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The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue

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The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue
TheSecretofNIMH2.jpg
A sequel to a dark symbolic thriller with all of it's complexity and edginess being replaced by painfully cheesy songs and a saccharine setting? Sure! What could possibly go wrong?
Genre: Adventure
Musical
Directed By: Dick Sebast
Produced By: Paul Sabella
Jonathan Dern
Written By: Sam Graham
Chris Hubbell
Jymn Magon (Additional Material)
Based On: Rats of NIMH
Starring: Ralph Macchio
Dom DeLuise
Eric Idle
Hynden Walch
Meshach Taylor
Arthur Malet
William H. Macy
Andrea Martin
Harvey Korman
Andrew Ducote
Distributed By: MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date: December 22, 1998
Runtime: 69 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $6,000,000
Prequel: The Secret of NIMH


The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue is a 1998 American direct-to-video animated film directed by Dick Sebast and produced by MGM Animation without the involvement or input from Don Bluth, the director of the first Secret of NIMH movie, and is unrelated to the original book's sequel, Racso and the Rats of NIMH.

Plot

After recovering from an illness that plagued him in his youth, country mouse Timmy Brisby grows into a strong young rodent. And when fellow Thorn Valley resident Jenny McBride begs him to find her missing mother and father, he gets the opportunity to prove himself worthy of the Brisby name. Timmy sets out on a journey that puts him on a collision course with wicked mouse Martin and the dreaded National Institute of Mental Health.

