In his book, Robert C. O’Brien called his brave widow mouse “Mrs. Frisby,” but Disney escapee animator Don Bluth must have thought kids would laugh the wrong way at that. They renamed her “Mrs. Brisby” for NIMH. That acronym stands for the National Institute of Mental Health, and the rats that live near Mrs. Brisby came from NIMH–they have strange ways. But they’re the only ones who can save her house and her children, so Brisby seeks them out with the help of a humorous crow (Dom DeLuise). The magic gets laid on a little thick but this is Don Bluth’s most successful attempt to achieve a complete, sincere, animated film. It’s often forgotten, but it’s a true surprise and a rare treat in the vast wasteland of insubstantial children’s fare. –Keith Simanton
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