In the 1980s, Disney’s animation department was not in a particularly good place. The last few pictures hadn’t been particularly successful critically or commercially. Reportedly, there was even talk of abandoning the department (though it seems like Disney without animation would be a grand example of shooting oneself in the foot.) In 1986, the film The Great Mouse Detective was released; while it did not kick off what would become the Disney Renaissance, it did start laying the groundwork, being a relatively successful film and confirming that Disney could still be profitable producing animation.
Somehow, despite being a kid in the 80s whose parents bought and rented many Disney pictures, I never saw The Great Mouse Detective (nor the next feature, Oliver and Company). I suspect this may have been due to my parents’ tendency to rent films for us when we were sick and home from school, and my tendency to get sick less often than my siblings. So I missed out on this film for many years, and just recently was able to rectify that situation. I’m glad I did. Continue reading