very drab and un-dynamic, even in in 5.1 Surround Sound.  I was less than impressed, and the use of the rear speakers was minuscule at best.  I know the movie was made before audio was so important, but this is a real downer for a movie like this, even taking into account the age of the movie.

Value: 6/10
The Great Mouse Detective is one of those Disney movies that is merely decent, and not great.  It falls squarely in behind some of the classics like 101 Dalmatians and even Sword in the Stone for me.  That is not to say that it is not fun to watch, but it really demonstrates the difference between some of the better stories and characters that have been done by the animation giant.  It is worth a watch, but there is not a lot here, including scarce extras, that would warrant a buy.

Overall Score 6/10