The Great Mouse Detective turned 30 years old on July 2nd, and is another Disney animated film that focuses a lot on rodents. Which makes me realize that my deep love for Disney movies is probably why when people are grossed out by a mouse, I’m over here wondering how close I can get and feed it cheese while it smiles appreciatively and suddenly becomes my best friend.
Here are my top five questions I have after watching this movie probably 25 years after first doing so. And I apologize in advance if any of these are answered in the book series this movie was based on – a fact I may or may not have learned 10 minutes ago.
What kind of magic is involved in a toy that can do this in 1897, and why wasn’t Hiram Flaversham rich?
In the opening scene of this movie, it’s kid mouse Olivia Flaversham’s birthday. She and her father, Hiram, live in a rundown little toy shop that the latter works out of as a toymaker. For her birthday present, he presents her with a little ballerina doll that moves.
But this toy doesn’t just spin in place, or have jerky arm movements you’d expect from a toy created around the start of the 20th century. No no. It straight up dances around like it’s alive.
But Hiram acts like this ain’t no thing while the rest of his shop is filled with your run-of-the-mill wooden rocking horses and stuffed animals. Maybe he is buds with Geppetto and the Blue Fairy shows up for him too, like on a timeshare basis, to creepily bring objects to life.
How did Basil end up living under Sherlock Holmes?
So the adorable little girl mouse Olivia goes looking for Basil of Baker Street, who just happens to live right under Sherlock Holmes – the latter of whom is basically Basil in human form, from the career path, to the pipe-smoking, straight down to the violin-playing skills.
I can believe that. But it’s definitely not a coincidence. Was Basil born elsewhere, heard about Holmes, and was like, “Damn, I want to be like THAT guy. See ya, family!” Or was he once Holmes’ beloved pet who just ran away from the absentminded detective but wanted to keep close tabs on his master, thus explaining where his original influence came from?
And don’t get me started on Dr. Dawson, who is obviously based on Watson but also could pass for a mouse version of Colonel Mustard from Clue. I’d watch a mouse version of Clue.
Why does Fidget still have a job?
The bat who nabs Olivia’s dad has a peg leg and a busted wing. I’d understand if he was an office worker, a cashier, or literally anything else, but he’s a henchman and still being trusted to kidnap people when he can’t even fly – which is, I assume, a bat’s number-one strength, aside from sucking blood or whatever (I honestly don’t know what bats do other than make for good Halloween décor and fly around blindly which, by the way, is another con).
So why is this fool still employed when surely there are tons of flight-capable bats lining up for the job? It’s not like Ratigan is empathetic to their history of friendship.
To his credit, Fidget does manage to kidnap Olivia’s dad, but the guy was a toymaker. He didn’t exactly have any defense training. How Fidget survived as long as he did, I’ll never understand, but at least Ratigan didn’t figured out his uselessness in time to correct his own fate.
How does Ratigan manage keeping a cat under control?
Speaking of Ratigan…listen. I am the first person to argue for the awesomeness of cats, but even with human companions, they aren’t the most trainable creatures – especially in Disney movies. Take Lucifer from Cinderella, Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp, etc.
Which makes me wonder how Ratigan – who is not only tiny, but a mouse, AKA the natural enemy of the cat everywhere IRL and on TV/in movies – can keep a sassy lady like Felicia in line. Sure, he tries to keep it a secret that he’s a mouse, but cats can smell rodents a mile away. There had to be some Disney-inappropriate something something going on behind the scenes.
Does NO ONE notice that this entire movie is basically LARPing?
As I mentioned previously, Basil is Single White Female-ing Sherlock Holmes and Dawson is trying to be Watson, but it doesn’t end there. Queen Mousetoria (which…I feel like there could’ve been a better pun there, but okay) is supposed to mirror Queen Victoria, and Ratigan is a blatant wannabe Professor Moriarty.
But not all the characters are taken from the Sherlock Holmes books, so why were none of them like, “Wait, guys. I was walking by the newsstand the other day and I saw a story about this guy named Holmes and I think he even lives above you, Basil! And he has a stout doctor friend too! What the hell is going on? Are you trolling me with this detective nonsense?”
Also, where do mice go to detective school? So many sub questions.