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Western Animation / The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue

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The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue is a 1998 Direct to Video Animated Musical produced by MGM Animation. It is the sequel to The Secret of NIMH but was made without involvement from Don Bluth.

In the film, Timothy Brisby, the youngest son of Jonathan and Mrs. Brisby, goes to Thorn Valley wanting to become a hero like his father. When his brother Martin goes missing, it's up to Timmy and his partner Jenny to journey to NIMH and not only rescue Martin, but the other animals trapped there as well.

The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Jenny, who is arguably more responsible in stopping Evil!Martin 's plans than Timmy. She does get a few odd Damsel in Distress moments however.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the original film, Timmy’s older sister Teresa has blue eyes, but here she has heterochromia; one eye is blue, and the other’s green (which is odd considering their father had brown eyes).
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Martin due to brainwashing.
  • Adults Are Useless: Every adult in Thorn Valley appears to have taken a level in jerkass in between the end of the first movie and the beginning of this one. For starters, they keep telling Timmy not to be so selfish, when they're the ones piling on the pressure and constantly comparing him to his father. Then, when somebody comes to them for help, they take her prisoner instead. (Okay, they say no because they believe the mission could be a risk to Thorn Valley's location especially since scientists from NIMH are apparently searching for their lost experimental animals at the beginning of the film). It doesn't quite befit their actions elsewhere in the movie, however, since they entrust several other people (including Jeremy of all people) with its location without holding them captive.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Timmy, at least three times over.
  • Age-Progression Song: "I Will Show the World", as Timmy sings from age 10 to 13, and finally to 17.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Especially jarring since they show clips from the original movie at the beginning.
  • Art Evolution: The sequel employs none of the harsh, dark imagery or highly intricate and realistic backgrounds that lent the original film its strong edge, and instead the animation, now using digital ink and paint, is bright and colorful (as well as noticeably cruder and lower budget) to supplant the much more kid-friendly tone of the sequel; this is made especially jarring after the opening prologue which consists of a montage of clips from the original film.
  • Ascended Extra: Though Timmy was a large plot point of the original movie, the character himself had little of a role or spotlight; he spent almost the entire film sick in bed, only having a single line of dialogue at the end. In the sequel he is in the starring role. This role promotion is identical to that of the book's sequels.
  • Badass Adorable: Timmy and Jenny are both cute-looking mice and have performed amazing feats.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: This may be the reason why Martin became evil. It's never clarified whether the electroshocks he received actually changed him on a physical level, or whether it just turned him nuts because it hurt.
  • But Now I Must Go: Timmy leaves his family behind to fulfill an off-screen prophecy in the valley.
  • The Chosen One: Timmy, and it's a point driven through the wall all throughout the movie, much to Timmy's own annoyance — and Martin's. Turns out it was a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jeremy's "Miss Right" from the end of the first film is not seen or even mentioned in the sequel.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jeremy isn't the most stable of characters. Martin under the influence of NIMH's experimentation may count as a villainous example.
  • Continuity Snarl: Probably to serve the film's blatant Excuse Plot; the film is very vague as to when the story takes place once it takes off, and centers on a prophecy not found in the original movie. Things like the absence of the Great Owl, the lack of acknowledgement Mrs. Brisby receives for her own heroism, the absence of the sacred stone, Jenny's parents having survived the fatal journey through the ventilation system among many other things do not help.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover usually has Muriel staring menacingly down upon Timmy and his friends. It is actually Dr. Valentine who's built up as the villain, only for it to be revealed that Evil!Martin is the true mastermind.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mrs. Brisby appears for only a few minutes of the opening scenes and a split second appearance in the ending.
    • In fact, with the exception of Timmy, nearly every character returning from the first film has a noticeably smaller role in the sequel.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "South by South by South".
    • And later "North by North by North".
  • Didn't Think This Through: Timmy is a constant victim of this, owed in no small part to his recklessness.
    • All of Thorn Valley can count for all their lavish praise of Timmy before he's done anything to earn it. It probably lent itself a lot to his aforementioned recklessness as he became impatient for the chance to prove himself, and probably resulting in Martin's Start of Darkness.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Martin's Villain Song. Good lord.
  • Disneyfication: Unlike the original, Rescue plays this straight, complete with musical numbers and numerous comic relief extras.
  • Disney Villain Death: Arguably Muriel and Floyd falling down an elevator shaft. The tone of this is comical, though the fact they aren't seen escaping NIMH as it is set ablaze leaves much doubt as to whether they survived.
  • Distant Duet: Timmy sings "All I Had Is Gone" with Jenny joining him near the end. Their duet is in split screen since they're imprisoned in different areas of NIMH.
  • Dreadful Musician: Not many of the people who have their own musical numbers in this movie can actually sing.
    • Eric Idle and Dom De Luise as usual kind of skirt around this, but their tendency to do so deliberately for laughs (in addition to the overwhelming Narm Charm in Idle's number) more than makes up for it.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Mrs. Brisby. The rats worship her husband for helping them but seem to forget that she warned them to move to Thorn Valley to escape from NIMH in the first movie. She doesn't even get a statue. For that matter neither does Nicodemus, who they seem to almost worship now.
    • Martin is hit with this bigtime, feeling like he's living in his younger brother's shadow and that nobody recognizes his potential to be great as has been done for Timmy. It gets him angry enough to run away from home and right into NIMH's clutches, which proves a major problem for everyone further down the road.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?:
    • Mrs. Brisby doesn't get a statue, despite being the hero of the first movie.
    • Jenny was just as responsible for saving Thorn Valley as the prophesied Timmy as well. She escaped NIMH alone, she went on a dangerous journey to Thorn Valley alone, and she was willing to go back and defeat the villains alone. She braved much greater dangers than Timmy, and later is, in fact, directly responsible for stopping the bad guy!
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy Is Torture: And it can also effectively brainwash people and animals. Dr. Valentine does it to Martin, who returns the favor and uses electricity on everyone around like a kid who found his dad's gun.
  • Evil Brit: Bizarrely, Martin gets a British accent when he's evil. After he turns back, his American accent returns.
  • Evil Sorcerer: While his powers are all based around technology, Martin certainly seems to enjoy the trappings of this trope. Complete with robe and staff.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Arguably one of the better parts is Martin's dramatically hammy performance in the later portion of the film performed by Eric Idle, who seems to have loads of fun delivering every last line. He doesn't just chew the scenery as Martin - he gobbles it up whole, shits it back out, and then gobbles it up again, rinse and repeat twice more. ("You'll be happy. Oh, so happy, if you just SAY YYYYYYYYEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!")
  • Excuse Plot: The prophecy surrounding Timmy is not mentioned in the original film.
  • Failure Hero: Timmy is a complex example of this; Although everyone around him insists that he will rise to be a great hero like his father before him, Timmy's inability to think things through due to his own impatience and brash manner often only leads to him and his friends getting into danger, and ultimately captured by Evil!Martin at NIMH itself.
    • Additionally, although he does thwart the invasion of Thorn Valley by Evil!Martin's minions, the manner in which this is accomplished comes off as rather anticlimactic; plus, it is not Timmy but Jenny who ultimately defeats Evil!Martin, and it is his friends who save the captives of NIMH as opposed to himself.
    • Finally, although NIMH is destroyed in the confusion Timmy creates inside the facility, most will pick up on the fact that he never actually does anything to destroy NIMH directly, the fires that destroyed NIMH being set entirely by accident.
    • That said, one must wonder what Timmy did to deserve either the praise of Thorn Valley or even the bloody statue awarded to him at the end...
  • Fangs Are Evil: Evil!Martin's teeth are pointed and fang-like to emphasize his role as a villain.
  • Fun with Acronyms: NIMH - National Institute of Mental Health, which is a real organization.
  • Glasses of Aging: A few years have passed since the first film and Mrs. Brisby is shown to wear glasses (and her Tuft of Head Fur is grey) as a visual indicator that she's become middle-aged.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Auntie Shrew ("Oh, to heck with him...").
  • Graceful in Their Element: Jeremy in the air, naturally.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The Brisby family. Most of the rats as well. It even makes a strange joke about the rats wearing underwear, but the characters are clearly still not wearing pants.
  • Heroic BSoD: Timmy when he and the others get captured by Dr. Valentine ( revealed to be Martin) and feels like he let everyone down including his late father. Luckily, Cecil arrives to cheer him up with a Rousing Speech.
