The Secret Of Nimh 2: Timmy To The Rescue

1998, Movie, G, 68 mins

Review

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THE SECRET OF NIMH 2: TIMMY TO THE RESCUE is a belated, direct-to-video sequel to Don Bluth's 1982 animated feature, THE SECRET OF NIMH, which was marked by its superior animation and a surprisingly grim story about animal experimentation. The sequel features animation that's fairly simplistic, but not bad by made-for-video standards; the original film's disturbing theme, however, has been predictably neutered to make it much more kid-friendly.

A young mouse named Timmy (voice of Andrew Ducote) is chosen to follow in his late father's footsteps to help save animals from being tortured at NIMH, the National Institute for Mental Health. Timmy ventures out of the forest and goes to Thorn Valley, where he is taught how to be a brave warrior by Mr. Ages (voice of Arthur Malet) and Justin (voice of William H. Macy). As time goes by, the now grown Timmy (voice of Ralph Macchio) meets and falls in love with Jenny (voice of Hynden Walsh), whose parents are among those who have been captured and experimented on at NIMH by the evil Dr. Valentine (voice of Steve Marshall). Timmy learns that his brother Martin is also being held captive at NIMH, and with the aid of Cecil the caterpillar (voice of Meshach Taylor) and Timmy's old crow friend Jeremy (voice of Dom DeLuise), he and Jenny go to NIMH. When he gets there, however, he's shocked to discover that Martin (voice of Eric Idle) has taken over NIMH and become a crazed tyrant because of too much shock therapy. After knocking Martin unconscious, Timmy and Jenny free her parents and flee, but when a fire breaks out, Timmy goes back and rescues Martin, who's later restored to his old friendly self.

THE SECRET OF NIMH 2: TIMMY TO THE RESCUE is pretty innocuous stuff designed for very young children, but at least it's a marginal improvement over director Paul Sabella's previous 1998 cartoon for MGM/UA Home Video, the wretched AN ALL DOGS CHRISTMAS CAROL. The lively animation has some color and bounce to it, and even though the shots involving complicated motion are awkwardly achieved through computers, at least there's some action, such as in the fiery finale where NIMH explodes. Even the songs are tolerable, particularly an "Under the Sea"-like calypso number by Cecil the caterpillar and all of the other forest creatures, although the song attempted by the ex-"Karate Kid" Ralph Macchio is lamentable. The truly scary elements from the original and its message about genetic experimentation and animal testing have been toned down considerably, starting with the appearance of the mice and rats, who now look more like cuddly brown chipmunks than ugly gray rodents, and including the testing scenes at NIMH, which have been made farcical rather than frightening. The voice cast is better than average, with Dom DeLuise and Arthur Malet reprising their roles from the original, Harvey Korman and Andrea Martin hamming it up as comically villainous alley cats, and Eric Idle continuing his recent cartoon career renaissance. leave a comment

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The Secret Of Nimh 2: Timmy To The Rescue
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