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ChaosTitan
02-25-2008, 06:53 AM
Almost anyone who grew up in the eighties knows The Secret of NIHM. One of Don Bluth's first animated features, based on Robert C. O'Brien's novel "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM." It's a gem of a movie, and I stumbled across a multi-part online interview between Mr. Bluth and one of his ardent fans. It discusses the film, the cast, animation in general, and other insider tidbits.

Enjoy. :)

http://www.adammcdaniel.com/Don_Bluth_Interview.htm

slcboston
02-25-2008, 06:57 AM
I LOVE this movie: one of those rare kids films that you can appreciate in new and just as magical ways as an adult, yet still remember why it enthralled you as a kid.

childeroland
02-25-2008, 08:00 AM
Thanks for the link. NIMH is one of the 80's animation masterpieces. I remember appreciating its darkness when I first saw this in the theaters; it frightened me.

The_Grand_Duchess
02-25-2008, 08:03 AM
Yeah loved the darkness. Giant scary owl, rats freaking dying. Loved that movie. I want to get it on DVD. Is it on DVD?

Jersey Chick
02-25-2008, 08:09 AM
I remember my fourth grade teacher read us the book (she was big on that - she read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge as well.) I loved the book, but I honestly don't remember if I've ever seen the movie. hmm...

childeroland
02-25-2008, 08:09 AM
It is, though if you want the hi-def restored 2-disc edition you'll have to get the Canadian set or wait to see if the upcoming Blu-Ray edition will have it.



Yeah loved the darkness. Giant scary owl, rats freaking dying. Loved that movie. I want to get it on DVD. Is it on DVD?

Will Lavender
02-25-2008, 08:38 AM
My favorite movie when I was a kid. Creeped me out and fascinated me at the same time. I actually bought it for my son and watched it not long ago and it ages pretty well. (Or maybe I just didn't grow up.)

A masterpiece.

Appalachian Writer
02-25-2008, 05:33 PM
My granddaughter loves it! I watched it when I was young, and now, she's enjoying it. There were some pretty exciting voices in it, too. As I recall, Peter Strauss, John Carradine, and some other very fine actors.

sheadakota
02-25-2008, 05:53 PM
LOVED!! that movie- I have it on VHS- must upgrade to DVD- I don't care if my kids like it- I'll warch it anyway!

Chumplet
02-25-2008, 05:57 PM
My daughter bought a DVD to replace our VHS. She had to search to find the right cover, though. We were just discussing that movie yesterday when Dom DeLuis's voice roles came up in conversation. Love that movie and always will.

Bluth is a genius. He got swallowed up by Disney, right?

CaroGirl
02-25-2008, 06:01 PM
My 10 yo son read that novel last year. Sorry, I mean he DEVOURED that novel. He absolutely loved it. Although I'm not sure we ever got around to renting the animated feature. I loved the movie as a kid and would enjoy watching it again. I'll have to ask him after school today if he's seen it. Either way, we'll be watching it.

Nakhlasmoke
02-25-2008, 06:08 PM
I loved the book and the movie - they were very different, but yeah, even the movie kept the darkness, and not all kids want fluffy and light.

Evaine
02-25-2008, 08:13 PM
I first saw the story on Jackanory, a BBC programme that ran for many years, and did a children's book a week, in the early evenings. Anthony Quayle read the story, with occasional still pictures. I loved Jackanory. It was a very simple format - what made it was the high quality of the books that were chosen, and the readers, who were often well known actors or actresses.

Plot Device
02-25-2008, 10:24 PM
When Walt Disney died, all of Disney Studios lost their way for well over ten years. Crap like No Deposit, No Return was the best they could offer. A few brief shining moments of honor happened with Pete's Dragon and The Rescuers, but for the most part, Disney Studios just groped around in the dark after the passing of their great founder and chief.

1958 -- Don Bluth gets hired by Disney Studios as an animator. He does assistant work on two films: The Sword in the Stone and Sleeping Beauty.

1964 -- Bluth leaves Disney for about six years.

1966 -- Walter Disney dies after a rapid onset of lung cancer.

1967 -- The Jungle Book is released by Disney Studios. It will be the last great animated film from them for what prove many years (it was in production while he was still alive so his finger prints are still on it).

1968 -- Blackbeard's Ghost is relased by Disney. Easily the worst film in Disney history. It has off-key acting, muddled direction, a schizophrenic tone, and an indiscernible plot.

1969 -- The Love Bug is released by Disney. It's cute and does well at the box office. Not all children can relate to it since it has no children in the plot, nor animals (and animals are typically a Disney staple).

1970 -- Don Bluth returns to Disney Studios again as an animator.

1970 -- The Aristocats is released by Disney, an "okay" film, but not one of the greats. The style of animation cleverly attempted to duplicate the French/Euro style found in magazine illustrations and political cartoons prevalent in the European press in the 1960's. That end was accomplished. But beyond being merely "clever," the film wasn't in any way "magical," which was something Mr. Disney always strived for.

