[REVIEW] ‘Enola Holmes’: A New Game is Afoot!

Longtime readers of mine will know I love Sherlock Holmes. In fact, my entire family enjoys it especially my father who had a particular affinity for the Jeremy Brett version in the 1990s. I wasn’t a big fan of the Guy Ritchie directed films with Robert Downey Jr because he was too much a James Bond type figure dodging bullets and outrunning explosions. Sherlock to me is a character of high intellect not physical strength so it missed the mark. Then the BBC series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch was wonderful for 2 seasons and then went downhill especially series 4 which was garbage.

One of the things I hated about Sherlock series 4 is his sister Eurus who basically puts him in a house with puzzles like some kind of Saw rip-off. I hated the story, and I hated her character. So when I saw Netflix was making a new series about a female Holmes family member named Enola Holmes I was both intrigued and terrified.

Fortunately Enola Holmes is charming addition to the Sherlock Holmes mythology and a promising start to a new series of hopefully many films. In this story Enola played by Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things fame is a much younger sister of the famed detective Sherlock Holmes. He is played here by Henry Cavill who is fantastic in the few scenes we see him in. Sam Claflin plays Mycroft Holmes and his performance didn’t work as well. He’s too angry and mean for the light-hearted tone of this film. Helena Bonham Carter is perfect as the mother of the whole clan.

Millie Bobby Brown is very good in this role and the script allows her to break the fourth wall and be cheeky and modern. It’s a lot of fun. For the most part this is a film the entire family can watch together and both boys and girls will really enjoy our smart but strong young female detective.

The only problems I have with Enola Holmes is the actual case wasn’t very interesting. This is basically an origin story movie so the film is more concerned with establishing all the key players and parts of Enola’s life and personality. The mystery involving her missing mother didn’t really do it for me. I’d like in the next film for her to get a case to solve and while she’s doing so she can find love and adventure along the way.

I also feel the movie gets too violent towards the end to be an ideal family film. Multiple characters are shot and there’s a lot of tension which is a bummer because most of the movie is appropriate for all ages.

Nevertheless Enola Holmes is a fun ride with a heroine we all need right now. She’s bold, she’s funny and she’s more than a little sarcastic. It comes to Netflix September 23 so put it on your calendar. You’ll love it!

8 out of 10


Sherlock Season 4 Sucked

sherlockWell, we have reached my Batman v Superman. You know how last year Batman fans were so disappointed with Zack Snyder’s latest film? Well, I’ve never been that big on Batman so I wasn’t that disappointed that it sucked. What I have always been is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and as such I was eagerly anticipating season 4 of the BBC show Sherlock. Boy was I let down. Actually that’s not strong enough. Sherlock Season 4 sucked so bad I can hardly believe I sat through it.

I have been a big fan of Sherlock since way back in 2011 when it first aired in the US. I wrote about it on my other blog- https://smilingldsgirl.com/2011/01/14/sherlock/. I normally don’t like modern retellings of classic stories but this managed to keep true to the spirit of the Conan Doyle books and characters and so I fell in love with it. Plus, it introduced me to Benedict Cumberbatch who we have all grown to love as one of the great actors working today.

Since then we have gotten 2 more seasons that were solid but season 3 started to feel a little bit gimmicky with Sherlock escaping death and them never explaining it. I should have known because season 4 took that path and went off the deep end.

Spoilers ahead!

So why does season 4 suck so much? Let me count the ways.

Episode 1

Episode 1 started out with some promise as it was focused on an actual case involving the disappearance and death of a young man. There are busts of Margaret Thatcher being destroyed at homes across town, which totally seems like classic Sherlock Holmes style storyline.

Then they have to tie it back into Mary and her being a super spy, a plotline I hated from season 3. I really could care less about Mary as some secret spy and then the melodrama keeps getting piled on.

And worst of all THEY MAKE JOHN A CHEATER!!!  John Watson who is the moral center of the series cheats on his wife and daughter for no discernible reason at all (not that there is ever a good reason to cheat). It seriously goes nowhere the cheating plot. Urgh!!!

And then Mary dies and we are supposed to feel bad about this but I so didn’t care. Plus, knowing this show I felt it wasn’t a real death so it didn’t really move me the way it should have.