  • Hollywood Healing: Martin's wounds (and even insanity) are cured at the end.
  • Humanoid Female Animal: Jenny has noticeable breasts, despite also being a rare female variant of Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Dr. Valentine subverts this trope: he appears to be this (in part due to Humans Are Cthulhu), but it actually turns out that the time he went "even madder than usual", as Jenny puts it, was when he was mind-controlled by Martin, the real bad guy.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Like in the first film, the Rats of NIMH see NIMH as an unstoppable force of evil. Dr. Valentine's character initially seems to confirm this, until it turns out he was mind-controlled by Martin, a mouse, most of the time.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Timmy, whose constant arrogance and tendency to act before he thinks often puts himself and worse yet his friends in danger all throughout the movie.
    • Martin to an extent, for having run away from home out of jealousy of Timmy even when NIMH was still about searching for the rats.
    • Everybody in Thorn Valley, for having been so eager to fashion Timmy into a hero because of Nicodemus' warning of worse things yet to come from NIMH; ironically, their actions in reverence to this prophecy may have inadvertently put their home at even greater risk than it otherwise would've been; see Self-Fulfilling Prophecy below.
  • Informed Ability: Timmy in a nutshell, as it has been prophesied that he'd rise up to be a great savior like his father before him to the rats of NIMH, and is thus groomed to follow in his footsteps while also being praised before such can occur. Absolutely no effort is made to explain why Martin lacks the leadership abilities that Timmy is predicted to gain, and one can argue it was all this lavish praise upon Timmy that led to him becoming arrogant in his older years and Martin to get himself captured when he ran away out of bitterness.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Evil!Martin with Jenny, intending on making himself a Brainwashed and Crazy spouse.
  • Ironic Echo: When Timmy first arrives in Thorn Valley, the inhabitants greet him with a song that includes the lines “Come on in to the greatest kind of life / To the best and the latest kind of life”. The exact same lines later appear in Martin’s villain song, with a very different connotation.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cecil the Caterpillar; despite being a con-man and a bit on the cowardly side, he goes out of his way to help out the protagonists with little motive. He is introduced saving Timmy and Jenny from an eagle.
  • The Klutz: Again, Jeremy.
  • Laughably Evil: Evil!Martin is a sadistic maniac who desires to have the whole of Thorn Valley destroyed For the Evulz. On the other hand he is also a Large Ham of the highest order and offers some of the funniest dialogue in the movie. Being voiced by Eric Idle helps as well.
  • Lighter and Softer/Denser and Wackier: Following the similar direction of the sequels to The Land Before Time, it converts the universe into a zany musical.
  • Lovable Rogue: Jeremy and Cecil, posing as the Great Owl and offering advice to animal civilians in exchange for "sparklies". The scheme is actually pretty successful until Jeremy's mask falls off...
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Evil!Martin also shows an occasional gaze of these, for relevant reasons.
  • Missing Child: The scene were Timmy reveals to Jenny that he had received a letter from his mother, telling him Martin had disappeared, and she had no idea what had happened to him. It becomes worse after The Reveal that Martin was captured and experimented on by NIMH.
  • Mouse World: Several, designed by the rats and mice of NIMH. Thorn Valley is the best example.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Mrs. Brisby is only mentioned as her Jonathon's widow in the opening narration.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Timmy is constantly guilty of this, rarely thinking his actions through and endangering his friends for it. It's thoroughly lampshaded throughout as Justin calls him out on his impulsiveness and Timothy himself tends to recognize his blunders only after the damage is done. Most egregiously, in NIMH he fails to watch the backs of his friends as they rescue the prisoners, resulting in their capture and the near-downfall of Thorn Valley.
    • The townspeople of Thorn Valley most definitely are worthy of note as it was their constant praise of Timothy through his youth before he's done anything that helped give rise to this overconfidence and thus led to his impatience when he was an adult finally being called into action. As such, it can be argued that they did more to endanger their home than they did to ensure its safety when NIMH returned to threaten them.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jeremy the Crow loses it when Timmy tells him the building they're flying toward is NIMH.
  • Parents in Distress: Jenny's parents get captured by NIMH and she goes on a quest, (along with Timmy) to save them.
