The Secret of NimhUnited Artists/20th Century Fox
Suspenseful and heartwarming, this beautifully animated odyssey stars Mrs. Brisby, a mild-mannered mother mouse with a plan to move Heaven and Earth (or at least her house and home) to save her family from Farmer Fitzgibbon's plow! Along the way she gets some help from a lovelorn Crow, a busybody neighbor mouse and a fearsome Great Owl. Unfortunately, Mrs. Brisby will need an engineering miracle to hoist her home, and for that she must face a mysterious rat, fend off a ferocious cat and claim a magic amulet! But when Mrs. Brisby discovers the astounding secret of NIMH... it could change her life forever!
This was one of my favorite animated films growing up. It’s been quite sometime since I’ve seen it and I was really hoping the Blu-ray release would have a great restoration. Unfortunately this isn’t much better than the older standard definition transfers I’m used to. Wear and tear is quite visible throughout with some distracting artifacts, color shifting and even ghosting. The quality of the image can shift drastically mid-scene, though this doesn’t happen often. Colors are slightly washed out but better than I’ve seen in previous versions. Detail is on the soft side and the wear and tear takes it toll making the HD presentation look more like a midday screening on cable TV than a new Blu-ray release. It’s unfortunate since this is such a treasured classic for most animation fans. The DTS-HD Master Audio mix is stereo only but does a decent job with the material. The film’s age shows in its dynamic range with somewhat tinny voices and an utter lack of low end. The film’s music is probably the only real highlight and opens up the soundstage nicely.
Extras are pretty disappointing and include the theatrical trailer and a commentary with the creators.
Animated films don’t delve into the darker areas that this one did. Those days are gone. Bluth did a tremendous job with this one and despite its rather short runtime, it manages to still have some of the most memorable characters from my childhood years. The Blu-ray presentation is pretty disappointing but I’m glad to see it released in its original aspect ratio. Perhaps someday we’ll see a great restoration of this classic, but unfortunately this isn’t that day.