1970 -- The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes is released by Disney. A very silly film with a very silly plot. It wasn't aimed at kids but teenagers.

1970's -- I don't have the exact date of when this edict got handed down by upper-management (probably post-1974), but Disney Studios determines that animation has become way too expensive and wants to focus more on live-action films. ALL films will of course only be G-rated and family fare, but animation is deemed to be just too costly. This flies in the face of what Walter Disney was al about. Animation was verynear and dear to his heart, and here Disney Studios has decided to all but abandon it.

1972 -- The Godfather gets released by Paramount and herladed as one of the greatest American films ever made. Hollywood is now embracing films of gritty darkness and brutal realism. With other films like Chinatown and The French Connection and The Taking of Palham One Two Three, it now seems that family films are falling by the wayside. American cinema is growing more European with cynicism and disturbing endings. Happy endings are falling out of vogue.

1973 -- Robin Hood is released by Disney, a HORRIBLE film with nothing to offer, nothing new, the plot was hackneyed, the animation was average. One of Disney's goals with each new film was to somehow top the last one, to "plus it". But that goal had fallen by the wayside, and now Disney Studios was just cranking out sub-standard nonsense.

1974 -- The film Benji gets released by a small film company and is a boxoffice surprise. Disney Studios takes note.

1975 -- Disney releases The Apple Dumpling Gang. It does well at the box office.

1975 -- Disney releases Escape to Witch Mountain. It's a low budget affair that proves a surprise box office hit. It has a space alien-themed twist sliped in at the ending.

1976 -- No Deposit, No Return gets released by Disney. It's a new low for the studio's film quality.

1977 -- Disney releases The Shaggy D.A., a sequel to an old Disney film. It's formulaic and trite.

1977 -- Roy Disney (Walt's brother) resigns from Disney Studios, loudly citing his disgust with the ongoing decline of quality he sees in Disney Studios film production.

1977 -- The Rescuers is released. Critics rave it. It's also an "okay" film. It took a lot of shortcuts in its animation style, using cost-saving techniques that cheapen the overall production values. The only saving grace of this movie was it's plot (a pretty good one) but even that was a bit forced at times. The voices of Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor brought in the older audience members. It is the first animated film to utilize big name actors for the characters' voices, a trend that eventually becomes an industry standard.

1977 -- Pete's Dragon gets released by Disney. It's perhaps their very best film since The Jungle Book, evoking the magic of Mary Poppins.

1977 -- Star Wars gets released by 20th Century Fox. It breaks dozens of boxoffice records, saves 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy, and captivates the entire world for over 18 months of non-stop movie theatre lines that stretch around the block at every theate showing it -- for 18 months. The industry is stunned: this movie is an oldfashioned throwback to the old serials of the 1930's. It has traditional good guys with white hats and traditional bad guys with black hats. It contains various abandoned cliches like a princess and an old wizard. It even has sword fights reminiscent of Errol Flynn. It has an old fashioned orchestral score. And most importantly: it has a happy ending!!! How could the public possibly like this movie? How could they like it so intently to the point where people go back to see it again and again and again?? How could it break over $100 million dollars at the domestic box office? Industry executives take note of the film's conventions, especially its mind-blowing special effects and sound effects the likes of which no one has ever seen or heard before. And then all of Hollywood scrambles to start making sci-fi "space opera" movies with white hats and blacks hats and princesses and happy endings. The path of Euro-style darkness and gritty reality that Hollywood ALMOST went down has suddenly been re-routed back toward old fashioned happy endings again.

1978 -- Disney makes two attempts at more space-themed films: The Cat from Outer Space and Return from Witch Mountain. Both are dismal.

1979 -- Disney releases (with much controversy) their first-ever PG film called The Black Hole. It's panned by critics as nothing but a bad recanoodling of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea set in outer space. The special effects are exceptional, but the pot is bad, the acting is wooden, and the obvious rip-offs from Star Wars (such as two cute robots that bleep from time to time) just don't work.

1979 -- Don Bluth, STILL an assiatnt animator at Disney Studios, stages a Jerry McGuire-style walk-out, taking a small posse of equally disgusted Disney animators out the door with him to start their own animation studio. Disney executives disregard thier walkout as a non-event and pay it no mind. Part of their confidence that Don Bluth and his new/stolen team will fail is their full knowledge of exactly how hair-raisingly expensive animation is.

