According to Hollywood gossip, director Don Bluth and fellow animators John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman left their jobs at Disney to make this movie (which the bigwigs at Disney had deemed too dark to be a success). It’s certainly not the most commercial animated movie, as based on the Robert C O’Brien book. It’s the story of a widow mouse, Mrs Brisby, who seeks the help of a group of rats when her home and children are under threat from a tractor ploughing the field where they live. The rats, it seems, are all escapees from NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), so are super-intelligent and have built their own underground lair.
Small children may find the plot too complicated and the animation too gloomy (and it’s sort of creepy, too), but for everyone else it is a very interesting and beautiful-to-look-at film, with more depth than your average feature-length cartoon. Alas, for Bluth and pals, it wasn’t a box-office success, but it is well worth seeking out for a look over twenty odd years on.
Is The Secret Of NIMH suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The film is quite dark throughout, but the main scene that will scare children involves a giant spider.