Why It Can't Come to the Rescue

  1. The main problem with the movie is that it abandons all of the original film's serious tone, storytelling, complexity, and intense sequences in favor of a ridiculous and sugar-coated plot and sickly sweet safeness that never takes a single risk to tell a deep story. The terrific, dark atmosphere that feel something like a drama yet still feels like a animated movie that the original film had is now replaced with exaggeratedly and nauseatingly colorful backgrounds and a sappy tone. And above all, every single trace of the intensity, maturity, through-provoking tone and tension that was present in the first film's story is completely gone.
  2. The animation has a noticeably much lower quality than the original film's, making it look generic and has a much less complex and serious vibe than the original's.
  3. Timothy Brisby is flanderized into an extremely annoying and unlikable protagonist. He's now useless, pathetic, one-dimensional, and very impulsive as he rarely thinks before he acts. And yet he's repeatedly worshipped and spoiled by the town, even when he hasn't literally done anything heroic or substantial. His impulsiveness puts himself and his friends in danger! Nothing about him says that he could serve as a hero to defeat the evil that would threaten the rats of NIMH, and it leaves the audience questioning why Nicodemus even chose him to be the one to save the rats from evil in the first place (not to mention that he doesn't even know what NIMH is as revealed when Justin tells him about it). And he does absolutely nothing he was supposed to do as his role as the hero, Jenny did all that stuff. Despite all that Timmy is still honored as the hero!
    • It's also worth noting that him and Jenny end up falling in love by the end with absolutely no explanation whatsoever. They've never been shown to have any sort of romantic interest in each other at any other point in the movie and the absolute closest thing they've had to chemistry is working together to stop Martin. But that's still not a real way to build up they're relationship over the course of the film, because just because they've been working together doesn't mean they necessarily have to be in love. They have to show some real chemistry first, and that's not what happens here.
      • Mrs. Brisby is completely and utterly ignored in favor of Timmy. All her accomplishments in her efforts to save her family and the rats of NIMH are entirely disregarded and never brought up once.
  4. Similar to Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back, Cars 2, and FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue, it's another case of a sequel shifting the focus from the previous film's protagonist to a side character who ends up being annoying, unlikable, and a major cut-down from the predecessor's main character, all the while shoving said protagonist aside in favor of the new, inferior one. Not only does this make it seem less like an actual sequel to the original film, but the new protagonist turns out to be either an inferior knock-off or an unlikable character.
  5. The soundtrack is awful and incredibly cheesy, mainly consisting of horrendous and repetitive songs. The songs themselves which are extremely saccharine and stupid, with the lyrics coming off as corny and most of them being full of, as PhantomStrider puts it, themes of self-gratification.
    • "Come Make the Most of Your Life" is the song that the civilians sing to Timmy about indulging him to his heart's content all for doing absolutely nothing! They just heard about the fact that he was destined for greatness and now, they're all spoiling him even though he didn't fulfill his "destiny" yet! Not to mention that even besides that, it's not a good song. It's lyrics are corny and unoriginal, and the voices singing it, not to mention the song's own overall beat, make it sound incredibly annoying.
    • "I Will Show the World" is the song Timmy sings about how he'll never be exactly like his father but how he'll still end up living up to his fame. And while the concept of Timmy feeling insecure and stressed about being compared to and expected to live up to the success of his father could've worked, it's ultimately overshadowed by the fact that not only is this song so unoriginal and blunt about it's symbolism in the movie, but both the child and teenager voices of Timmy don't feel like they can actually.
    • "Magic Mystery Show" is so ridiculously cartoony both in terms of the lyrics and the sound of the voice that sings it that it only continues to enforce the movie's tone of being a cheap product made to cash in on the original movie's success rather than a genuine sequel to the first movie all the more.
    • "Just Say Yes!" is full of nonsensical and ridiculously stupid lyrics about Martin singing about all he can now do with his status as a mad scientist mastermind. Along with his trying to get Timmy to join him on his quest to rule the world.
    • "All I Had is Gone" tries desperately to be emotional, but it instead comes off as little more than simple drama.
    • "My Life and My Love", tries all it can to be a heartwarming anthem, similar to how the aforementioned "All I Had is Gone" tries as hard as it possibly can to be sad. But, just like how the latter of which falls completely flat on it's face in terms of how it was meant to make the audience feel, this song only succeeds in being unbearably cheesy and of course, cliched.
    • Speaking of which, Ralph Macchio (the voice of adult Timmy) cannot sing, which comes off as off-putting.
  6. More often than not, the dialogue comes off as cringeworthy and mostly laughable.
  7. The plot twist of Timmy's brother Martin becoming the main villain is quite possibly one of the most stupid and nonsensical plot twists in any animated film ever. Especially considering he turned out to be a very corny villain who was far from threatening. He also feels inferior to the previous film's antagonist, Jenner. As his motive is downgraded to a being generic mastermind who desires to take over the world. Seriously! Compare that to Jenner's goal to overthrow Nicodemus and become the new leader of the rats of NIMH, the former of which he actually succeeded at. And how do they follow him up? With a generic big bad guy who's actually the hero's brainwashed twin sibling and schemes to, you guessed it, take over the world.
  8. Extremely Poor Continuity: The film constantly makes things up that disregards the events of the original, as well as within itself. For example, it turns out Nicodemus foretold of Timmy's greatness in spite of never saying anything remotely related to that in the first film!
    • And even besides that, plot details that would've been useful to know beforehand or should have an entire scene to explain and establish them are just randomly thrown in without proper establishment or explanation, like Martin's love-hate relationship with Timmy, his disappearance from the family, and the fact that he managed to conquer NIMH.
  9. Misleading Title: Despite being called "Timmy to the Rescue", Timmy barely does any of the heroism (as previously mentioned in WIS#3), and Jenny is the one who does most of the heroic work.
  10. Hypocrisy: The townsfolk constantly pamper and worship Timmy like the hero they see him as, yet they get upset at him whenever he thinks he's better than everyone. Gee, I wonder why that is?
  11. This movie, in spite of being marketed and advertised as such, barely feels like an actual sequel to the The Secret of NIMH. Because as mentioned before, it has none of the original film's heart, depth, or complexity. While making a sappy, immature film would already be bad, making it the sequel to something like The Secret of NIMH only makes it go from bad to worse. Because given how mature the original movie was (especially for a children's film), only for the sequel to dumb it down into being so childish and sugar-coated, it completely soils the original film and it's symbolism and reduces it to nothing but a cheap product. It's due to all these factors that it not only feels like a complete and utter insult to the original movie, but also like it doesn't even take place in the same universe as the original movie.
  12. The worst part is that the original book's sequel, Racso and the Rats of NIMH, wasn't even adapted, which could have been more interesting than what we got instead. But since the abysmal reception of this movie ruined any chances of another sequel.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some heartwarming moments like Jeremy cheering up Timmy on their journey to Thorn Valley.
  2. The voice acting, while not as good as the first film's, is still decent, with Eric Idle having fun voicing Martin.
  3. Martin, while nowhere near on the same level of Jenner, can still be pretty entertaining at times.
    • On the topic of the new characters here, Jenny is pretty likable as she actually cares about saving her parents and those around her, unlike Timmy.
  4. At least it isn't canon as a sequel to the original movie, no matter how hard it tries to be.

Reception

While the original The Secret of NIMH was widely acclaimed, Timmy to the Rescue received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics, audiences, and fans of the original film, to the point where it became one of the few Don Bluth sequels to be explicitly dismissed from canon. Entertainment Weekly's Marc Bernardin gave the sequel a C- grade and said, "Alas, this Bluth-less direct-to-tape sequel [...], about a mouse's transformation from misfit to hero, has none of the original's heart or craft, and all of the sappy songwriting and patchwork plotting common to further adventures." The Chicago Tribune's Harlene Ellin gave it one and a half stars out of four, adding that "the uninspired continuation [...] clearly wasn't worth the wait". The Radio Times panned the film's "sub-Saturday morning level of animation and art design," the "surprisingly grim tone," the "frenzied pace" and "extremely choppy" writing. IMDb has a rating of 3.4/10 and Rotten Tomatoes has a 24% audience score.

This movie is one of Doug Walker's most hated animated movies besides A Troll in Central Park, critizing it for abandoning the dark aspect the original has, barely having Ms. Brisby in it besides the beginning and mindboggling choices they made. Don Bluth, the director of the first movie made a similar statement, to which he expresses his disapproval towards the producers for making it.

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