History WesternAnimation / TheSecretOfNIMH

13th Feb '16 10:02:06 PM grapesandmilk
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* YouDirtyRat: Averted for the most part. The rats even gain a sense of morality and even consider it wrong to steal from humans, the very species who locked them up and experimented on them. However, this trope is played frighteningly straight with Jenner.

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* YouDirtyRat: Averted for the most part. The rats even gain a sense of morality and even consider it wrong to steal from humans, the very species who locked them up and experimented on them. However, this trope is played frighteningly straight with Jenner.
1st Feb '16 10:22:29 PM EBsessed
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* ThrowTheDogABone: After all the comedic abuse he suffers throughout the film, Jeremy finally gets his "Miss Right", whose conveniently just as clumsy and dippy as he is.

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* ThrowTheDogABone: After all the comedic abuse he suffers throughout the film, Jeremy finally gets his "Miss Right", whose who's conveniently just as clumsy and dippy as he is.
1st Feb '16 10:20:39 PM EBsessed
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** In the [[http://www.cataroo.com/DBnimh.html section about NIMH]] in Don Bluth's biography, animator John Pomeroy talks about the films subtleties, even going as far as pointing out the implication that the Rats of NIMH possibly '''never truly existed'''.

to:

** In the [[http://www.cataroo.com/DBnimh.html section about NIMH]] in Don Bluth's biography, animator John Pomeroy talks about the films film's subtleties, even going as far as pointing out the implication that the Rats of NIMH possibly '''never truly existed'''.
1st Feb '16 9:47:59 PM EBsessed
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* Reversal of Smarts: Jeremy and the Great Owl. In real life, crows are smarter than owls.
1st Feb '16 9:43:21 PM EBsessed
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''The Secret of NIMH'' is Creator/DonBluth's first feature-length film; it is based ''[[AdaptationDistillation very]]'' [[AdaptationDistillation loosely]] on Robert C. O'Brien's Newbery Medal Award-winning novel ''Literature/MrsFrisbyAndTheRatsOfNIMH''.

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''The Secret of NIMH'' is Creator/DonBluth's first feature-length film; it film. It is based ''[[AdaptationDistillation very]]'' [[AdaptationDistillation loosely]] on Robert C. O'Brien's Newbery Medal Award-winning novel ''Literature/MrsFrisbyAndTheRatsOfNIMH''.



''The Secret of NIMH'' was Don Bluth's first feature film after leaving Disney; it was even produced a decade after Disney itself had turned down adapting the original story. Bluth used traditional tools and methods as a way of fighting back against the movement towards lower production costs (and lower quality animation). Produced by United Artists, which had just recently folded into MGM, the film was commercially a moderate box office success, costing $7 million and earning $14 million; this modest revenue was, in part, due to competition with ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial''. ''NIMH'' eventually managed to seduce the director of ''E.T.'', Creator/StevenSpielberg, into teaming up with Bluth; together, they made two rather high-grossing animated films: ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime''.

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''The Secret of NIMH'' was Don Bluth's first feature film after leaving Disney; it was even produced a decade after Disney itself had turned down adapting the original story. Bluth used traditional tools and methods as a way of fighting back against the movement towards lower production costs (and lower quality animation). Produced by United Artists, which had just recently folded into MGM, the film was commercially a moderate box office success, costing $7 million and earning $14 million; this million. This modest revenue was, in part, due to competition with ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial''. ''NIMH'' eventually managed to seduce the director of ''E.T.'', Creator/StevenSpielberg, into teaming up with Bluth; together, Bluth. Together, they made two rather high-grossing animated films: ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime''.



* AirVentPassageway: Seen in the flashback to the labs. {{Justified|Trope}}; ...they're rats.

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* AirVentPassageway: Seen in the flashback to the labs. {{Justified|Trope}}; ...{{Justified|Trope}}...they're rats.



** [[spoiler: Jenner]] also is promoted to the movie's BigBad; in the book, he's only mentioned in the backstory.

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** [[spoiler: Jenner]] also is promoted to the movie's BigBad; BigBad while in the book, book he's only mentioned in the backstory.



* ButtMonkey: Jeremy, a lonely compassionate crow who just wants to help out and find love; unfortunately, he is also a hapless klutz, tending to cause more problems than he solves. He's constantly reprimanded by [[BewareTheNiceOnes Mrs. Brisby]] until she eventually gets rid of him by having him see to [[YouGetMeCoffee trivial minor duties]], both of which he fails miserably with, too. He does at least get his "Miss Right" at the end of it, though.

