The Secret of NIMH
The Secret of NIMH is an animated movie directed by Don Bluth and released by his studio United Artists in 1982. The movie was based on Robert C. O'Brien's children's book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. (The main character's name was changed to "Brisby", so that its audiences would not take its sound for the Frisbee toy.) Bluth began the idea of creating this movie after disagreement with Disney over The Fox and the Hound. Before that he worked with the previous Disney animated movie which was also about mice: The Rescuers. Later he made another animated movie about mice called An American Tail, which came out in 1986.
|The Secret Of NIMH|
|Directed by||Don Bluth|
|Produced by||Don Bluth|
|Written by||Don Bluth|
Robert C. O'Brien
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Distributed by||MGM/UA Entertainment Co. (theatrical)|
20th Century Fox (2007 DVD release)
|July 2, 1982 (USA)|
October 22, 1982 (Brazil)
A widow mouse lives with her children (Martin, Teresa, Cynthia and Timothy). On her journey, she meets a comic, love-seeking crow, a group of rats and the National Institute of Mental Health. After the deaths of the enemy leader and magician, a magical amulet manipulates and restores a house shaped stone block from drowning in the mud. Bluth and Goldman's next film, All Dogs Go to Heaven, also used digital coloring via CAPS.
- Elizabeth Hartman as Mrs. Brisby*
- John Carradine as Great Owl
- Dom DeLuise as Jeremy
- Derek Jacobi as Nicodemus
- Arthur Malet as Mr. Ages
- Hermione Baddeley as Auntie Shrew
- Peter Strauss as Justin
- Paul Shenar as Jenner
- Aldo Ray as Sullivan
- Shannen Doherty as Teresa Brisby
- Danica McKellar as Cynthia Brisby
- Wil Wheaton as Martin Brisby
- Ian Fried as Timothy "Timmy" Brisby
- Tom Hatten as Farmer Paul Fitzgibbons
- Lucille Bliss as Mrs. Beth Fitzgibbons
- Joey Lawrence as Billy Fitzgibbons
- Edie McClurg as Miss Right
- Nipsey Russell as Councilman 1
- Dick Kleiner as Councilman 2
- Charles Champlin as Councilman 3
* It was Hartman's final movie.
In spite of its critical success, this movie had a mediocre run at the box office, mostly because of a much bigger rival, Steven Spielberg's E. T. (Ironically, Spielberg saw the Bluth movie and asked its director to work on An American Tail.)
Many fans and critics have called NIMH Don Bluth's most important work and magnum opus and masterpiece. Even though this movie was not a big box office success, An American Tail and 1997's Anastasia became his most successful works in later years. The next day, however, Bluth approved of the idea for possible development, along with Rock-a-Doodle.
In 1998, MGM released a direct-to-video sequel called The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue. In the sequel, Timothy goes to a place called Thorn Valley because he wants to become a hero like his father. His brother Martin has turned evil (although he does not want to), and Timothy must fight him in order to save the Rats of NIMH. At Thorn Valley Timothy learns from a young girl mouse that the mice who were thought to have been killed during the escape from NIMH are still alive, so he and the rats try to rescue them.
The sequel was hated by the fans of the first movie and the movie critics because of its clichéd and familiar storyline, and because many people thought that the magic of Don Bluth's dark and original NIHM was destroyed by the sequel, because MGM toned down the darkness of the story.