So if you’ve been reading our dear webzine for a while now, there will be certain things that you would have happened to have picked up. One, we on the staff quite like Sherlock Holmes and related media. We’re Sherlockians and proud of it. (We’re also Whovians but we haven’t reviewed anything to do with that. Yet.) Two, we on the staff also happen to be quite fond of Disney with its deliberately emotionally manipulative scenes that just know how to tug at your heartstrings in the right way. Oh, don’t give us that look, you know you love them too, deep in that cynical bitter layer the world installs on you. So, what does this mean? It’s not like there’s something that crosses the two over. Oh, except that there is – The Great Mouse Detective (Basil, the Great Mouse Detective in some countries.)
Yes, you heard right – Sherlock Holmes, as a mouse, done by Disney. It’s actually pretty epic people, so just go with me here. This was, oh, one or two movies before the great Disney Renaissance of the 90s that so many flocked to see, but the Great Mouse Detective certainly show the seeds of that brilliance to come. And it’s an adaptation, if you can believe it. The Great Mouse Detective comes to Disney from the book Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus. The plot is … actually, for what is meant to be a children’s movie, the plot is fairly standard crime scene drama. The movie tells the tale of Basil of Baker Street. When the mechanical genius Flaversham is kidnapped, Basil is hired by his daughter Olivia to track down her father. Joining Basil is the newly returned from war Dr David Q. Dawson. Basil is reluctant to take the case until he discovers that it is connected to his arch enemy, Rattigan. The animation, as always with Disney, is a delight, and one of the first uses of CGI in animation was used here, causing much glee because that scene is stunning.
I’m just going to take a minute out of my writing to pause and wonder at how many people are working out who is who when compared with their Sherlock canon. I’ll give you a clue; it’s not that hard but dear gods, is it fun. That’s a good way to talk about this movie, actually, it’s not that taxing – well, maybe a little – but it’s such fun, you’ll be bouncing around in whatever you sit on, wanting to replay immediately.
It’s essentially a good versus evil story, when it comes down to it, with one of the most compelling heroes you’ll ever see, and one of the most loathsomely fun villains for children’s media ever. (Yes, even more so than Count Dracula from Young Dracula, who you may know is a personal favourite. Actually, the Count and Rattigan could get on. Maybe they’d go out for a drink together, after committing some evil deed.) The plot moves along at quite a good pace, all things considered, and it’s fun the first time you watch it trying to work out Rattigan’s plan before it is revealed on screen. Which, yeah, not going to lie, would only ever work in a children’s movie – for now – but is still quite clever, if completely insane. But that’s how you can sum up Rattigan, really, and it’s a sight to see him lose whatever grasp of sanity he has over the course of the movie, becoming a snarling monster towards the climax and look, there’s me giving bits away which I really shouldn’t ought to do.
And, well, yeah, there’s not a lot I can say without spoiling the plot of a movie which really needs to be seen to be believed. It’s a fun little ride, and it’s a good way to happily spend an hour and a half. Sherlock fans will like it, Disney fans will like it, and I bet the crime drama fans out there would like it too.
It’s elementary, my dear Wanderers.
Z McAspurren (this is my favourite Sherlock)
You can find The Great Mouse Detective DVD on Amazon here.