‘Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH’ Scampering Back To The Big Screen

One of my weirdest obsessions as a wee lass was Don Bluth’s 1982 animated film “The Secret of NIMH.” I must have watched it dozens of times on television and was impressed enough by its humble rodent cast to read the book it was based on. If you’ve never seen it — or read Robert C. O’Brien’s book, “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” — you should.

“NIMH” is the story of a widowed field mouse named Mrs. Frisby (renamed Mrs. Brisby in the film) who is faced with an enormous problem for such a fragile little animal. She has a sick child who she must evacuate from their home in a farmer’s field before its plowed. To do so, she needs the help of a group of highly evolved field rats who live nearby. When she enlists their assistance, she discovers that they need her just as much as she needs them.

It’s a great story. I suspect that many will cry foul at the news of a remake, but I’m all for it. It certainly looks like we’ll be getting one, courtesy of Paramount. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that the studio is developing a new version of the classic stor, with Neil Burger (“The Illusionist”) currently in talks to direct. Interest has renewed in the story thanks to the recent success of rodent stars in “G-Force” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” as well as the enduring popularity of fantasy film franchises like “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

Oddly, the studio is said to be contemplating a live action and CG hybrid like the recent hit “G-Force.” That doesn’t make a lot of sense as there simply aren’t many elements that need to be live action. The entire cast is made up of animals, while the few humans are portrayed as shadowy and menacing figures.

While I’d love to see what modern animation could bring to the story, I hope Paramount focuses on the classic tale over technological tricks. If “NIMH” is filled with CGI flash and 3-D gimmicks, it will not only break my heart (and we don’t want to do that!) but it will be dismissed as a disposable kid movie instead of something that could rival Pixar.

Do you want to see “NIMH” remade? Or will your heart always belong to the 1982 version? How do you think they should tackle the story?