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* ButtMonkey: Jeremy, a lonely compassionate crow who just wants to help out and find love; unfortunately, love. Unfortunately, he is also a hapless klutz, tending to cause more problems than he solves. He's constantly reprimanded by [[BewareTheNiceOnes Mrs. Brisby]] until she eventually gets rid of him by having him see to [[YouGetMeCoffee trivial minor duties]], both of which he fails miserably with, too. He does at least get his "Miss Right" at the end of it, though.



* DarkIsNotEvil: The Great Owl, who is neutral. Also, Nicodemus; not only is he scary and ugly (the "ugly" being mostly because of how [[UncannyValley disturbingly anthropomorphic he is]]), but also actually quite dark in himself (largely thanks to the fact that the colours in the movie are [[RealIsBrown quite dull and brown]], as was the style in fantastic films of the time).

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* DarkIsNotEvil: The Great Owl, who is neutral. Also, Nicodemus; Also Nicodemus, because not only is he scary and ugly (the "ugly" being mostly because of how [[UncannyValley disturbingly anthropomorphic he is]]), but also actually quite dark in himself (largely thanks to the fact that the colours in the movie are [[RealIsBrown quite dull and brown]], as was the style in fantastic films of the time).



** In a way, this trope is {{double subverted}}; while Mrs. Brisby goes through much more hardship than in the book, this allows more emphasis on the power of courage and love. The theme was absent in the original book in favour of a greater focus on the rats' responsibility to stop stealing (which was itself mentioned in the film, although it was more about the moral issues of stealing rather than the practical ones).

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** In a way, this trope is {{double subverted}}; while subverted}}. While Mrs. Brisby goes through much more hardship than in the book, this allows more emphasis on the power of courage and love. The theme was absent in the original book in favour of a greater focus on the rats' responsibility to stop stealing (which was itself mentioned in the film, although it was more about the moral issues of stealing rather than the practical ones).



* FlatCharacter: Timothy in the first film; he has exactly one line of dialogue, and is little more than a bed-ridden plot device that gives Mrs. Brisby a reason to go on her adventure.

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* FlatCharacter: Timothy in the first film; film, as he has exactly one line of dialogue, and is little more than a bed-ridden plot device that gives Mrs. Brisby a reason to go on her adventure.



** This in turn gets Mrs. Brisby wrapped in ''[[FromBadToWorse another]]'' [[FromBadToWorse source of conflict]]; Jenner trying to sabotage the rats' moving plans by [[spoiler: murdering Nicodemus in a staged accident while they're moving Mrs. Brisby's house]], so in turn he can usurp leadership of the rats of NIMH. And ''then'' [[spoiler: once he sees Mrs. Brisby has the stone Nicodemus gives her, he changes his motive on a whim and tries to kill her to get it.]]

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** This in turn gets Mrs. Brisby wrapped in ''[[FromBadToWorse another]]'' [[FromBadToWorse source of conflict]]; conflict]]. Jenner trying tries to sabotage the rats' moving plans by [[spoiler: murdering Nicodemus in a staged accident while they're moving Mrs. Brisby's house]], so in turn he can usurp leadership of the rats of NIMH. And ''then'' [[spoiler: once he sees Mrs. Brisby has the stone Nicodemus gives her, he changes his motive on a whim and tries to kill her to get it.]]



* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: In the movie, how the uplifted mice and rats manage to make their way out of the labyrinthine building their lab is in. The book describes their escape in detail; the movie limits it to a couple of brief scenes (albeit one that's pure, distilled NightmareFuel).

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* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: In the movie, how the uplifted mice and rats manage to make their way out of the labyrinthine building their lab is in. The book describes their escape in detail; detail while the movie limits it to a couple of brief scenes (albeit one that's pure, distilled NightmareFuel).



** Mrs. Brisby as a peasant girl, beset by forces beyond her understanding;
** Mr. Ages as the grumpy local apothecary (and GadgeteerGenius);
** Auntie Shrew as the Town Crier and gossip (and very useful when danger comes calling);
** Jeremy as the helpful but bumbling village idiot (Any crow flock would certainly consider ''him'' an idiot!);
** The rats as a powerful [[HiddenElfVillage Hidden Elf Kingdom]], complete with court intrigue;

to:

** Mrs. Brisby as a peasant girl, beset by forces beyond her understanding;
understanding.
** Mr. Ages as the grumpy local apothecary (and GadgeteerGenius);
GadgeteerGenius).
** Auntie Shrew as the Town Crier and gossip (and very useful when danger comes calling);
calling).
** Jeremy as the helpful but bumbling village idiot (Any crow flock would certainly consider ''him'' an idiot!);
idiot!).
** The rats as a powerful [[HiddenElfVillage Hidden Elf Kingdom]], complete with court intrigue;intrigue.



