The Great Mouse Detective was released at an interesting time in Disney history: it is sandwiched between Disney’s biggest flop (The Black Cauldron) and comes only three years before one of Disney’s biggest hits (The Little Mermaid). It also marks the entrance of a new medium in the field: computer graphics. CGI is just coming around the corner into mainstream media and Disney, always the innovators, were anxious to use it in their films. Though this isn’t the first Disney film to feature CGI (that honor goes to The Black Cauldron), The Great Mouse Detective has a great sequence that features a blend of computer animation with traditional animation. This sequence gave Disney a chance to see the potential of how effectively it could be used to tell a story and how they may choose to feature it in the future.
The Great Mouse Detective is a simple story, based on a series of children’s books titled Basil of Baker Street. Both the series and the film are told in the style of Sherlock Holmes, but with mice. Instead of Sherlock we have Basil (still living on Baker Street) and instead of Dr. Watson, we have Dr. Dawson. However, apparently the “real” Holmes and Watson are around in-universe as well. There is a brief scene in the film which features Holmes and Watson living above where the mice dwell, which is definitely a neat in-joke for adults. As such, fans of Sherlock Holmes will appreciate the references.
Compared to other films in the canon, The Great Mouse Detective is not a must see. Still, it is quite fun and will definitely hold the attention of children. Horror fans will enjoy Vincent Price’s deliciously evil performance as the films villain, Ratigan. Legendary voice artist Candy Candido, who voiced a number of other Disney characters over the years, voices Ratigan’s sidekick Fidget.
For kids and animation buffs, The Great Mouse Detective is fun, though not required, viewing.
Live-action remake: There is currently no live-action remake planned for The Great Mouse Detective.
The Great Mouse Detective in the theme parks: Unfortunately, there is no sign of The Great Mouse Detective in any of the theme parks.
The Great Mouse Detective is available to stream on Disney+.