I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan for a few years now. I've only read a couple of the original stories (I own a bind-up of most of them and I'm always intending to read more!). But BBC's Sherlock is one of my favorite shows, and I've seen (and enjoyed) most of the Granada series from the 80s.
I knew that this movie was inspired by the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I didn't realize that it's basically just a kids' version! :) I was pleasantly surprised with this one.
All of the references to Sherlock made me smile. Basil (the mouse detective) is moody and distracted at times but exuberant at others, and he can never remember the little girl's last name (or he refuses to, which sounds like something that Sherlock would do). He plays the violin and is interested in chemistry. Of course, Dawson is Watson and Ratigan is Moriarty. There's another big parallel, but more on that later. And I love the fact that Sherlock Holmes lives in the house above Basil.
I have to say that I wasn't really expecting this movie to be a musical. There were only three songs, so it wasn't overwhelming, but at least two of those are big musical numbers. I did not like the "Let Me Be Good to You" scene at all. It's set in a tavern and the song starts out only mildly inappropriate, something that would likely go over children's heads. But then it got surprisingly suggestive! It felt really out of place in a children's movie and I was surprised that it was included.
I always mention the voice actors in Disney films...the ones here aren't particularly well-known, except for Vincent Price as Ratigan. I don't think I've actually seen any of his films, but I'm familiar with who he is. (Slightly random little note- there's a Dumbo "cameo" in the toy shop scene! That was fun. And there's a lizard in Ratigan's gang that is lifted directly from Alice in Wonderland, right down to the hat he's wearing.)
I absolutely loved the dramatic finale in the Big Ben clock tower. It was so tense and exciting and incredibly well done. Here's where another Sherlock reference comes in: the scene echoes Sherlock and Moriarty's showdown (and fall) in The Final Problem. The music was amazing in this scene and gave it even more of a dramatic, cinematic feel. I probably should have mentioned before that Henry Mancini wrote the music for this movie, so the score does sound a lot more like a live-action film than an animated one.
With the exception of the tavern scene, I really loved this movie! It was exciting and funny and I loved picking out all of the Sherlock references. As with The Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood, this movie is a good way to introduce kids to the idea of a story before they're old enough to read the original source. But that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed by adults, as well!
Next up on the list is Oliver & Company. We're inching closer to the 90s now, and I'm so excited! As someone who grew up during the "Disney renaissance," I'm probably going to start getting nostalgic and sappy over the films soon. :) Of course I love discovering new favorites, but there's nothing like reliving your favorite childhood films.
What do you think about The Great Mouse Detective? Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan?