Disney (Wednes)Day: The Great Mouse Detective

I have not seen of heard of The Great Mouse Detective before today which probably doesn’t bode well when you think about last weeks disaster. Anyway, the movie was released in 1986 (the year my parents got married, ugh) and the title sounds promising. Mostly because Mini!Me always wanted to be a PI so let’s begin, shall we?!

A title card informs us that we find ourselves in London, the year 1897. In a toy shop, a father gives his little daughter a present he made for her, a doll and this is a very sweet gesture I guess. The nice family times are interrupted by someone banging on the door though. Ever the quick thinker, the father puts his little girl into a cupboard to keep her safe while he is being kidnapped by some weird looking bat. After they are gone, the girl leaves her hiding spot and we cut to our regular title cards.

Some street in London, a voice over voice overs about the situation in London and how he just arrived back from the war in Afghanistan. Inside a horse carriage we see a man that looks awfully like Dr. John Watson from the Sherlock Holmes canon but we in fact cut to a mouse looking fairly similar on top of said carriage. Bummer, I had the high hopes this would be a detective story with Mickey Mouse since I loved those as a kid. Oh well.

Mouse!Watson (he has a different name in this movie but I don’t even care to look it up since it’s glaringly obvious where this is headed) is currently looking for a place to stay. As he walks through the streets he hears a sobbing and finds the little mouse girl (which I now remember I haven’t mentioned was a mouse but I guess the title already gave that away) from before. She is sad and lost and it’s heartbreaking. Apparently she is looking for someone in Baker Street and Mouse!Watson offers to take her there as he remembers where that is. The little girl’s name is Olivia btw.

221B Baker Street. The ‘camera’ (well it really isn’t the camera as this is an animated movie but what else shall I call this, right?) shows a guy playing his viola in an upstair room and he is clearly Sherlock Holmes but as the ‘camera’ pans downward we find ourselves in front of a much smaller door of Mouse!Holmes who isn’t home.

The house keeper lets the two in anyway and after a brief moment, Mouse!Holmes enters in disguise. He doesn’t take much notice of the little girl and isn’t interested in what she has to say which I find incredibly rude.

Mouse!Holmes is really mad about losing a clue or something and it takes a while for Olivia to get through to him. The mention of a bat taking her father gets Mouse!Holmes though. We are treated to some heavy exposition work about Rat King who apparently is the biggest baddy in town because OBVIOUSLY!

Cut to Olivia’s dad building some kind of mechanical doll/robot while Rat King is overlooking it all. He makes a list with which he sends out the bat to gather things he needs for some plan he is having.

At a gathering of all evil spirits of London, Rat King explains what he has planned for overthrowing the government and because this is a Disney movie he is contractually obligated to sing a song which he does.

Rat King plays his harp (how very cultured of him) and complains about some interfering detective which we can safely guess is Mouse!Holmes. Rat King does have quite the temper so when one of his minions says something wrong, he gets killed off. Death by Felicia, a huge, fat cat that eats the poor mouse minion. Womp, womp. This reigns the rest of the crowd back in and the festivities and booze flowing continues.

221B Baker Street, Olivia explains what she saw while she was hiding during her fathers kidnapping. Mouse!Holmes starts detecting the shit out of the few clues Olivia just gave him because he is Sherlock Holmes. The bat looks into the window and freaks Olivia out. Mouse!Holmes goes to investigate but only finds a hat the bat left behind.

In some weird room the trio goes to meet Toby a blood hound whom they are going to use to find whoever left the hat. Off they go after the bat!

Cut to said bat doing some B&E. He conveniently leaves his shopping stealing list behind for Mouse!Holmes and his gang to find a little bit later after they found a way to get inside the place. Mouse!Holmes does some detecting and deducing and he doesn’t seem like the Sherlock Holmes I have in my head, far less confident and able than he seems in the books. I also don’t like how Watson is portrayed as the idiot companion who has no clue of what is going on and is only there to glorify Sherlock Holmes. This however, is a problem I also have while reading the books. The more modern adaptions of the book series have done a better way at including Watson and utilising him in my opinion. Back to the story at hand though.

The bat is watching as they investigate. Apparently he has stolen a whole lot of uniforms from the Queen’s guards puppets. Suddenly all the mechanical toys in the store start moving and Olivia goes to look at some weird bed thingy in which the bat is hiding. Whelp, Olivia is now kidnapped as well.

Mouse!Watson sads about losing Olivia which I give him credit for and Mouse!Holmes tries to think of a way to get her back when Mouse!Watson suddenly remembers finding the stealing list from before.

