We were excited to get to this selection in our Disney Films Project because it's a fun one!
This is an underappreciated film that often gets overlooked because it came out at a time when Disney was not producing it's finest work. I really adore this story and the characters are fun and memorable. Ratigan is one bad guy RAT (gasp!) and Basil and Dawson make a great detective team. In fact, Dawson is my favorite character in this movie. His kind manner is so sweet and he's pretty funny in the bar scene because of his innocence.
The animation is solid and the story moves along nicely. For me, this is the film that shows the glimmer of some great works on the horizon. I give it 7 out of 10 Mickey ears. It's nothing earth shattering, but it's one that I really enjoy watching.
Second Opinion with Alex Nelson
Welcome back to the real Disney movies. We apologize profusely for your time experiencing Black Caludron, and assure you it will never happen again.
This particular title saved Disney from bankruptcy, an action for which it deserves more credit than it has. The animation in particular is a highlight, especially in the toy shop sequence, but extra credit goes to the clock tower, Disney’s first foray into CGI Animation. You probably didn’t notice at first. That’s how well done it was.
The plot is not spectacular, I admit, but that’s the consequence of the situation. As it stands, it’s a clever homage to Holmes that manages to pay respects while still giving the Disney formula a fair shake. Black cauldron was too far in one direction, and Pete’s Dragon too far in the other. This is where things should be, at least for now.
The characters are all excellent. Credit to the young actress playing Olivia, who manages to avoid the pratfalls of a child role in a Disney production, and actually stands out. Basil is also a credit to the animators, managing to play his role with aplomb.
But what’s Holmes without his Moriarty? Praise to Vincent Price as Ratigan, his last role in movie history. You can tell he’s enjoying it immensely.
I give this movie 5 out of 10 Mickey Ears. The film is solid, if not standout. But sometimes, you have to start small in your climb back to prominence.