Picks and Pans Review: The Great Mouse Detective

updated 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Full of easy humor and traditional good vs. evil touches, this animated Disney feature is a colorful, solid piece of entertainment for children. It's inoffensive too, neither too violent nor too obviously designed to sell a line of toys. Its hero is not Mickey but Basil, another small rodent, who is modeled so closely on Sherlock Holmes that he is even given to fits of depression. His assistant, Dr. Dawson, is a lovable bumbler of the Watson school and his nemesis, Professor Ratigan, makes Moriarty look like a sweetheart. Ratigan, whose voice is done with delicious ruthlessness by Vincent Price, upstages Basil at times. But he is after all a rather cheesy villain, and there's not much doubt about who is going to win the climactic fight, which is staged in and around Big Ben in London. Melissa Manchester wrote and (as a dance hall mouse) performs one tune, and Henry Mancini supplied the rest of the music, so the cartoon sounds pretty good too. This is the 26th full-length animated feature from the Disney operation. While it is clearly not the most ambitious or flamboyant, it is an engaging 72 minutes worth of fun for kids and easy to take for their chauffeurs. (G)

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