Episode 2

So I was very annoyed by Episode 1 but little did I know that episode 2 was going to be even worse.

In this episode they abandon the simple case all together and have it be focused on a murderer named Culverton Smith played annoyingly by Toby Jones (and his teeth are so gross!). Then the episode becomes a cat and mouse game between the two of them with one cheap reveal after another.

We get tons of fan service in this episode with lines like ‘The game’s afoot’ designed to appease hard core Sherlock fans- which I thought I was. In between you have groan inducing gimmicks that are supposed to shock the viewer but just made me angry instead.

There is nothing smart about what Sherlock does to solve the problems. He kind of just survives the melodrama. And of course we have more Mary sentiment thrown in to annoy me.

Episode 2 was also shot poorly and felt like a cheap M. Night Shyamalan knock-off.

Episode 3-

How could it get worse than episode 2? Well, step right up to episode 3 my friends.  Oh my gosh. I just can’t believe how awful it was.

This episode leans on every tired and boring horror movie cliche. The last hour I felt like I was watching a Saw movie not an episode of Sherlock. Again, they dilute Sherlock down so that everyone is smarter than him and they spend the entire time in a room basically getting tortured.

The fact the torturer is his secret sister is just more annoying than anything else. And we see people shot and kill themselves and tortured with nothing interesting to say about anything and no character development for anybody. It was horrible. Occasionally they would show Moriarty laughing to titillate fans I guess but it was just annoying. I didn’t feel fear or tension or anything but mindless gore.

There’s some gay baiting that is lame. It’s just all lame.

We also get this lovely bit of special effects…

sherlock2I just can’t believe how bad it was. The dialogue was horrible. The stories were plodding, melodramatic garbage and the episodes weren’t even well made.  It was first class junk!

I can’t overstate how much I disliked Sherlock Season 4 and what a complete disappointment it was. If I wanted to see a lame gimmicky horror movie I could go see The Bye Bye Man in theaters this week. Not watch Sherlock. They manage to ruin all of the characters especially John Watson and focus on Mary, a character I could care less about.

I’m very annoyed and very upset right now. Garbage. Total junk.

2014 TV Highlights


I thought it might be fun to take a little break from movies and Scrooge for a second to talk about my favorite moments in the world of television this year.

I’m a huge TV fan, which is really strange because my family is not.  My parents do not watch a single program on a regular basis, so it is not something I grew up with.  For long periods we didn’t even have TV and then the Olympics would come around and I would beg the parents.  Please let us get TV!  (I love the Olympics!).

As an adult I have embraced it even more and especially with DVR I find it immensely entertaining to get into a show and spend some time with the characters.  Unlike a movie where you get 2 hours into a story, a television show you can really get to know people.

I also must add that I try to keep my viewing on a PG-13 level so that cuts out some of the very popular HBO shows such as Game of Thrones (same with Orange is the New Black).  I know all of you love it and I respect that but too much violence and nudity for me.

How I Met Your Mother-

The biggest disappointment for the year was without a doubt the finale of my favorite show How I Met Your Mother.  I hated it. It undermined the narrative they had been building for 9 years of the great love story between Ted and Tracy and I will never forgive the show for that.  Shame on them!

I know it sounds dramatic but it was one of the biggest disappointments in media of my life.  I still want to throw something at Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for their lack of respect for all they had created.  Urgh….


Mixology was another major low point.  What was ABC thinking?  It was one of the most disgraceful pieces of media I’ve ever seen.  Read my rant on the misogynist junk. (Rape was a punchline in a joke if that tells you anything).


Ok. Calming down.

Let’s focus on what I did like.

24: Live Another Day-

24 was back and they managed to craft a very entertaining season with all of the things we love about 24- layers of villains, Jack Bauer outrunning a helicopter, a mole in Jack’s team (maybe 2?), great performances, stunts, action, twists, turns and just a ton of fun.

To me it wasn’t as good as season 5 but I’d put it up there with 2,3 and 4.

Girl Meets World-

I LOVE Boy Meets World.  It was a show on TGIF from 1993-2002.  The characters were the same age as me and yes it was incredibly corny but it always had its heart in the right place.  William Daniels took the acting up a notch from typical teen fair and the relationships between Shawn, Cory, Topanga, Eric and others had real heart to them.

So naturally I was hesitant when I heard a spinoff was in the works called Girl Meets World.  Fortunately they got Michael Jacobs producing and most of the same writers back and Danielle Fishel and Ben Savage are back as Cory and Topanga only this time they are the parents of 2 kids Riley (the Girl who meets the world) and adorable Augie.

This first season has been incredibly strong.  It has all the cornball elements with all the heart.  Now Cory is the Mr Feeny character and Riley’s best friend Maya is the new Shawn Hunter.

We also have Farkle the son of Boy Meets World Minkus and he is great and a more than just for good looks kid named Lucas.  It teaches good messages with an engaging cast and humor that works.  I love it!

Much like Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie it is a show about an entire family, not just a snarky little girl.  They all get plotlines and have character development.  It’s so refreshing to have something everyone can watch together and enjoy.


Yes, I love me some reality competition.  Survivor is about to go into season 30 and while season 29 has been a bit of a let down season 28 was fantastic.  One of the best they’ve ever had.

Almost every person was in it to win it and winner Tony was spastic and crazy, building spy shacks, running around the island entertaining us all and being completely brilliant.  Never has a more bold player won the game and it was fascinating to watch.

Say what you want about the show the interactions of the contestants and the choices they make are fascinating to me.  Why they vote a certain person off?  Why they keep another?  It’s a very interesting social experiment and game. In the current season the game play is some of the most random I’ve seen which has it’s own level of fascination.  It’s amazing with nearly 30 seasons the game never plays out in exactly the same way because you are dealing with people not scriptwriters.  It makes it unpredictable and exciting.  I’ve always said you could do an interesting class on game theory and use Survivor as your test case.  I’d take that class.

What makes Survivor especially fun is I am a patron for RHAP- Rob Has a Podcast which is a community of fellow fans and we talk about the moves and for a girl who works from home it has become my watercooler conversation that I look forward to each day.

Former contestant Rob Cesternino is the R of RHAP and he is engaging and funny, my favorite podcaster (although Rotoscopers Animation Addicts is a close second!).  It’s fascinating to me to see the different takes people have on moves and who people bond with and for what reasons, especially in a great season like Cagayan.

Big Brother/Amazing Race-

Survivor is my first love but I also love Amazing Race and watch some Big Brother.

After a lame All Star season, this current season of the Race has  been fabulous.  The move to Friday has been a good thing and Bethany and Adam are my favorites.  What she can do with one arm is truly remarkable to watch and they are just so down to earth.  I love them and want them to win so bad!

Really great challenges and likable contestants have made it fun.  The Race is fun to watch but not as much of a strategic game as Survivor so not quite as interesting.

Big Brother was an interesting season because it was so dominated by one player.  Like Tony, Derrick was bold and incredibly smart at the game.  He was never put on the block ever and Big Brother lasts 90 days!  That’s pretty amazing.  There was one moment where a lie he had told a character had come out and within a 45 minute conversation he had her apologizing to him.  That was unbelievable to watch.  What a game player! I would get eaten alive by players like that!  (Since I was laid up with my knee I watched too much of the live feeds this season. The darn things are addicting and why does everything happen after 2 am in that house!).

Both Tony and Derrick were able to convince their partners to take them to the end when there were clear goats they could have taken.  Basically they both convinced 2 people to give them the prize.  Fascinating.

What makes me happy is both Tony and Derrick seemed like really good guys and always nice when the good guys win the game.

(Again with the Race and Big Brother my RHAP community make both shows extremely fun).

Downton Abbey-

The only drama I’m really into right now.  I know a lot of people have gotten of the Downton train but I’m still on.  It was an intense season with Anna’s rape and the effect that has on all the characters.

The acting is so good, sets, costumes top notch and the melodramatic stories work for the kind of stories being told.  It was a bummer so many quit the show but they handled as best they could and I am sooo excited for the new season coming in January!

I hope they get back to the lighter feel the show originally had.  Yes there was always drama but oddly enough Season 2 with WW1 was not the saddest season. They need a bit more of a balance.  I’d also like for them to dive into Thomas’ character more and not just have him be the gay bad guy.

