Oh yes, the first movie really called for a sequel, eh? Nope. It was perfect the way it was and didn't call for a sequel. But since MGM owns the rights of most Don Bluth movies and likes to do the same Disney did a few years ago, producing masses of bad and unnecesarry sequels, we have this film. Ugh.
So as you guys probably know I loved the first movie, praising it characters, story, animation, etc. So, how is this? You'll find out after the summary. Spoilers, duh.
Timmy, one of Mrs Brisby's children, has apparently been chosen by Nicodemus to one day save the rats of NIMH once again, like his father did. His bigger and stronger brother Martin is upset that he isn't chosen, which would make much more sense since he's not the runt.
A few days pass and Timmy is taken away to Thorn Valley, where he'll learn how to become a hero. A year flies by and Timmy grows into a young adult, but still hasn't done his great deed.
Everything changes, tough, when he one day meets another mouse named Jenny. Jenny is apparently the daughter of one of the six lost mice, who the rats ought to have been dead, and she managed to escape from NIMH.
Jenny tries to ask Mr Ages, Justin and the other rats for help, because stuff in NIMH has apparently been growing out of hand, and she wants to have her friends and parents rescued.
The rats refuse, tough, thinking that it's a too big risk to return to NIMH again. Jenny decides to take matters into her own hands and she flies on her own to NIMH with a baloon, and Timmy joins her, thinking that this might be his big heroic deed.
On their way, they encounter Jeremy and a caterpillar who have apparently started a business together: Jeremy pretends to be the great owl, and animals will pay him money for advice. The cover is of course blown quickly, and Jeremy decides to fly Jenny and Timmy to NIMH.
There, they find out that the scientists have gone mad, and there is a big rat army. They apparently have been brainwashed by no one other than Martin himself, who had been altered to be super intelligent. Out of jealousy of Timmy, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He turned the scientists into dogs (mentally) and built his own army of muscular cats and rats, with what he wants to take over Thorn Valley.
He asks Timmy to join him, but he of course refuses and Martin tries to do things the hard way, by brainwashing Jenny. Timmy beats him by literally throwing a book at him, which indirectly causes a fire in NIMH.
The mice and rats manage to escape, now free from Martin's control, but Timmy goes back to save his brother. They return to Thorn Valley, everyone honors Timmy as the hero, he and Jenny share a kiss, Martin is restored to his good self (don't ask how) and they all live happily ever after. Brisby! What have they done to you? AAAAH!
So yeah if you are a fan of the first movie and just read that summary you are probably staring at it and thinking "Whaaaat?"
Therefore, the first thing I'll dive into are the inconsistencies between this movie and the second. Heck, even in this movie itself there are some.
There are way too friggin much. It states, for example, that Jonathan Brisby died freeing the rats of NIMH. Wrong, he died while trying to drug Dragon the farm cat. It's also mentioned that Nicodemus was a prophet who predicted that Timmy would one day save the rats again. Wrong again, Nicodemus wasn't a prophet, he was the wisest of the rats and thus logically their leader, and he didn't predict anything about a son of Jonathan Brisby. It where nine mice who died while trying to escape NIMH, not six, and none of them wore clothes like implied in this movie. Want me continue? Because I kinda lost count of the amount of consistency issues in this thing.
I'll also mention the aestetic look of this movie. I pointed out in my review of the original that I loved it's visual presentation. The colors where dark, but beautiful and fitting to the movie's tone. The animation was the best 2D animation I've ever seen, and the backgrounds looked fantastic. I also really liked the art style they used, it looked very unique and not like a Disney ripoff.
This movie... is about the opposite. Instead of dark and pastel colors they picked bright and shiny colors that scream "Hey this is for kids!" It just doesn't fit, especially after the first movie had such dark tones.
The animation in this? Well, not the worst I've ever come across, but definetly bad. It just felt really lazy and lacking, especially after the perfect animation in the first movie. There are also many animation inconsistencies. There's one scene, for example, where Jenny's hands are tied to a chair, in the next shot they're free, and in the shot after that Timmy has to untie them again. That's not just something that gets overlooked, just plain lazy.
Backrounds? The colors are too bright, but besides that I suppose that they are the best part of the movie's visual presenation. They are still not great, heck, lacking even, but better than the animation at least.
My biggest complaint probably has to be the art style... Where they even trying? Just compare some screencaps of this movie to that of the original... the styles look nothing alike! Give the Land Before Time sequels some credit, they at least managed to capture the style of the original enough.
It looks like it isn't even part of the same movie series. The mice look too tall, the rats too broad, and they gave Jenny mouse boobies! Brisby and the Shrew had none in the first movie, so why give them now? It just makes me feel uncomfortable uuugh.
What else bothers me is the voice acting. I mean they got some big names but they all are on the lowest point of their carreer here I guess. Everyone's mentioned Eric Idle in this thing and I'm going to, too. Eric Idle is in this thing. Yep.
There's also only two actors reprising their roles in this: Arthur Malet as Mr Ages and Dom Deloise as Jeremy. And honestly, the latter doesn't even sound like he's trying anymore. I wouldn't do my best for this movie, either. None of the actors seem to, really.
