Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Sign of Four/The Great Mouse Detective/The best way to end 2011

My intelligent thoughts on The Sign of Four may not be sufficient to fill a whole post, but I just rewatched The Great Mouse Detective and it's the last day of 2011 and I WANT TO SPEND IT WITH SHERLOCK. *Ahem*

First of all, props to Disney for making a faithful representation of Sherlock Holmes in mouse form. I was too innocent (and too traumatized by the world's creepiest bat) to see it when I watched this as a child, but Basil has all the signs of being manic-depressive and nursing a cocaine habit.

Basil is depressed (note the violin).

Basil is manic (note the pupils...and confiscate the gun).
Really, between the bat that haunts your dreams, the slutty bar mouse, the morbidly obese cat that eats anyone who annoys Ratigan, and the excessive drinking by cartoon animals, this is THE BEST KIDS' MOVIE OF ALL TIME. Sure to leave emotional scars and a deep-seated love of mice and all things Sherlock Holmes.

Anywoodle, I do have a couple of observations regarding The Sign of Four, other than its shocking lack of crime-solving mice.

When the story picks up, Watson has been living with Holmes for years and is starting to get used to his peculiarities. What he CAN'T seem to get used to is the sight of Holmes injecting himself with cocaine and/or morphine, which seems to be a regular occurrence.
Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance, but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. (p. 91)
Poor, sweet Watson. He's just a moral, upright mouse man who wants to live a quiet sort of life. Not much chance of that since Holmes needs either a complex mystery or drugs to keep his thinky bits stimulated.
I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. I find it, however, so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment. (p. 91)

But this story does see Watson finding love with the lovely Mary Morstan. And they are disgustingly adorable. Even Holmes begrudgingly admits as much as he reaches for the cocaine bottle.

In mouse form, she's quite out of Watson's league.
Next year for me will include Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (aka Irene Adler! Finally!). Until then, Happy New Year, everyone . . . and I leave you with this sage advice from Watson.

SOURCE: Conan Doyle, Arthur. (1938). "The Sign of Four." In The Complete Sherlock Holmes (pp. 91–173). Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishers.


  1. And now I want to watch The Great Mouse Detective.

  2. That was pretty much my goal in writing this. Success!

  3. Lol I love this post. I had completely forgotten about this mouse movie, I'll have to get it for dd (*cough* myself)

  4. OMG I love your post sooooo much! THIS MUCH!  The Great Mouse Detective was my favorite Disney movie for the longest time - I think it killed my aunt that this is all I wanted to watch with her every time she came to visit,  (I still have the VHS) and not the typical disney princess ones.  But man oh man I always got scared during the Ratigan/Basil got into fisticuffs on the Big Ben.

  5. YES! That part is nerve-racking! Also, this was the first movie that mixed computer animation with traditional animation. All the clock parts were computer animated, and the mice were animated in the old way.

    I had this on audio cassette (remember when you could get those from the library, in the plastic baggies?), and I had to fast-forward through all the parts with Fidget. Scary bat was too scary for me.

  6. There's no shame in watching cartoons! They still have life lessons to teach us, like don't trust a rat who has a pet cat and don't drink too much.