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The Secret of NIMH 2 - Timmy to the Rescue

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 66 mins . G . PAL


For those that have fond memories of The Secret of NIMH, the animated version of Robert C. O'Brien's children's novel Mrs Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH, you are hereby warned that The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue is a very poor sequel indeed, and is unlikely to capture anyone's imagination.

Based on the characters created by O'Brien, this is not an animated version of the original book's sequel, and is virtually a whole different adventure. Many of the characters from the first film are here, including Timmy, Jeremy, Justin, Mr Ages, and a brief appearance from Mrs Brisby. Some time has passed and the Rats of NIMH (National Institute of Medical Health) have moved to Thorn Valley, a secluded, secret and elaborate society built some distance from the Fitzgibbons' farm where the story opens.

Timothy, son of revered mouse Jonathon Brisby, sets off to find Thorn Valley, thereby beginning to fulfill the prophecy that he is destined for great things. He grows up in Thorn Valley, itching to become a hero as his father was. The mysterious arrival of a cute, young, girl mouse, Teresa, alerts Thorn Valley to the continued evil goings on back at NIMH, where they escaped from all that time ago. It seems that the evil Dr Valentine is still performing experiments on mice and rats, including Teresa's parents, who are part of the Lost Six, mice that somehow became separated during the original escape. But alas, the rats feel the risk is too great.

When Timmy learns that his older brother, Martin, is also a prisoner at NIMH, he sets about convincing the rats that they need to go back to NIMH, break in and free the rats and mice. These imprisoned rodents are destined for a horrible end at the next full moon, which is now.

Unlike the first movie, this sequel does not have anything in it that might appeal to adult fans of animated films. The characterisations are weaker, the menacing nature of the first film has been reduced to slapstick, comedy routines that would not scare any children. The storyline is even less likely than the first, and the rats and mice seem overly gifted, even for animated characters. The characters are very cartoonish in appearance and behaviour, the action is reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, and there is almost nothing in the way of subtle messages of human endeavour or overcoming adversity, as in the first feature. What we do get, however, are some fairly lame songs that the characters break into every time they face an emotional crisis.

The evil characters are simply not menacing, and do not help create any of the tension or drama that is evident in the first film. The animation is not quite as classy either, and while some of the background animation is colourful and detailed, the main characters are very Disney-like in appearance. Even the vocal talents of returning actors such as Dom DeLuise and Arthur Malet, aided by newcomers Ralph Macchio, William H Macy, and Harvey Korman, can't lift this effort above mediocre. Judged on its own merits, then this film may be of interest to small children. When stacked alongside the original, it fails miserably.


Unlike the first film, The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, is presented in full frame and therefore is not 16x9 enhanced. Colours are extremely good, bright and vibrant. Black levels likewise are consistent and deep. The overall image is very sharp and clear. There is no evidence of grain, and only a few instances of shimmer.

There are no artefacts to contend with, and the image is strong and solid, though lacking the intricate detail of the original. There is no layer change to disrupt proceedings either.


I suspect the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio will come as a surprise to most, until you remember that this is a 1998 animated feature. Generally, the sound comes mostly from the front speakers, with dialogue mostly placed in the centre and various sound effects placed in the left and right fronts. Occasionally there are some effects that jump out of the rear speakers. The orchestrated music track also makes use of the rear speakers, though it too is predominantly placed in the front speakers.

Low-level frequency sounds are solid, deep and rich. The various bangs and crashes that accompany the track are very effective. All dialogue is clear and as much as you can expect from animation, the audio-synchronisation is good.


The only extra is a US Theatrical Trailer lasting a little over a minute. It is presented in a full frame aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0, and is not particularly memorable or impressive.


As far as animated features go, this is not overly impressive. It looks good in that there are bold colours, crisp animation, and lots of action. It lets itself down in the story stakes. It fails to explore any of the themes of the original, and instead relies on Saturday morning cartoon antics to entertain. Small children will probably enjoy it, but adults looking for something they can enjoy with their children, give this sequel a miss, and stick with original, The Secret of NIMH, instead.

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      And I quote...
    "A superior looking and sounding sequel to The Secret of NIMH, but the film itself is nowhere near as good... "
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
    • Centre Speaker:
    • Surrounds:
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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