The Great Mouse Detective appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good representation of the source.
When Disney takes on their higher-profile titles, they tend to run them through a pretty intense “clean up” process that eliminates grain. Colors can also be altered as well.
None of that happened for Detective, and that meant it lacked the shine and polish of the other efforts. Nonetheless, it offered a stronger document of how the movie looked when released.
Sharpness seemed good. Occasional instances of softness crept into wider shots, but the movie remained pretty well-defined over all.
Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and I also noticed no signs of edge enhancement. As noted, we get some minor grain here, and print flaws remained absent.
Though virtually all of Detective took place at night, the film still boasted a reasonably varied palette, and the disc replicated those tones fairly well. The colors could lean a little dull at times, but they usually appeared well-represented.
Black levels seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly thick. Overall, The Great Mouse Detective provided a satisfying visual presentation whose “flaws” related to the source.
While not quite as good, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Great Mouse Detective seemed pleasing. Given the age of the material, I didn’t feel surprised to discover that it emphasized the forward channels.
Within that domain, music showed nice stereo imaging and presence. Effects spread reasonably well across the front spectrum, and the elements moved acceptably naturally, but the score and songs remained the most prominent parts of the track. The rear speakers played a small role, as they mainly contributed general reinforcement of music and effects.
Audio quality was consistently positive. Speech usually sounded distinct and warm, without edginess or other issues.
Effects lacked distortion and occasionally showed nice life. For example, the stomp of Felicia the cat presented the appropriate low-end impact.
Sometimes the effects sounded a bit flat, but they worked well for the most part. The score and songs offered good range and dimensionality as well. This wasn’t a dazzling track, but it provided clear, vivid audio.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD from 2010? The age of the material restricted growth for the audio, but the lossless mix felt a bit warmer and fuller.
As for visuals, they came with moderate improvements, though conversely, the superior capabilities of Blu-ray allowed the source’s limitations to become more apparent. Whereas the lower resolution of DVD hid some concerns, they were more obvious in hi-def.
Nonetheless, I preferred the Blu-ray. It looked cleaner and more vivid and a better representation of the original film.
Most of the 2010 DVD’s extras repeat here, and So You Think You Can Sleuth? offers a four-minute, 41-second history of detectives. Though the disc touts this as a game, it’s really nothing more than a featurette.
Yeah, the piece includes one case for viewers to solve, but that’s it. It’s weird that this is listed as a game, but the show itself is moderately interesting anyway.
The Making of The Great Mouse Detective provides a short and perfunctory featurette. It runs seven minutes, 53 seconds and brings comments from studio executive Roy E. Disney, supervising animator Glen Keane, actors Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin, and Vincent Price, singer Melissa Manchester, composer Henry Mancini, and animator Phil Nibbelink.
The program seems superficial and provides very little information about the production. We get a couple of decent tidbits but nothing particularly noteworthy.
Like many Disney DVDs, we find a Sing-Along Song here. This one accompanies Ratigan’s “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind”.
I never could figure out what someone so inclined couldn’t just turn on the movie’s subtitles to do this, but if you dig sing-along songs, have a party!
The disc opens with ads for Cinderella (1950) and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3. Sneak Peeks adds promos for Secret of the Wings, Planes, Cinderella II and Cinderella III. No trailer for Detective appears here.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Detective. It duplicates the 2010 DVD.
No one will ever confuse The Great Mouse Detective for classic Disney, but it succeeds better than most of their material from the 1970s and 1980s. The movie’s modest scope allows it to rely more strongly on character, and it seems unusually - and pleasantly - quiet and thoughtful. The Blu-ray brings pretty good picture and audio but it skimps on bonus materials. Nothing here dazzles, but Detective remains a likable tale.
To rate this film, visit the original review of THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE