A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is a straight-to-DVD sequel to Don Bluth's cult classic The Secret of NIMH, but that Bluth was not involved in this project, and it lacks the originality and depth of the first movie. Like the original, this story demonizes animal testing and provides some cartoonish scary imagery of cats, mice, and even humans in a test lab environment. An emphasis on teamwork and on thinking things through is nicely woven throughout the plot, but there's no real tension in the predictable story.
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What's the story?
THE SECRET OF NIMH 2 follows the adventures of Timmy (voiced by Andrew Ducotte, then Ralph Macchio), one of the sons of the hero of the first movie, as he fulfills his own destiny as a hero to the rodents of NIMH. Now living in utopian Thorn Valley, the supersmart but peaceful rats that escaped from the evil testing laboratory, NIMH, learn that the institution has yet another horrid plan in store for them. This time, it's Timmy's job to help lead them out of danger. Timmy's future as the hero of Thorn Valley has been foretold by the rat prophet Nicodemus, and the movie follows his development from a scared runt of the litter to the cunning leader of the escape mission.
Is it any good?
In trying to re-create the magic of 1982's The Secret of NIMH, THE SECRET OF NIMH 2 reprises the characters but lacks the pacing and originality of the first story. While there is a good plot twist near the end, most of the movie is highly predictable.
The movie brings back popular characters like Justin (William Macy), the rat leader, and Jeremy the crow (Dom DeLuise). And there are new characters, like Jenny (Hynden Walch), the daughter of mice still trapped in NIMH. But it lacks the lush colored animation that made the first movie stand out more than 20 years ago. In fact, the animation seems amateurish. For example, as two animals conduct a back-and-forth conversation, their mouths and bodies move in unison.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the complex relationship between Jonathan Brisby's two sons.
Why is Martin so conflicted?
Do you think Timmy is glad or resentful when he is singled out as the hero of Nicodemus' prediction?
How does your family feel about animal testing? Are there situations in which you think it might be merited? Why or why not?
- In theaters: September 24, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: January 1, 1998
- Cast: Hynden Walch, Ralph Macchio, William H. Macy
- Director: Dick Sebast
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Holidays
- Run time: 68 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: general audiences
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