1. Let me just start by saying “anthropomorphic mice solving crimes.”
If that isn’t a shockingly good idea, then I don’t know what is.
2. The movie tries to trick you a few times by making you think it’s going to be about humans. But nope, it’s about mice.
3. Less than three minutes in, there has already been a kidnapping. By a bat!
4. The filmmakers are straight-up brilliant with implied violence.
Graphic violence that is not graphic at all? Check.
5. Shadows are everywhere.
6. Yes, it’s a kids’ movie, but the dialogue is delightfully over the top.
The syntax of that first sentence! And “fiend.” This movie loves the word “fiend.”
7. Basil of Baker Street, our crime-solving hero, lives at 221 1/2 Baker St., right underneath his human counterpart, Sherlock Holmes, at 221B Baker St.
Sherlock, meet your mouse match. He also plays violin. His is smaller.
(Holmes is voiced by Basil Rathbone, who played the detective in a series of Sherlock films starting in 1939!)
8. The film explores the tension between two brilliant rodents, both equally vain and equally obsessed with their rivalry.
A hero who does the right thing for the wrong reasons?! And a criminal who does the wrong thing for those same reasons? Please, keep going.
9. Professor Ratigan murders one of his henchmen for calling him a rat. He feeds the mouse to a huge cat.
He makes the cat eat him because he is both evil and someone who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty. Please note more terrifying shadow violence.
10. Basil has a chemistry set that is the wackiest.
I don’t know what this is, but I know that it fights crime.
11. Have I mentioned that the mice wear clothes? And carry umbrellas?
12. Professor Ratigan is a demented genius, and as if that weren’t enough, he also has panache.
No big deal, but he’s voiced by Vincent Price.
13. There are two big musical numbers in this film, and Professor Ratigan’s has a harp solo.
Henry Mancini’s score is quite the caper in itself!
14. It teaches children about forensic ballistics!
Knowledge is power.
15. And to be mindful of their drinks!
Let’s be real: Sometimes bad people put drugs in your drink when you’re not looking. Be careful, kids.
16. Basil is great at being in disguise.
17. Dr. Dawson is not.
18. Themes of class and disempowerment abound. Do you think a bar full of raucous animals cheers up only when a sexy mouse sings “let me be good to you” by accident?
No one else is good to them, which is why this is so appealing. They lose themselves in drinking and cheap entertainment to forget their lousy lot in life. There’s a reason this bar is called the Rat Trap. Would they be criminal lowlifes if they had other options? LIKELY NOT.
19. Is it a little exasperating that aside from Olivia, the female characters are basically Basil’s beleaguered maid and a comely showgirl? Yes, yes it is.
20. However, Olivia is awesome. She fights Ratigan, even though she’s tiny!
The kid’s got gumption.
21. There’s a token queen. Her crown is like a little boop on her little head. She’s not very important except that she’s technically the target of Ratigan’s evil plot.
But we all know everything Ratigan does, he does to antagonize Basil.
22. Professor Ratigan creates a Rube Goldberg machine of death, and Basil escapes through nothing but math and audacity.
Nothing but math and audacity.
23. There is an incredible chase through the London skies that ends in a fight to the death on the face of Big Ben.
24. Ratigan, in a maniacal rage, loses his impressive mind and turns to his own physical strength to fight Basil. Like the rat that he is.
You may be a professor by title, but you, sir, are a brute.
25. Basil, of course, triumphs, and he comes around to loving Olivia because she is sassy and awesome.
It’s always great when two mice who disliked each other at first realize the reasons they didn’t get along are now the reasons they love and respect each other.
26. Even better, Basil teams up with Dr. Dawson. Trusted associates 4eva.
So glad this crime-solving gig isn’t a one-time thing.
27. Also, the newspaper is called the London Mouse.