I’ve always found Mary to be a fascinating character because we should hate her but then she does something very likable and so we don’t.  It’s great and Mosely, Carson, Daisy and of course the Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith are all great characters.

So on to season 5!

Sherlock Season 3-

This shows how much I loved the long awaited Sherlock return.  It aired February 2014 and I still have it on my DVR 10 months later.

Especially episode 1 and 3 of the season I thought were just about perfect in every way.  The ending may be one fake death to many we will see and it is a bit frustrating they never told us what happened to Sherlock but it was brilliant as well.  The way we kept getting possibilities of how he might have survived.

The acting is amazing, cinematography perfect and a new villain Charles Magnussen who was chilling and even creepier than Moriarty.

I also loved the plotline with Mary and trying to figure out what kind of mole she was.  They give you a huge hint there is something afoot when Holmes first meets her and it was a puzzle the whole series.  Brilliant.

As I watched the series I was literally yelling at the scream at times I was so engrossed.  I’d put the writing, acting, cinematography up against any Hollywood film.  It’s just great.

A to Z-

Well I suppose there is going to be one show I loved which barring a miracle appears to be cancelled.  Darn it all American viewers this show is so good!

Featuring Cristin Millioti from HIMYM and Ben Feldman from Drop Dead Diva it’s like a combination of 500 Days of Summer and How I Met Your Mother.

Some of the side characters were a little much but I’m convinced if NBC could just stick with it a little longer it would be a big hit for them.

As a girl who is starving for good romantic comedies, this was one.  The leads have terrific chemistry.  The story was charming.  I hope it can be saved but for now not looking great.  🙁


My favorite comedy by a long shot.  Especially as a movie lover and a kid from the 80s the humor hits all the nostalgic points but it’s more than that.  It’s extremely well written with an appealing cast and great kid actors.

When I first saw it I thought it was a That’s 70’s Show retread in the 80s but it’s not.  Wendi McLendon Covey is hilarious as the mother.  Jeff Garlin and George Segal steals every scene he is in as the Grandpa who thinks he is Burt Reynolds.

It’s kind of like The Simpsons brought to life with older kids.  It’s that smart and fun and warm.  Plus, the fact that Adam Goldberg shot all these hours of tapes of his family and a the end of every episode you see clips pertaining to that episode is so cool.

It makes the show feel lived in and real despite it’s craziness.  The videos say ‘this is over-the-top but my family was pretty darn close to it’ and that is funny.  Plus, you can tell the whole show is a labor of love from writing, directing, acting and everything else.  I love it and think it is hilarious.

My favorite episode is Karate from season 1 but season 2 has been great too.

Mindy Project-

A lot of people are down on this show too but I still really like it.  It has an engaging cast with pretty good writing and I love the chemistry between Danny and Mindy.  The kiss on the plane…holy cow that was a great kiss

and then the ending to last season I am not kidding I might have watched it 45 times.  It was perfect.  I almost wished the show was over so it could just end there but you know they have actually done a good job with Mindy and Danny as a couple this season.  It wasn’t until I saw that finale that I realized how much I miss romantic comedies.  I need my sugary romances you guys or I get very gloomy!  I need my romantic movies so at least I get it from TV from time to time.

I wish we could hang on to A to Z like they’ve hung on to Mindy Project.  Morgan cracks me up every scene he is in.  Definitely my favorite character.

Other Shows I Still Love- The Middle, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory (yes I still like it), Duck Dynasty, Wahlburgers,  and Shark Tank.  Oh and Dancing with the Stars has had 2 excellent seasons in 2014.

What shows did you like this year? Any I mentioned you a fan of?  Any way that’s what I like.  Thanks for reading!

Movie 26: The Great Mouse Detective


Before starting this review I should explain something about my family.  We are Sherlock Holmes obsessed.  You see my parents have almost no interest in media.  They will watch an occasional movie but basically no television.  Aside from religious programming and an occasional sporting event (I would coral my family into watching the Olympics every 4 years), I have basically no memory of my parents watching television regularly.

…with one exception.

