Secret of NIMH 2, The: Timmy to the Rescue (1998)
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Dick Sebast|
Twentieth Century Fox
Whitney Claire Kaufman
William H. Macy
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† The long-awaited sequel to The Secret of N.I.M.H. did not meet with any enthusiasm from fans at all. Many were very disappointed that after sixteen years this effort was the best that the studios could come up with; a mediocre excuse for a storyline, fairly typical animation, very average audio and a very poorly put together screenplay that felt more like a string of musical numbers tied together with meaningless dialogue than a coherent story worthy of the legacy. This is unfortunate as the original rats of N.I.M.H. were vastly more complex and interesting and had enormously more potential for intriguing and engaging future development than this drivel we were delivered. Anyway, Iíll disengage the bias and describe the plot, if thatís what it can be called.
†††† The Secret of N.I.M.H. 2, Timmy to the Rescue relays the story of Timmy (Andrew Ducote, Ralph Macchio, Alex Strange) who is the son of Jonathon, the mouse who saved the rats from N.I.M.H. and who are now living safely in Thorn Valley. Nicodemus prophesized that Timmy would be called upon to save the rats once more from the threat of N.I.M.H. and so it is that Timmy is brought to Thorn Valley to grow up and become the inevitable hero. As the story unfolds, we learn that the scientists had recaptured the mice that failed to escape from N.I.M.H. with the original rats, and are now planning to
attack Thorn Valley at the next full moon. We also learn that Timmyís older brother, Martin (Phillip Glasser, Eric Idle, Phillip Van Dyke), has also been captured so Timmy sets out with the help of a new friend, Jenny (Hynden Walch), to rescue his brother, her family, the other mice and ultimately the rats from the scientists at N.I.M.H. He is also helped along the way by some old friends from the original including Jeremy (Dom DeLuise), the crow and Justin (William H. Macy), the old captain of the guard, now the leader of the rats of Thorn Valley.
†††† In addition to the lack of original and creative plot, there are also some shamelessly stolen concepts from other films used here, some of which may surprise. For instance, the scene with Jeremy pretending to be the Great Owl is reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz and the final escape segment from N.I.M.H. is almost identical to a scene in Die Hard 2 (I kid you not) when Bruce Willis escapes from the fireball explosion of a plane by pressing the eject button on the pilot's seat. However, like many other elements in this film, these were not enough to save the plot and thus the fans were ultimately disappointed. This is a very poor sequel.
†††† The video presentation is effectively flawless except for some minor loss of detail and shadow detail at times.
†††† The main feature is presented in a fullscreen aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is NOT 16x9 enhanced. Being a direct-to-video release, this is the original and intended aspect ratio.
†††† In general the image is very sharp, except in a few specific places and the presentation does not suffer from any noise or grain. The black levels are excellent and the shadow details are very good. Likewise, the white levels are very good and provide for a wide contrast. The colours are alive and vibrant and never suffer from any oversaturation.
†††† There are no significant MPEG artefacts at all and there is only some very minor aliasing which is only noticeable if youíre really looking for it, for instance on Timmyís whiskers at 5:02 & 27:45.
†††† I did not spot a single hair, fleck, scratch or mark on the source film at all although Iím sure there is at least one (cue the emails/comments). It looks to me that the source film was in remarkably good condition when they mastered this disc.
†††† ďOh where, oh where have my subtitles gone? Oh where, oh where can they be?Ē Theyíve run off with the extras, thatís where theyíve gone. Come on guys/gals, itís not that hard to do a couple of measly subtitles is it? At the very least you could have duplicated the ones that were on the R1 version.
†††† The feature is contained wholly within a single layer so there is no RSDL change present.
†††† The audio, whilst being very clear and of high quality, is devoid of any memorable characteristics. The use of 5.1 discrete channels to encode a left, right and centre is really quite pointless.
†††† There are several audio tracks encoded on this disc. I primarily listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix and briefly sampled the others. All of the mixes are very front-heavy, making little or no use of the surrounds or subwoofer at all. Interestingly, I found the R4 English mix much easier to listen to than its R1 counterpart, although I cannot precisely determine why. It may have been as a result of the pitch difference between the two, making the R1 version sound duller in comparison. Also of interest is the fact that the English soundtrack exhibits the standard increased pitch effect due to the PAL 4% speedup, however the other tracks do not! So, if anyone is interested in checking their own sensitivity to this artefact you can do so on this disc.
†††† The dialogue is clear and distinct at all times although the lip sync left a lot to be desired.
†††† When taken in isolation, the music by Lee Holdridge is actually not bad and the lyrics (Richard Sparks) match with the storyline very well. When examined in the context of the presentation however, the situation changes. The music did not flow on from the storyline at all. It was almost forcefully placed as though the producer was trying to create a story that strung together several musical numbers (sound like a familiar theme?) rather than create a solid story supported by some appropriate songs. This is in direct contrast to the original The Secret of N.I.M.H. where the music was completely integrated into the main feature, such that none of the characters ever actually broke out into a song. I preferred the original. This set of songs was simply too ďin your faceĒ for my liking.
†††† Such was the lack of any surround and subwoofer activity that I actually became concerned that maybe something wasnít working properly and started to physically check my equipment whilst the feature was playing. I am pleased to report that technically everything is OK on my side, however I cannot say the same for The Secret of N.I.M.H. 2ís 5.1 surround mix. This is really a stereo encoded 2.0 effort masquerading as 5.1 channels. That said, the 2.0 (5.1) mix is pretty good.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† Itís there, it works and thatís about all it does.
†††† Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced. This is the only extra you get. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††† I compared several aspects of the US R1 and our local R4 version and found that I preferred the local release for a number of reasons, the least of which were the increased resolution and colour fidelity that is present in the PAL release. Mind you, this difference is very slight. The primary reason I prefer the local version, however, is because of the soundtrack. For some reason, I found the R4 English soundtrack much easier to listen to than the US R1 equivalent. I tried to identify why this was the case but could not find any obvious causes such as loudness or clarity; it may be the pitch difference that makes the R1 version sound duller. The US R1 version also has a different set of language soundtracks present on the disc and a number of subtitles that our version does not have.
††† The R4 version (preferred) misses out on;
††††The Secret of N.I.M.H. 2, Timmy to the Rescue is a very weak sequel to a very strong original. Unless the family is absolutely in love with Timmy and need to see more of him, there is little real substance here.
††††The video quality is very, very good.
††††The audio quality is average, lacking any surround ambience at all.
††††The extras. Iím sorry but a poorly recorded theatrical trailer is not an extra. (p.s. Actually, Iím not sorry.)
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||JVC Interiart Flat 68cm Display 16:9. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||Front LR - NEAR MainMast, Center - NEAR 20M, Surround LR - NEAR Spinnaker DiPoles, Rear LR - NEAR MainMast-II, Subwoofer - NEAR PS-2 DiPole|