  • Phrase Salad Lyrics: The song "Come Make the Most of Your Life" is full of random phrases which, together, make little to no sense.
    The tried and the true
    The newer than new
    The way that the world should be
    The safe and the sound
    What's left to be found
    The way that the whole wide world should be
  • Put on a Bus: The Great Owl is nowhere to be seen in the sequel, and is instead being impersonated by Jeremy as part of a con headed by Cecil.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Very mild version; Timmy just decides he's had enough of everyone's bullshit and helps Jenny escape via the Thorn Valley equivalent of a hot-air balloon.
  • Red Herring: Dr. Valentine is not a villain at all, in spite of looking the part of the Mad Scientist to a T. He was mind-controlled by Martin Brisby.
  • Save the Villain: Well, the villain is Timmy's brother, Martin, so he had a good excuse to save him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Jeremy and Cecil also refuse to join Timmy and Jenny in entering NIMH in the sequel (though both change their mind later on).
  • Selective Enforcement: The rats are very protective of Thorn's Valley's secrecy, even borderline holding residents hostage to avoid risk. This is despite the fact that characters such as Jeremy were shown freely entering and leaving it prior.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Had Timmy not been sent away to Thorn Valley, a large part of the film would never have happened. In fact, any of the Brisby children could have gone instead of Timmy and the film's plot would have been exactly the same. You can even go so far to say that if Timmy hadn't been prophesied to be a great hero, then Martin wouldn't have run off to prove that he could have been the hero, getting himself kidnapped and becoming Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Despite appearing only in flashbacks and being mentioned, The Great Owl is absent, because his voice actor John Carradine died back in 1988 before it was released.
  • Shout-Out: Jenny's parents' names are Troy and Helen McBride.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Like in the first movie, the comical Jeremy more or less disappears halfway through until the main climax is over. Cecil the Caterpillar is taken out briefly as well, though does get some involvement in the final action (see above).
  • Sissy Villain: Dr. Valentine might as well be called "the camp evil scientist that wears eye liner" (although he only appears to be a villain due to Humans Are Cthulhu and the real antagonist is in fact Martin, while Valentine was just doing his job.).
  • Suddenly Speaking: Brutus, who was a silent, intimidating presence in the original. Now he's a bumbling oaf serving as a source of comic relief.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Thorn Valley does a remarkably poor job preparing Timmy for a heroic role, giving him endless praise just for arriving. After he gets settled in, they give him menial jobs like shoveling snow and gardening instead of training him or giving him a good education. It comes back to bite them when their missions get jeopardized by Timmy's lack of discipline and understanding.
  • Sword Cane: Martin's cane has a blade hidden in it, and he uses it against Timmy during the climax.
  • Throw the Book at Them: How Evil Martin is defeated.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Though his raising of Timmy is questionable like the rest of the rats, Mr. Ages is far less acerbic and grumpy than he was in the first film.
    • Though they were far from Jerkasses in the first place, the Brisby family and Auntie Shrew seem to be on much softer terms with Jeremy by this point, compared to the first where they could just barely tolerate him.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Timmy, Good God....Timmy. For all he's built up to be, his recklessness causes considerable trouble for everyone before he makes up for it.
  • Villain Song: "If You Just Say Yes", sung by Evil!Martin. Doubles as a Villain Recruitment Song, since he was trying to convince Timmy to join him.
  • Villainous Crush: Partially straight with Martin and Jenny. He wanted to make Jenny his queen by lobotomizing her, but Tim managed to stop him in time.
  • We Can Rule Together: Evil!Martin to Timmy, with the added bonus of some sort of implied lobotomy so Timmy will be just as evil and oh so happy as him.
  • Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: When Evil Martin locks Timmy up, the bars are clearly wide enough for him to squeeze through.
  • Vocal Evolution: In-Universe, the effects of NIMH's experiments convert Martin's voice into Eric Idle for some reason. When he's un-brainwashed, he reverts to being a youthful-sounding American.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: "So, Timmy, your dad was practically a living god. We just can't stop praising him, and since some random prophecy said you were going to be the hero of this movie, we WILL make you be just like him. No complaints. Questions?"
  • You Are Fat: Timmy comments that Martin "should have skipped a few desserts" while helping him escape the inferno at NIMH.

Alternative Title(s): The Secret Of NIMH 2