** WordOfGod: [[http://www.adammcdaniel.com/DonBluth/Don_Bluth_Interview3.htm Don Bluth mentioned]] that they were meant to be mirror images of one another; both "godlike" in their own realms and thus styled very similarly, which would explain the close alliance they had.

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** WordOfGod: [[http://www.adammcdaniel.com/DonBluth/Don_Bluth_Interview3.htm Don Bluth mentioned]] that they were meant to be mirror images of one another; another, both "godlike" in their own realms and thus styled very similarly, which would explain the close alliance they had.



* NoControlGroup: Averted; in the flashback, when Nicodemus escapes from his cage, the row below his are clearly marked "CONTROL GROUP" (though this was hard to make out in the [=VHS=] version). The book more clearly mentions them. In the film, they're using wild-caught specimens, which rather negates the control group in RealLife with lab animals that you can buy from breeders. (Yes, there are purebred lines of lab rats and mice.)

to:

* NoControlGroup: Averted; in Averted. In the flashback, when Nicodemus escapes from his cage, the row below his are clearly marked "CONTROL GROUP" (though this was hard to make out in the [=VHS=] version). The book more clearly mentions them. In the film, they're using wild-caught specimens, which rather negates the control group in RealLife with lab animals that you can buy from breeders. (Yes, there are purebred lines of lab rats and mice.)



* PlotHole: There are several plotholes in the film, some of them being [[AdaptationInducedPlotHole a result of changes from the book]];
** The most notable is the source of the Amulet Nicodemus gives Mrs. Brisby. In fact, Nicodemus' magic powers in general. The film never explains where either came from. It's not even addressed if Nicodemus got those abilities as a side effect of the injection (which would raise questions about why the other rats got no such abilities) or if he was intelligent enough to learn them on his own. Years later, Don Bluth handwaved the presence of the amulet [[http://www.adammcdaniel.com/DonBluth/Don_Bluth_Interview3.htm in an interview]];

to:

* PlotHole: There are several plotholes in the film, some of them being [[AdaptationInducedPlotHole a result of changes from the book]];
book]].
** The most notable is the source of the Amulet Nicodemus gives Mrs. Brisby. In fact, Nicodemus' magic powers in general. The film never explains where either came from. It's not even addressed if Nicodemus got those abilities as a side effect of the injection (which would raise questions about why the other rats got no such abilities) or if he was intelligent enough to learn them on his own. Years later, Don Bluth handwaved the presence of the amulet [[http://www.adammcdaniel.com/DonBluth/Don_Bluth_Interview3.htm in an interview]];interview]]:



** And then a third element of this is added in the climax; the scientists of NIMH get word that their rats are in the thorn bush, and are on their way to exterminate them. Mrs. Brisby overhears Fitzgibbon talking them to them about it over the phone, and she rushes off to warn the Rats to get out as soon as possible.
* RandomEventsPlot / KudzuPlot: Don intentionally structured and paced the film like a novel more than a standard animated movie, believing it allowed more subtext to be incorporated into the film. The plot starts off fairly straightforward (Mrs. Brisby is coping with the loss of her husband and has to save her sick kid from harm) with some backstory foreshadowed a couple times and having a very minor subplot of Jeremy the Crow trying to find a love interest. Half an hour into the film, when Mrs. Brisby enters the rose bush and finds the Rats of NIMH, the film veers way off the main plot and into a grand total of ''[[FourLinesAllWaiting four]]'' [[FourLinesAllWaiting other plots, largely consisting of subplots and backstory]]; the Rats coming to terms with their newfound intelligence and responsibilities, Nicodemus helping Mrs. Brisby out of obligation and coping with the rats situation, Jenner trying to stage a coup to upsurp power, and NIMH trying to seek out and destroy the rats. This half is practically its own self contained story, and has little relevance to the main conflict other than [[FromBadToWorse the additional problems they unwittingly bring in]]--the only thing that directly ties them into it is that Mrs. Brisby was related to one of their own kind, Jonathan, and gets their help [[NeverASelfMadeWoman solely because of that]]). Throw in some unexplained loose ends (just where did Nicodemus get that amulet or those magic powers?) and the plot can ultimately feel rather disjointed. Much of this was a result of changes from the book, namely playing up Mrs. Brisby's role in the story (the Rats were the central characters of the novel, with Mrs. Brisby being [[AudienceSurrogate a vehicle for the audience]]), adding magical fantasy elements (Nicodemus had none of his supernatural powers in the book), and upgrading a minor character (Jenner) into the villain (the book had no real antagonist).

