The Secret of NIMH: Family Fun Edition Don Bluth

The Secret of NIMH: Family Fun Edition Don Bluth
Originally released in 1982, The Secret of NIMH was a dark, animated family feature that was ahead of its time, taking chances director Don Bluth’s ex-employer, Disney, wouldn’t take. With a little restoration this new DVD release continues to hold up today. As a child, the story of timid field mouse Mrs. Brisby crossing paths with the mysterious Rats of NIMH while trying to find a way to save her family from Farmer Fitzgibbons’s plough was funny, frightening and heart-warming, and it stayed with viewers into their adult years. Seeing it now, 25 years later, the story ends rather abruptly but it’s easy to see why this violent, scary movie was so frightening; it was a great alternative to the musical-based commercialism of Disney cartoons. Mrs. Brisby (voiced by Elizabeth Hartman, in her final role) grows into a strong female heroine by believing in herself; the rats demonstrate that greater intelligence must lead to greater responsibility; and underneath it all is a condemnation of animal testing. The two-disc Family Fun Edition comes in both widescreen and full screen versions, with accompanying commentary from Bluth and producer Gary Goldman. The commentary and the one featurette, "Secrets Behind the Secret,” reveal the history behind the first, and best, film for Don Bluth Productions, as well as the processes (both new and already established, at the time) used to create this innovative animation. They also discuss some of the controversial changes that were made when it was translated to the big screen from Robert C. O’Brien's book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, especially the addition of the magical amulet. For the advertised "family fun,” there are five original set-top games on the second disc and a few others included booklet that are likely to entertain the children, for a little while at least. (MGM)