So like, I love all sorts of animals, but I always found myself scared of Owls. I never really knew why, but I think it settled in when I watched The Secret of NIMH, because the Great Owl TERRIFIED me as a kid. Like, even now, watching this scene I get tense at some parts.

He’s not even a villain, never does anything malicious. But dang, this scene was good at building him up to be spooky.


10th July - The Secret of NIMH

Don Bluth’s directorial debut was a financial and critical success. No doubts why, it is a spectacle to behold and its story is littered with admirable characters battling against unlikely odds.

It follows Mrs. Brisby, a timid field mouse whose family lives in a cinder block on a farmer’s field. As ploughing time approaches Mrs. Brisby’s son Timmy gets pneumonia and cannot leave his bed in case a chill worsens his unstable condition. Mrs. Brisby must find another way to move her family from farmer Fitzgibbon’s ravenous plougher before it destroys her home and kills her family. She goes on a quest to find a solution, putting her life in danger to seek help from owls and rats who are know to be unpredictable and dangerous but to possess great intellect after being experimented on by NIMH (National Institute for Mental Heath).

As protagonists go, Mrs. Brisby’s a doozy! There’s simply not enough films dedicated to just what heroines mothers really are and I found myself really tearing at her utter selflessness and her bravery (despite always seeming absolutely terrified and pathetically helpless Mrs. Brisby never turned back).

I would gently say that I thought that The Secret of NIMH was (despite its beautiful animation) was rather same-y of most anthropomorphic dramas (loud mouth useless sidekick, old fashioned family-friend, wise old owl, untrustworthy rat etc. etc) until well after its first half. But everything after that is absolute gold! It’s definitely not my favourite Don Bluth film (Land Before Time) yet The Secret of NIMH is another example of Bluth’s extraordinary talent and comes a close…third (An American Tale). 

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The Secret of NIHM

Don Bluth


★★★ out of 5

I did not grow up watching this movie, but I have seen other of Don Bluth’s more infamous works.  Most people find this to be the best Bluth film to date, which is interesting because it was his first.  It’s a pretty good animated film with some really beautiful visuals.  Definitely ahead of it’s time when it was created and it’s the best storyline in a Bluth film for sure.  It’s a bit deeper versus something like Rock-A-Doodle or Pebble and the Penguin (which don’t get me wrong, I loved those films growing up).  Very nicely done film.