Why? Because it's a film for the children of course! You want a remotely grown up cartoon, you watch The Secret Of NIMH or Watership Down! But as a children's film, this works pretty well. Suffice to say, I enjoyed it.
Here be plot: A certain Scottish toy-making mouse, Mr Flavisham, is kidnapped in front of his daughter Olivia, who is a deft kick at pronouncing everything she says sylable by sylable. In desperation the child goes out looking for Basil of Baker Street (as he's constantly referred as). This doesn't last long, as an old dude, Dawson, finds her and takes her to Basil.
Basil is almost as cute as Jonathan B, but remember this is Disney. There are no mysteries, no tragedies, and no chance of bending the character to suit your needs. Basil is charming, suave, dashingly clever and has a smart accent.
So they go off searching for daddy. Following the trail of Fidgit the bat (Ratican's henchman), who has convineantley left a few clues behind by accident. They follow him through a toy-shop, end up in a bar, and after a nasty fight get captured by Ratican (the baddy). And the motive behind his atrocity is made clear. You can watch the film to find out ;-).
Now, in describing that, a few things become apparent. First, stereotypes.
The good people have the sort of posh English accents that everyone in America think we have. Dumbkopfs. Whereas it works well with Basil, it sounds a bit silly at times with the old bloke. I mean, no-one goes "oh my" (with Kenneth Williams type voice), at least not in these days! OK, so the Kenneth Williams thing was an exaggeration, but you get the gist. And Basil's maid is the worst!
Basil sounds a bit like John Cleese at times, and rolls his 'r's like Johnny Rotton.
Another stereotype is with the villians. Ratican is the typical Disney bad-boy. Unattractive, dopey with his plans ("I'll just explain how you can escape from my trap Basil") and very melodramatic. At least Jenner (from SoN) had a bit of charm in him. If anyone from Disney is reading this: SORT YOUR BUTTS OUT!!! I would have liked to have seen a villain as sexy as Basil/Jonathan, but with the cunning and evil of Adolf Hitler. Or maybe a more attractive version of Jenner.
And something quite prominent at the start but almost non-existant through the rest of the film. The dubbing. At the start, it's all out of sync. For people like Disney, this is silly. Considering the amount of money they rake in and their reputation, surely it wouldn't have been too much trouble to sort this out?
One thing I didn't like was the bumping off of a certain Bartholomew. He only spends barely a few minutes on screen, and he's drunk all the time. And when he calls Ratican a rat, he gets eaten by the cat (urgh rhyming). Which is a damn shame cos I liked him.
Another thing. Ratican doesn't like being called a rat. Which becomes the downfall of one or two characters.
A problem I find in many furry films is that the animals are too anthropomorphic. They are too much like people. I could dig the clothes and a lack of anything animal related, but when you see at the end that they can run on four legs and that, you start to think "oh why do I put up with this?" Even Don Bluth went on to do this with the American Tail films. But in the case of Disney, you just have to bear with the fact: "it's a bloody children's film."
Also typical of Disney, corny musical bits. Just for the kids to grin and bear it. But here, the first one's alright, the second one's cheesy and you barely hear the last one. So that's alright.
The crowning glory of the film is the fight between Basil and Ratican inside Big Ben. As is typical of Disney films, a fight at the end with the hero close to dying, but ultimatley winning. What I'd give to see a few main characters shot and dumped in the boot of a few cars, and things like that. But this really works. You actually see the two making a good job of running on four legs, Ratican actually looking like a rat, as with Basil. I suppose it's because they've got their clothes shredded (and nearly clean off with Ratican), the four legged job actually makes them look like proper animals for the first time.
Basil gets beaten up bad, which is what I like to see. Not because I'm an antihero or anything, but because it shows that the hero isn't a smartarse and can get done in a good bit. It's like Bigwig in Watership Down, he looks a hero with blood streaming down him. The looks of determination you get, the blood and torn clothes, it really brings them out. It's a shame you barelt see it with Basil. But it still works.
So, to put it bluntly, an ideal showing for any furry fan who doesn't take anything too seriously.