1982 -- Disney releases Tron, a breakthrough sci-fi film with a never-before-seen style of visual effects produced with the help of computers. It was originally cast with Peter O'Toole in the title role, but he quit by the second day of filming because he didn't understand the plot or the vision of the director -- he complained that he had signed on to do a film with motorcycle chases and army tanks but there were no army tanks anywhere on the set. A replacement was quickly cast. But then the ongoing shoot continued to suffer from a unique problem all during principle photograpghy: the whole cast kept asking again and again: "What is this film even about? We've read the script but we STILL don't get the plot. What exactly is going on from scene to scene to scene?" That problem was repeated almost twenty years later by an entirely different cast during principle photography of another breakthrough film callled The Matrix. When the film was released, the critics loved it. It had a so-so box office. It has been compared (just like The Matrix) to a Christian allegory with a "god" (a man) who debases himself and lowers himself down to the level of the very thing he created and becomes one of them (a man becomes a computer program) and walks amongst them and is just as vulnerable as they are in their computer world, and ulimtately he delivers them from bondage of a Satan-like figure that has enslaved the computer world. It remains a landmark film in the evolution of computer animation. A sequel to Tron called Tron 2.0 has been on the table sicne the 1990's but remains in Development Hell.

1982 -- The Secret of NIMH is released. It blows the doors off of the whole industry. Critics absolutely love it. The public eats it up. The box office is through the roof. How could anybody outside of Disney make such a beautiful Disney-esque film? -- the sort of film that even Disney doesn't make anymore? Disney Studios scrambles to rediscover how to do animation excatly like that again.

1989 -- Disney releases The Little Mermaid. And the Disney animated classic is reborn. But it took Don Bluth to make that happen. It took Don Bluth to give Disney the kick in the ass they needed to remember their own roots and return to making magnificent animated fairy tales.

Will Lavender
02-25-2008, 11:45 PM
Wow, thanks for that, Plot Device. That's some fascinating stuff.

KikiteNeko
02-26-2008, 12:46 AM
Awwww! I wrote my first ever fanfic to this.


Almost anyone who grew up in the eighties knows The Secret of NIHM. One of Don Bluth's first animated features, based on Robert C. O'Brien's novel "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM." It's a gem of a movie, and I stumbled across a multi-part online interview between Mr. Bluth and one of his ardent fans. It discusses the film, the cast, animation in general, and other insider tidbits.

Enjoy. :)

http://www.adammcdaniel.com/Don_Bluth_Interview.htm

childeroland
02-26-2008, 01:13 AM
Until we come around again to Brother Bear. And now it looks like Pixar has done the same thing for Disney that Bluth did in '82, but only by more or less taking over Disney animation.

Whatever happened to Circle 7 or 9 or whatever that spin-off traditional animation studio from Disney was supposed to be called? Is John Lasseter still planning to revive 2D animation at Disney?

JLCwrites
02-26-2008, 03:25 AM
Loved the movie more than the book. The movie seemed more poignant, where as the book's conclusion was a bit underwhelming.

Soccer Mom
02-26-2008, 03:35 AM
Book and movie were very different but both were special. I think this is one of those rare instances when I loved the movie even more than the book.

Look, Jeremy: sparklies!


What a cool thread. It's very Chaostastic Titanalicious.

TheIT
02-26-2008, 03:37 AM
I haven't read the book, but I loved the movie.

Especially the sparklies. :D

Soccer Mom
02-26-2008, 03:38 AM
We still use that line all the time in my family. It's a family joke along with "the lee of the stone."

(no, I haven't seen the movie a few hundred times. Why do you ask?)

Gina_Marie
02-26-2008, 06:23 AM
This movie rocked! I loved it when I was a kid. I have a lot of fond memories of it :)

ChaosTitan
02-26-2008, 08:16 AM
What a cool thread. It's very Chaostastic Titanalicious.

:D


After I grew up and realized that Shannen Dohergy did the voice of Teresa, the next time I saw the film I found myself hoping she drowned in the mud. :o

dgiharris
02-26-2008, 09:38 AM
It is rare when a film literally wraps itself around your heart. One did not watch The Secret of Nihm, ONE LIVED IT.

I can not think of one instant of the movie that is not perfection incarnate. Unfortunately, for those who did not grow up watching the film, they would not know how revolutionary of a FILM it was. Not just a cute-sy cartoon, but a full blown film that had kids (and adults) laughing and crying and covering their eyes and hoping beyond hope that everything turns out.

Pure masterpiece.

JennaGlatzer
02-26-2008, 09:51 AM
Yeah! The sparklies were mesmerizing!

Seriously, one of my favorites, too. And I can still see the sparklies in my mind.

Will Lavender
02-27-2008, 12:36 AM
It is rare when a film literally wraps itself around your heart. One did not watch The Secret of Nihm, ONE LIVED IT.

I can not think of one instant of the movie that is not perfection incarnate. Unfortunately, for those who did not grow up watching the film, they would not know how revolutionary of a FILM it was. Not just a cute-sy cartoon, but a full blown film that had kids (and adults) laughing and crying and covering their eyes and hoping beyond hope that everything turns out.

Pure masterpiece.

Well-said.

JLCwrites
02-27-2008, 04:25 AM
IMO there were a couple of other animated movies that seemed geared more towards adults than children. Watership Down and The Hobbit. Both freaked me out as a child.

Shady Lane
02-27-2008, 04:43 AM
I haven't seen this movie since I was six years old, but, I swear, not a week goes by that I don't think about it. Must. Rent.