Every year from 1984-1994 PBS, as part of their Masterpiece Mystery programs. would air Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.   My Dad even videotaped the episodes, which was even more rare for him to do. The only other time I remember him recording something was Ken Burns, The Civil War, which is another great PBS program of that era.

jeremy-brett-sherlock-holmesIf you haven’t seen his portrayal it is fabulous with all the mannerisms and cases we have come to know and love from Sherlock Holmes.

From that show we all read the original stories and saw all the versions we could including Great Mouse Detective by Walt Disney.  I think I even read the mouse series Basil of Baker Street books the film was based upon.

Even now we will spend hours talking about how the Robert Downey Jr versions get it all wrong and Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect…You think I’m exaggerating but I’m not.  Ask one of my sisters. Anna, who may be the greatest Sherlock fangirl of all of us, one year threw up her hands and said “can we talk about something else!”

So with that intro let’s talk about Disney’s 26th animated adventure- The Great Mouse Detective!


How Great Mouse Detective came into fruition is very interesting both for itself and how it influenced future Disney films.  As the studio was hard at work with the Black Cauldron 2 animators, Ron Clements and John Musker, broke away and developed concept art for an adaptation of the Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone and were based on the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories but with mice in the leads.  Clements went on to direct the movie and be actively involved in the Disney renaissance including directing Little Mermaid, Aladdin and even later The Princess and the Frog.  Clements had also done a Basil of Baker Street short before he joined Disney, so that is no doubt where he got the idea.

Originally Disney gave the project a large budget but before production started Michael Eisner was hired as CEO and the budget was slashed from 24 to 10 million.  This proved to be a good thing as it forced them to embrace computers in a new way that had only been dabbled in for Black Cauldron.  Especially the finale in the clock was groundbreaking in its use of computer graphics and films like Little Mermaid would follow suit.  Just shows a cut budget isn’t always a disaster for a project!

basil and dawson2In so many ways selecting Sherlock Holmes was an inspired choice.  It’s something that has had near universal appeal since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned the stories in 1887.  Especially once the Black Cauldron faced production and then box office problems, having a stake in a franchise that has always scored money in publishing and at the box office in nearly every recreation and retelling was a stroke of brilliance.  Having Brett’s version on PBS, also no doubt, helped create an atmosphere where kids wanted their own version of their parents favorite show!

This was another moment where Disney higher-ups threatened to close the animation department, especially after the colossal disaster of Black Cauldron (remember BC stands as one of the biggest monetary losses in not just Disney but Hollywood history.  Right up there with Cleopatra and Heaven’s Gate).  Fortunately for all of us Disney fans, Great Mouse Detective scored making 25 million in theaters on what ended up being a 14 million budget (good thing they cut the budget from the original 24 million).   These profits were then taken and invested into a little movie about a little mermaid, so all of us that idolized Ariel have Basil to thank for it! 🙂

The whole picture has an artistry which is impressive for this type of urban based Disney picture .  Every shot feels foggy and full of mystery- even inside.  The characters are drawn with a sketchy style but there is enough ambiance and they are so much fun I didn’t mind it.

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The soundtrack is wonderful and like Black Cauldron they hired a top name film and television composer Henry Mancini for the project.  There’s a real broadway feel to the songs and I don’t know if that had been done before with Disney.  You had all the jazzy music in Lady and the Tramp, Jungle Book and Aristocats but a broadway show in animation hadn’t really been done to my knowledge.  It is also the first solo sung by a villain in a Disney film.  The Siamese cats sing a duet and many other films have songs sung about the villains (such as in Peter Pan) but this was the first virtuoso villain number.  For the next 15 years a villain solo is a hallmark of not only Disney but all animated stories and Ratigan’s ‘The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind’ still holds up very well. ratigan2

Aside from Jeremy Brett there was certainly no shortage of inspiration for animators to go off of with Sherlock Holmes.  But  as far as character design goes, the animators were clearly paying homage to Basil Rathborne and Nigel Bruce’s famous performances as Holmes and Watson.  In fact, in one brief scene we hear the human Holmes talking and that voice is Basil Rathborne (who had worked with Disney back in Mr Toad).

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But it was not an outright copy of Rathborne and Bruce.  Director Ron Clements said:
“We didn’t want to make them simply miniature versions of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce,” Clements affirmed. “Dawson’s not a buffoon. He’s a foil for Basil but also a warm and caring person.”

This is no doubt why the story begins with Dawson uncovering the case and presenting it to Holmes in a very loving and nurturing way.  As with any Holmes story, Dawson is naturally the narrator and maternal presence to balance out Basil’s brusque and aloof nature.

One other funny part of production is usually in Disney there is an animal world and human world coexisting but this is the first one I can think of where the two are direct duplications.  There is a human and mouse Sherlock, Watson, Queen Victoria etc.  I find this to be a funny concept- makes me think about the duplicate Rachel mouse hanging out in her tiny townhouse, balancing books and blogging… 😉

The Story-

So let’s talk about the case.   As I said, the film starts off with a lot of foggy, eerie atmosphere and we dive right into the scene at a toy store. It is scary but most of the violence is heard and not seen, and with an adult getting kidnapped it is slightly less traumatic than when it happens to a child.  (Most of the voice cast is unknown but  Mr Flavisham is voiced by Alan Young who would later voice Scrooge McDuck in Ducktales).  For young children this may be too intense but it could easily be skipped over with a parent explaining what has happened.

Next we get introduced to Dawson and they hold remarkably true to the original Conan Doyle details even down to serving in Afghanistan in the army.  Dawson then meets the little girl from the previous scene named Olivia, and this introduction shows the heart they were trying to achieve with Dawson:

Just a quick aside, I have been critical of Disney female characters in a few posts, so I will say I love Olivia.  She’s sweet, tough and smart (without her Basil would never have even been involved).  She is not a puppet, meant just as a love interest for a character (although at first she was supposed to be older and be Basil’s love interest.  Thank goodness they didn’t go in that direction. Holmes a love interest? The very idea!)   and there is NO instant love in Great Mouse Detective!!! I haven’t seen Oliver and Company in years so I’m not sure on that, but the rest of Disney animation will take a break from the girl batting her eyes across the stream and boy falling instantly in love with her trope I detest for many films! Hurray!

Olivia. Not just a great female character, but a great character!

Off to Baker Street they go and they meet Basil in a terrifically Holmes-like way.

Eventually Basil hears the case and off they go on his dog Toby to face Professor Ratigan (based on Professor Moriarty in original books) who we then meet through the villainous number I mentioned above.  Ratigan is voiced by the incomparable Vincent Price. With probably the most distinctive voice of the 80s from the Thriller music video, Price is perfect as Ratigan.  You can feel the fun he is having.  The only performance I can think to relate it to is Robin Williams in Aladdin.  It is that good.

The writers are also very clever because they give a character named Ratigan a violent repulsion to being called a rat.  That’s just funny however you slice it!  We also learn of Ratigan’s dastardly plan to create a robot queen and make himself ‘king of all mousedom’! Now that is a great villainous plot!

The next scenes are at a toy store trying to figure out why Ratigan has abducted Olivia’s father, a toy maker.  The design of the toys and robots are great, almost steampunkish (an art movement also obsessed with robots and Conan Doyle).


Thinking it will motivate Flavisham, Ratigan has his bat crony abduct Olivia in the toy store and Basil at first reams Dawson for not watching the girl.  His response is one of the most dejected in any Disney film.  Again, another example of Dawson being the heart of the film.  tumblr_m4dkifAu9Z1qh1mzno1_500

Basil realizes he has crossed a line and he seeks to reassure Dawson they will find Olivia and to not worry.  I like that interplay between the two.

Any blog reader will remember how critical I was of the abduction of Penny in The Rescuers.  However, there are differences in Great Mouse Detective that make Olivia’s abduction more palatable.  First of all she is a mouse not a little girl.  It is also not in a modernish time period or dwelt upon much like in The Rescuers.  I said in that review if you like Medusa you will like the movie.  I didn’t.  In this movie I like Ratigan because he is so over-the-top and funny.  I mean he wants to take over the world not just find a diamond.  Plus, he’s a rat not a woman (much to his dismay)…

Fidget, the bat, leaves the 2 a clue and through his clever detecting Basil realizes Rattigan must be at a pub near the ocean.  However, Rattigan also realizes Basil is going to the pub and sets up a trap to capture his foe.

Unfortunately, before that fun can happen we get the one scene in this movie I do not care for.  They arrive at the ‘seediest bar in London’ and a female mouse starts singing with a dress on, and as she sings a pretty lyrically suggestive song she gets less and less clothes until she is wearing a bar girl type uniform.  I know it is just mice but I don’t want my daughter seeing a burlesque inspired number in  my Disney film. That kind of annoyed me.

The song is sung very well by Melissa Manchester and it could be in Chicago or any other broadway show.  It’s very well written but just not my favorite example to be showing children, even like I said with mice.

It’s funny I asked my Mother about this because I have no memory of the scene and lo and behold she would fast forward through the song when we would watch the movie (see I have a good Mom).  Problem solved.  If you find it offensive then skip ahead, no harm done. 🙂

To Basil’s dismay, Ratigan’s trap appears to work and he and Dawson are captured and strapped to a mouse trap affixed to an elaborate rube goldberg device to kill them both.  Basil is dejected. Oddly enough not because of his imminent death but by having been outsmarted by Ratigan!

Like his plan to take over the crown using a robot, Ratigan’s scheme to kill Basil is so over-the-top it can’t help but make you laugh.  It reminds me of some of the early Bond villains who could never just shoot Bond.  No, he had to kill him in the most complicated way possible, which is a lot of fun.


With Basil seemingly wrapped up, Ratigan begins to execute his plan and abducts the Queen and has the robot announce his approval as King.  He then brings out a hilariously evil list of all the changes he is going to make in power including taxing the ‘elderly, infirm and little children’.  Ha. That’s again very funny writing!

ratigan list

Sadly for Ratigan, Basil breaks free from the trap and stops him and his robot, but the movie is not over.  Ratigan and Basil take to the air and end up on the Big Ben clock.  As I said before, this sequence used computer animation for the first extended period and it’s remarkable how well it holds up.   The sound effects are also fabulous with the tick, tock and the gears creating tension.

So, of course Ratigan’s plans are foiled, Olivia and her father are reunited.  Dawson is about to leave and a new case comes in so Dawson and Basil become partners for life!

Movie Review/Conclusion

So what does this Sherlock obsessed girl think of The Great Mouse Detective?  I think it is great!  It is funny with just enough scary to entertain kids.  It has a terrific villain with one of Disney’s best vocal performances by Vincent Price.  The case is over-the-top but drawn with visual interest and appeal.  Even the backdrops are great at creating ambiance and mystery.

I love when Disney can introduce children to new mediums like Lady and the Tramp did for Jazz (or Jungle Book) or Fantasia for classical music.  Great Mouse Detective not only introduces kids to the greatness of Sherlock Holmes but to detective stories as a genre.  It also has the message Sword in the Stone was trying to teach about education and using your brain, but with Basil it is demonstrated not merely expressed.  Kids can see a keen intellect is important because it helps Basil put the clues together and solve the case.

That is why it is a bit of a downer to have a song in the middle which is about appearances and is basically a stripper song for mice (she literally looses half her clothing by end of number).  But like I said, you all can be like my mother and skip over that scene.  Nothing wrong with that.  There is also some imitative behavior that may be of concern to parents- drinking, smoking cigars etc.

For young children (kindergarten and below) there are scenes of peril.  Mainly the abduction, and particularly the bat may be too scary.  It depends on the child. It is kind of like 101 Dalmatians in tone and feel.  There is so much humor and it is all so over-the-top that it tempers the  scenes pretty well but some kids are sensitive to anything scary.   It does not have a gloomy feel like some of the films which scared me- Rescuers, Pinocchio and Return to Oz being the big examples.

Overall Grade- A-

Also, got a shoutout today from a favorite youtuber of mine The Lawn Gnome who has a great Disney vlog series called ‘Out of the Vault’. If you are on youtube please subscribe to his channel. Here is his Great Mouse Detective review.

PPS- I am now half way through my reviews of Classic Disney!  What do you guys think of The Great Mouse Detective.?