to:

** And then a third element of this is added in the climax; the climax. The scientists of NIMH get word that their rats are in the thorn bush, and are on their way to exterminate them. Mrs. Brisby overhears Fitzgibbon talking them to them about it over the phone, and she rushes off to warn the Rats to get out as soon as possible.
* RandomEventsPlot / KudzuPlot: Don intentionally structured and paced the film like a novel more than a standard animated movie, believing it allowed more subtext to be incorporated into the film. The plot starts off fairly straightforward (Mrs. Brisby is coping with the loss of her husband and has to save her sick kid from harm) with some backstory foreshadowed a couple times and having a very minor subplot of Jeremy the Crow trying to find a love interest. Half an hour into the film, when Mrs. Brisby enters the rose bush and finds the Rats of NIMH, the film veers way off the main plot and into a grand total of ''[[FourLinesAllWaiting four]]'' [[FourLinesAllWaiting other plots, largely consisting of subplots and backstory]]; backstory]]: the Rats coming to terms with their newfound intelligence and responsibilities, Nicodemus helping Mrs. Brisby out of obligation and coping with the rats situation, Jenner trying to stage a coup to upsurp power, and NIMH trying to seek out and destroy the rats. This half is practically its own self contained story, and has little relevance to the main conflict other than [[FromBadToWorse the additional problems they unwittingly bring in]]--the only thing that directly ties them into it is that Mrs. Brisby was related to one of their own kind, Jonathan, and gets their help [[NeverASelfMadeWoman solely because of that]]). Throw in some unexplained loose ends (just where did Nicodemus get that amulet or those magic powers?) and the plot can ultimately feel rather disjointed. Much of this was a result of changes from the book, namely playing up Mrs. Brisby's role in the story (the Rats were the central characters of the novel, with Mrs. Brisby being [[AudienceSurrogate a vehicle for the audience]]), adding magical fantasy elements (Nicodemus had none of his supernatural powers in the book), and upgrading a minor character (Jenner) into the villain (the book had no real antagonist).



* RedStringOfFate: This may or may not be an intentional usage; when Mrs. Brisby first meets Jeremy, he is tangled in red string, which he is retrieving to build a "love nest" for his future "Mrs. Right".
* TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation: One of the (if not ''the'') real instigators of it; animated films hadn't been made as seriously as this for quite a while when it came out and it would still be a few good years before ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' was made.

to:

* RedStringOfFate: This may or may not be an intentional usage; when usage. When Mrs. Brisby first meets Jeremy, he is tangled in red string, which he is retrieving to build a "love nest" for his future "Mrs. Right".
* TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation: One of the (if not ''the'') real instigators of it; animated it. Animated films hadn't been made as seriously as this for quite a while when it came out out, and it would still be a few good years before ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' was made.



** It also goes right along with the idea of the whole thing being a HeroicFantasy; ''of course'' our medieval warriors would have swords, the rest of their technology being {{Magitek}}.

to:

** It also goes right along with the idea of the whole thing being a HeroicFantasy; ''of HeroicFantasy. ''Of course'' our medieval warriors would have swords, the rest of their technology being {{Magitek}}.



** In the [[http://www.cataroo.com/DBnimh.html section about NIMH]] in Don Bluth's biography, animator John Pomeroy talks about the films subtleties, even going as far as pointing out the implication that the Rats of NIMH possibly '''never truly existed''';

to:

** In the [[http://www.cataroo.com/DBnimh.html section about NIMH]] in Don Bluth's biography, animator John Pomeroy talks about the films subtleties, even going as far as pointing out the implication that the Rats of NIMH possibly '''never truly existed'''; existed'''.



