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The Great Mouse Detective Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Clever Sherlock Holmes tribute mixes wit, peril.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Disney tribute to Sherlock Holmes has potentially frightening themes such as kidnapping, blackmail, and world domination. Although it's rated G, it does feature a menacing evil genius who wants to kill the reigning Mouse Queen and uses his creepy henchman bat to commit crimes. There are also a couple of cartoon-violence scenes (a pub brawl and a climactic duel) and notable drinking/smoking scenes. But for young tweens -- especially those interested in detective mysteries -- this should be a fun bet.

  • Families can talk about why stories about detectives solving crimes are so engrossing. Is it because in this case, it's clear who's good and who's evil? How are mysteries with obvious villains and heroes different than mysteries where you don't know who committed the crimes being investigated?
  • What other movies feature an "evil genius" with plans for world domination? Parents, discuss with your kids the significance of legendary actor Vincent Price voicing the mad rat character.
  • For older kids or families familiar with Sherlock Holmes stories: how closely does the plot follow a Holmes mystery? Why are absurdly clever detectives such a popular "type" in crime stories? Did you know the Sherlock Holmes in the movie is voiced by the actor who played him in the classic 1940s films?
  • Roy Disney said this movie was in the "mouse cannon" of Disney films, because the studio was founded on a mouse. What are some other great Disney mice movies?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Basil's smarts defeat Ratigan's greedy plans. Self-sacrifice and courage are rewarded in the end, and the villains get their due comeuppance.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Olivia and her father Mr. Flaversham are very dedicated to each other and bravely try to rescue and protect each other. Basil and Dr. Emerson act courageously to stop Ratigan's evil plans from succeeding.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: An evil rat acts menacingly throughout the movie: He kidnaps a father mouse, threatens him, and then kidnaps his young daughter. A henchman bat can be quite creepy. A cat eats a mouse, and there's a pub fight and final duel between two central characters.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Benign words like "dastardly" and "fiend."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Rodent characters drink/get tipsy in two scenes -- the first near the beginning of the movie when the bad guys are making their evil plans and the second toward the end (takes place in a bar). The villainous rat smokes a cigar; lead character Basil also smokes. A tipsy Watson ogles a burlesque dancer.