Retro Reviews: Secret of NIMH

One of the things about Netflix Watch it Now is that I keep coming across old movies from my childhood and watching them while making dinner/folding laundry/cleaning bottles and pump parts. The other day, I came across the Don Bluth cartoon, The Secret of NIMH.

I don’t know anyone from my generation who, confronted with a long list of government health agencies, couldn’t pull NIMH out of the line up due to this movie, or the Newberry award-winning children’s book it was based on (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH). I’ve never read the book, but those Newberry folks usually know what they’re talking about, so I’m sure it’s great.

(In passing, though I knew the book title had the main characters’ name in it and specifically referenced the rats, rather than the “secret”, I didn’t know until just now that the movie had changed the character’s name from Mrs. Frisby to Mrs. Brisby. I’m guessing because of Frisbees.)

It’s very weird to view beloved old children’s movies from the other side. I actually shouted “no way!” at the screen when I saw in the credits that two of the Brisby children are voiced by Shannen Doherty and Wil Wheaton. I was also a little confused on how “intelligence-boosting” injections made Nicodemus capable of crafting magic crystal balls that can show Mrs. Brisby dramatic re-enactments of what happened to them and Jonathan capable of crafting magic amulets that convey upon the wearer all the powers of Yoda.

(Seriously, the climactic scene with the cinder block is pretty much Yoda and the X-wing in the swamps of Dagoba. The story went from Flowers for Algernon to Star Wars.)

Which is not to say I didn’t love it. Despite how little I remembered about the plot, I was surprised how many imagines I recalled, how many lines I knew by heart. What should that space in my brain be doing instead of remembering all the lines in The Secret of NIMH? I shudder to think.

Also, I might as well let y’all know right now. There’s a character in For Darkness Shows the Stars named Nicodemus. I named him that because of this film.

Posted in diversions, movies

6 Responses to Retro Reviews: Secret of NIMH

  1. I love this book and movie — in fact, I own both and read it with my sixth grade class a few years back.

    The scene with the birdcage? And Jeremy and his love of sparklies? Justin was one of my first cinematic crushes 🙂

    I may have to dig out my VHS.

  2. Aurelya says:

    Too funny. My husband and I remember the movie and regularly refer to shiny objects as “a sparkly!”

  3. Diana says:

    Judging by the comments, here and on Twitter, Jeremy was a favorite character for a lot of people. I found him kind of grating. I also don’t know why it was never explained how he escaped from the children when he was supposed to be “babysitting.”

  4. Virginia says:

    I was never allowed to watch this movie growing up. My mom heard it was dark so no Secret of NIMH for us. Now that I’m all grown up I’ll have to check it out.

  5. Annie says:

    This was a childhood favorite of mine and I happened to find it on DVD some years ago and snatched it up. I try to watch it once a year. I am looking forward to sharing it with the girls.

  6. Tiff says:

    I’m a shame-faced children’s lit aficionado…I’ve never read or watched NIMH. Maybe I’ll grab it from the library now?

    Love the voicing by Shannen and Wil…=P