Cut to Olivia’s dad who is kept ins one dark room assembling the mechanical toy robot. Rat King appears with Olivia but the family reunion is short lived. Rat King is also very pleased with the bat’s B&E but gets mighty angry when the bat mentions losing his list. Whoopsie! Felicia is called but apparently they are not good at digesting bats so he is spared.

221B Baker Street where Mouse!Holmes does a lot of deducing to find out where to go next. After he figures it out they take Toby and off they go. Toby is easily my favourite in this movie though his face reminds me a lot of Copper from The Fox and the Hound.

Mouse!Watson is in a terrible pirate costume as they are about to enter some shady pub in the docks to do some investigating. A juggling squid gets booed off stage and a fight amongst the customers is almost starting when a cute mouse lady appears on stage and starts singing.

The drinks of Mouse!Watson and Mouse!Holmes get spiked but Watson doesn’t notice and he gets roofied or whatever the 19th century equivalent to that is. After the song is over a fight breaks out though Mouse!Holmes has found what he was looking for and they follow the bat. Only it was a trap and they are welcomed by Rat King and his minions.

Rat King explains in great detail how he plans to kill the both of them off but doesn’t stay long enough to actually see it happen. Mouse!Holmes laments about what a fool he has been and is all sad so Mouse!Watson needs to reassure him. Just when it looks like it’s too late, Mouse!Holmes figures out a way to free them. See, this is why you always stay around long enough to make sure your enemies are really dead. #ImportantDisneyLifeLessons

At the Queen’s coronation, the plan is to infiltrate her quarters and take over from there I guess. She gets captured and replaced by the thing Olivia’s dad has been working on. It really is a terrible replica and how anybody could be fooled by that is beyond me. Replacement!Queen announces her Royal Consultant who is none other that Rat King in fancy clothes. He has a millionty point plan for the kingdom and Replacement!Queen agrees to everything.

But fear not as Mouse!Holmes arrives just in time to expose Rat King. Huzzah! Rat King however get a hold of the previously freed Olivia again because there is still time left in this movie to be filled with useless plot.

Chase scene, Rat King crashes into Big Ben where they all almost die but Mouse!Holmes doesn’t and he manages to safe Olivia as well.

221B Baker Street. Everything is well that ends well. Olivia and her dad are finally reunited for good and Mouse!Sherlock gets rewarded by her Majesty for his great service or something. Mouse!Watson is all about leaving and finding himself a home because that was what he was king before he ran into Olivia and Mouse!Holmes suggests he stay with him. Just then the hot mouse girl from the bar that sang on stage knocks and presents them with a new case.

Mouse!Watson voice overs about the rest of their lives.

The End.

Now this certainly wasn’t as terrible as The Black Cauldron but it wasn’t all that good. It was a very standard take on the Sherlock Holmes series, one that I may have been exposed to too much by now to find it appealing anymore. As a kids movie for those that never heard of Sherlock Holmes before though this is probably a neat introduction to him. The movie also doesn’t come close to the awesomeness of The Rescuers. They did a way better job at being detectives while also being mice.

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  • My sister and I adored this movie as kids… Haven’t seen it years, though. We both grew up with Sherlock and other detective stories, so as kids this was a fun and silly adventure with lots of connections we could spot to those other more serious stories we also loved. We were quoting it into our teens…

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I can really see you liking this as a kid, I would have done the same I guess but it’s just a little bit painful to watch as an adult.

      • Yeah, revisiting things I loved as a kid tends to be a bit…iffy. There’s a lot of questioning my taste for some of the things. And for others, there’s a lot of “what the hell were my parents thinking letting me watch this when I was little”… Anyway, I feel like if I rewatched this I would be wearing rose-colored nostalgia glasses, but coming at it fresh without the history I can totally see a bit of #nope reaction.

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          I know the feeling. There are these audio plays I loved as a kid and teenager but when I revisited them a couple of years ago I was kinda shocked. I plan on re-reading my The Five books sometime in the not so distant future, hwo knows how that will end.

          • Good luck…!

  • EmilyHornburg

    I remember I LOVED this movie when I was a kid. Then I watched it on Netflix not long ago and I was like “WTF” cause some of it was pretty disturbing and um… mouse stripper lady and such.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Oh, yes, mouse stripper. Also the characters just seem so out of character for my understanding of Sherlock and Watson, I could hardly watch past that.

  • Return to the ’80s (Paul)

    I remember when this movie came out, but I never saw it. It sounds kind of forgettable. If it was very successful, I’m sure they would have had a series of movies.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      It was kind of forgettable and don’t worry about never having seen it. You didn’t really miss much.