Characters mhm. The original had remarkably good and relatable characters. You wanted to see Mrs Brisby succes after all she had to go through, you adored some side characters like Mr Ages... What was this?
The characters in this are as one-dimational as can be. They are just cartboard cutouts.
The main character is a bore and generic. The main love interest feels exaclty the same as him, but with a different gender.
The villain is a joke. I know I complained for a bit that Jenner could've used more development in the first movie, but I prefer a thousand Jenners over this Eric Idle joke.
Mrs Brisby, the heroine we grew to love in the first movie, was in this for not even two minutes. Why wasn't she the protagonist of this story again? She's so much more interesting than Mr. Forgetable. Oh wait, I should be thankful that they didn't ruin a great character.
Mr Ages, one of my favourite chars of the first movie, who was a bit of a grumpy jerk but always had a good heart, was just as bland as the other cast in this.
I never really cared much for the Justin character in the original, but I prefer him over the Justin in this movie any time. What did they do to you? Mr Forgetable Blandness Generic. Oh wait I mean Timothy.
Another thing that simply doesn't make sense is how Martin became a villian. Why did he? Because he was jealous of Timmy being the chosen one. Why was Timmy the chosen one? Because Nicodemus apparently predicted that he would one day save the rats from another threat of NIMH. What was the threat? Martin.
See what I'm doing here? The only reason why Martin became the villain and thus the threat for the rats was created was because he was jealous that his brother got to be a hero. AKA if Nicodemus never chose Timmy to save the rats (which he basically did.. but we're review this movie here, not the original), Martin wouldn't have turned into a crazy scientist mouse who wanted to conquer Thorn Valley. That's just it. Stupid self-forfilling prophecy.
Songs. Oh yeah right there are songs in this. I hate the Alpha and Omega sequels, but thanks so much for them not having any songs in them.
This movie has like three, maybe four and they are all as pointless, anoyying, and not-rhyming. I know that all of these bad sequels have a tendency to have them... but just give them a point already. Again, even some of the The Land Before Time sequels gave them a point. These songs here are there just to be songs. And they are cringeworthy. I hate them, all of them.
The first movie did have one song, but it wasn't sung by the animals, it was a background song, and a very nice one as well. It was really soothing and, altough I'm not a big fan of that kind of songs, I liked it fine. This is just...nope.
Oh yeah right the majority of the actors can't sing either. Why let a character sing when their actors can't? Either get a different singing actor, which is often done, don't make them sing, or pick someone who can both act and sing. This is just more nope.
The backgroud music in this wasn't outstanding either. I did really enjoy the BGM of the first movie, and altough not all of the tracks where memorable, they where good enough to let me make a playlist on YouTube which I often listen to. And I really loved the Main Title track of it.
This movie just has boring and bland movie soundtracks. Nothing I can remember of it, which isn't good.
I suppose the only, ONLY thing about this movie I kind of liked is that we got to see Thorn Valley, and that some characters of the original had a bigger role in this. I really wanted to see Brutus as something else than a silhouette after seeing the first movie, and he wasn't a silhouette in this, so I am okay with that. Just okay.
Also, "what in the name of Nicodemus" is officially a phrase in this movie. I grinned at that. Just a grin. Still horrible. Ugh.
I'll bash some other issues in this movie, that might or might not fall under the consistency part. Why the heck is Thorn Valley full of rats and is there a university? No, seriously, this really made me wonder.
The original movie didn't explain much of this either. The onlyl animals injected with the intelligence serum that survived where Ages, Jonathan and nine rats, but the rat civilasation is clearly bigger than nine, yet they are all still intelligent.
But while that movie made it very subtle, to the point where it didn't even bother me the first times I watched it, this movie is just jumping the shark- no- whale.
Thorn Valley is like this huge city, not only filled with rats, but also with mice (altough they barely have any difference. The first movie made it very clear what was rat and what a mouse, this movie makes me question it) and there is like this university. Are the intelligent rats teaching other animals?
And if that is so, why the heck do they do this? In the first movie, the rats and Ages where very reserved, keeping their civilasation an absolute secret, and having guards that where able to murder anyone who tried to enter their lair. And now they live in this big and open valley and they are educating all kinds of outside mice and rats? Whaaat? Evil Martin (Eric Idle vocals included), our stupid love interest Jenny and our stupid "hero" Timmy
So.. overall... what did I think?
This movie is horrible. It's not the worst thing I've ever seen, I'll give you that. But still.. what is this?
The story's one big mess, and if the creators of this movie hadn't made up the whole prophecy, none of the main conflict would've happened. The new characters are totally bland and forgetable, the old characters either written out or written horribly, the songs are awful, the animation is lackluster, and most other things not memorable (except for Eric Idle. Who can forget him?)
Not recommended, 3 ouf of 10. This is one of these sequels you'll never, ever want to concider as canon. The original was perfect as a standalone movie, why add this bad movie as a sequel? This isn't one of these movie's I'd reccomend to shut up some children, either. Just show them the original, it'll positively mentally scar them so they'll at least be quiet.