Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Man, there are so many reasons why this film is awesome. It's actually a little crazy how many reasons there are. And the fact that it's animated is just the umbrella under which they fall. First of all, Don Bluth, one of the greatest animator/storytellers of all times, literally defected from Disney to make this film since the big D thought it was "too dark" to be a commercial success. No seriously, the 20+ animators that followed Bluth out of the Disney Dungeon were labeled "The Disney Defectors." Since Disney is basically the Demon behind copyright issues, I think we can all throw out a "super-awesome" for that one. The subject matter is definitely dark, and that's probably why I loved it growing up. I mean, lambasting animal testing and depicting animals that are smarter than humans? That's what I live for (cough cough, Neanderthal species concept)! Those rats are so fucking awesome with their reading and their electricity and their councils and magic powers! Have you ever seen any animated characters more bad-ass than Nicodemus? Or what about the Great Owl? Two bad-asses with glowing eyes in one movie? Totally tubular! In fact, it's a little confusing how the movie pulled a G rating when they were aiming for PG with the death and violence and totally crazy-dark-deep theme. They blamed some of the poor reception on the rating (the system always finds a way to fuck you I guess), and it's really obvious how that's a possibility, especially with the completely out-of-character covers they been putting out lately. They're all shiny and brightly-colored with smiling animals like this is some fucking walk through the woods and not a deeply metaphysical examination of animal consciousness, evolution, and theories of magic and transcendence (okay, so I don't know if it's quite that deep...)! Well, if you actually get past the pathetically childish DVD cover, you will happen upon a film with some seriously invested animation. The imdb trivia page uses phrases like "color Xerography," "backlit art in an anamorphic format," "multiplane camera" and "pseudo-hologram." Yes, pseudo-hologram; does it get any more awesome? (yes, I'm a nerd; was there really any question?). Indeed, the film had 1078 backgrounds and over 600 colors. Okay, now I'm just fact-spouting. But seriously, "the multiplane techniques... adapted for the project include a pseudo-hologram and the use of backlit animation making every dewdrop sparkle or supernatural amulet glow with a brilliance never seen before in animated films since Fantasia (1940)." They make it sound like something so original and awe-inspiring (which it is), but what the fuck had they been doing for the past 40 years? Why is film technology going backwards? It's so confusing! It probably goes hand in hand with our shortened attention spans and the increasing need to consume absolutely everything. The point is, Secret of NIMH is awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

I deem it: "Rambunctiously radical, motivated and moral/Put this on the list with Ferngully for movies that triumphantly turned me into a little hippie/I have to get on building that Bluth shrine in my corner.

1 comment:

Mike J said...

This was my absolute favorite book when I was in elementary school.

So amazing.