* TruthInTelevision: The research lab the rats and mice break out of is based off the real-life National Institutes of Health [[https://www.training.nih.gov/assets/Building_10.jpg Building 10]], the largest hospital in the U.S., where all their clinical trials (and many animal labs) are located. The picture shows about a quarter of the building; it's as big as a ''city block'', and ''people'' get lost in there routinely. Try to imagine escaping from a building that size if you are a rat or mouse...

to:

* TruthInTelevision: The research lab the rats and mice break out of is based off the real-life National Institutes of Health [[https://www.training.nih.gov/assets/Building_10.jpg Building 10]], the largest hospital in the U.S., where all their clinical trials (and many animal labs) are located. The picture shows about a quarter of the building; building and it's as big as a ''city block'', and ''people'' get lost in there routinely. Try to imagine escaping from a building that size if you are a rat or mouse...
1st Feb '16 9:34:49 PM EBsessed
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** And then a third element of this is added in the climax; the scientists of NIMH get word that their rats are in the thorn bush, and are on their way to exterminate them. Mrs. Brisby overhears Fitzgibbons talking them to them about it over the phone, and she rushes off to warn the Rats to get out as soon as possible.

to:

** And then a third element of this is added in the climax; the scientists of NIMH get word that their rats are in the thorn bush, and are on their way to exterminate them. Mrs. Brisby overhears Fitzgibbons Fitzgibbon talking them to them about it over the phone, and she rushes off to warn the Rats to get out as soon as possible.
1st Feb '16 9:34:30 PM EBsessed
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** The film never really makes a distinction about how much more intelligent the Rats are than animals, other than the obvious results of scientific progress and the self consciousness of humanlike responsibility shifted onto them. The other animals are clearly capable of communication, rational thought and thinking skills like decision making and deductive reasoning. Did the injection simply give the Rats a bigger idea of comprehension than the other animals?

to:

** The film never really makes a distinction about how much more intelligent the Rats rats are than other animals, other than aside from the obvious results of scientific progress and the self consciousness of humanlike responsibility shifted onto them. The other animals are clearly capable of communication, rational thought and thinking skills like decision making and deductive reasoning. Did the injection simply give the Rats rats a bigger idea of comprehension than the other animals?



** And why does Mr. Ages have a makeshift lab built inside a giant piece of farm equipment? Since he doesn't like visitors anyway, wouldn't It have been safer to keep the lab within the boundaries of the Rats lair, instead of putting himself in a situation that could call to attention his above average knowledge of science and medicine to outsiders?[[note]]also note that in the book, he lived in a much more sensible hideout--an old, long abandoned building.[[/note]]

to:

** And why does Mr. Ages have a makeshift lab built inside a giant piece of farm equipment? Since he doesn't like visitors anyway, wouldn't It have been safer to keep the lab within the boundaries of the Rats rats' lair, instead of putting himself in a situation that could call to attention his above average knowledge of science and medicine to outsiders?[[note]]also note that in the book, he lived in a much more sensible hideout--an old, long abandoned building.[[/note]]



** The threat of Fitzgibbons plow destroying Mrs. Brisby's home and killing Timmy inside is the driving conflict of the movie, which makes her seek out the aid of the Rats of NIMH in order to move her house to safety in time.

to:

** The threat of Fitzgibbons Fitzgibbon's plow destroying Mrs. Brisby's home and killing Timmy inside is the driving conflict of the movie, which makes her seek out the aid of the Rats of NIMH in order to move her house to safety in time.
1st Feb '16 9:32:27 PM EBsessed
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* QuicksandSucks: [[spoiler:A house made from a cinder block is disposed of like this-after being dropped by crane onto Nicodemus. As a murder weapon. The residents are also still inside.]]

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* QuicksandSucks: [[spoiler:A house made from a cinder block is disposed of like this-after this after being dropped by crane onto Nicodemus. As a murder weapon. The residents are also still inside.]]
31st Jan '16 2:02:00 PM EBsessed
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* NeverSayDie: Averted, consistently, in that even the youngest characters confront death head on and discuss the possibility openly.

to:

* NeverSayDie: Averted, consistently, in that even the youngest characters confront death head on and discuss the possibility openly. Bluth films are actually famous for handling the subject of death very well, in a frank and realistic manner, especially for family films.
31st Jan '16 1:46:08 PM EBsessed
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* LegoGenetics: An odd injection is enough to completely alter the Rats DNA and make them intelligent enough to do things like reading and building advanced scientific equipment, in addition to giving them abnormally long life spans. In real life, an injection that huge would be more likely give them heart failure than make them smarter.

to:

* LegoGenetics: An odd injection is enough to completely alter the Rats rats' DNA and make them intelligent enough to do things like reading and building advanced scientific equipment, in addition to giving them abnormally long life spans. In real life, an injection that huge would be more likely give them heart failure than make them smarter.
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