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TSoN odd bits

Okay, “odd bits” is a catchall term, but in this case I think most TSoN fans know what I mean already. The film has a lot of odd and interesting details that reveal themselves on repeated viewings: subtle visual bits and character-revealing moments, lines of dialogue that may be questionable, things that are generally left unexplained. There was a topic I started in the old forum that covers similar territory:

http://www.thornvalley.com/oldforum/www.thornvalley.com/commons/forum/viewtopiccb9e.html?t=988

…but this one, I think, could be a little broader. So, here’s some that come to mind, including some I’ve seen covered little or not at all:

  1. The scene following Martin’s blowup with Auntie Shrew, I think, said a lot about his character, especially how apologetic he was as his mother brings the broth into the bedroom for Tim, after which his biggest concern is his brother’s well-being. Some have characterized Martin as being a short-tempered hothead with everybody, but I’ve long thought that the Shrew was the only one who really got his goat, and in my stories I’ve presented my own theory as to why.

  2. The Great Owl can be seen standing still alongside the wall of his lair, hidden in shadow, as Mrs. B passes right by him. It took several viewings before I noticed this. Guess he must sleep standing up.

  3. The final scene begins with the establishing shot of the farm, with the tanker truck parked outside the house, bearing the “NIMH” logo, presumably containing poison gas, ostensibly for the purpose of pest control. Am I the only one who thinks it odd that the National Institute of Mental Health would have such a thing loaded up and ready to go, as if it’s business as usual? As if chasing down and eliminating escaped lab animals happens every day?

That’s what I got so far. I’ll come up with some more in a bit.

Comments

  • The Great Owl can be seen standing still alongside the wall of his lair, hidden in shadow, as Mrs. B passes right by him. It took several viewings before I noticed this. Guess he must sleep standing up.

    When they're inside trees I /think/ it's normal for owls to stand up. I could be wrong.

    The final scene begins with the establishing shot of the farm, with the tanker truck parked outside the house, bearing the “NIMH” logo, presumably containing poison gas, ostensibly for the purpose of pest control. Am I the only one who thinks it odd that the National Institute of Mental Health would have such a thing loaded up and ready to go, as if it’s business as usual? As if chasing down and eliminating escaped lab animals happens every day?

    Funny you should mention that! I have my own theory as to why they would have such a truck in my own story (should I finish it).

  • edited November 2015

    Where item #3 is concerned, I have to agree for I too think that it would be somewhat odd for a tanker truck bearing the "NIMH" logo to be kept at the ready. One would think that a covert operation such as NIMH would not hve such a large vehicle at their disposal as it were, but instead they would subcontract or rent one. They also would definitely not have their name emblazoned on the sides again for reasons of security. Can you imagine the panic that would be caused if word got out that there was a group of super intelligent rats that managed to escape from the lab and are now free roaming all over the landscape?

    On item #1; I feel that Martin is perhaps a bit impetuous, but not necessarily a bad kid. This quality is brought to bear in the scene in which Jeremy the Crow is wrongly accused of "snooping about" and subsequently tied up with string and left to the mercy of the elements by Auntie Shrew. It is Martin who suggests that he should be untied because he remembers that his mother helped a crow in the fields the day before yestterday. It is also Martin who volunteers on his own to go look for his mom once Jeremy relents under "tickling" and tells the children that their mother went to visit with the rats. Jeremy literally has to put his foot down in order prevent him from going off on his own to face the unknown dangers of the field.

  • I think as far as Martin goes you have to keep in mind that he did lose his father not terribly long before the events of the film. He's probably having a difficult time dealing with it and as a result is acting out more.

    I would also agree that NIMH wouldn't have their own extermination truck, they would have subcontracted that out. But, if they didn't have NIMH on the side of the truck in the film how many viewers would have been confused?

  • @Azathoth43 said: I would also agree that NIMH wouldn't have their own extermination truck, they would have subcontracted that out. But, if they didn't have NIMH on the side of the truck in the film how many viewers would have been confused?

    And you would also wonder why NIMH would be in the rodent extermination business when they already perform experiments on rodents while putting them through the most unspeakable tortures to satisfy some scientific curiosity.

  • Great posts, guys. More about Martin’s untying Jeremy: I always found it funny that no sooner does Auntie Shrew leave, than Martin makes that suggestion. That always seemed to me to be another way of his defying her and how much value he placed on her authority.

    How about Nicodemus’s line as he observes Mrs. B’s arrival: “For Mrs. Brisby served the Rats of NIMH far more than we her.” I guess he may have been saying she served the Rats indirectly just by being Jonathan’s mate and being supportive of him, but it still seemed a little out of place. In my stories, I hadn’t given the line any thought, really, mainly because I’ve had my own ideas about Nicodemus and the issues he was facing, some without being consciously aware.

  • @DavidLeemhuis said:

    How about Nicodemus’s line as he observes Mrs. B’s arrival: “For Mrs. Brisby served the Rats of NIMH far more than we her.” I guess he may have been saying she served the Rats indirectly just by being Jonathan’s mate and being supportive of him, but it still seemed a little out of place. In my stories, I hadn’t given the line any thought, really, mainly because I’ve had my own ideas about Nicodemus and the issues he was facing, some without being consciously aware.

    The line was 'she WILL serve the rats of NIMH far more than we her' meaning he already knew that she would save them. I think a lot of fanfic writers retcon this bit (including yours, unless I missed something) as people tend to not want to think of Nicodemus foreshadowing his own death.

    You talk about it briefly in search for Johnathan. You pictured that none of the rats wanted to view him as potentially suicidal b/c he knew of his own demise and didn't do anything about it. But he perhaps sacrificed himself ala Star Wars to help Mrs. Brisby with the courage she needed.

  • ^ I just consulted a couple of online sources and they give the line as “Yet Mrs. Brisby, who served the Rats of NIMH far more than we her”, so the basic meaning remains the same, that is to say it’s still murky.

    Also, I reminded myself that we hear the Owl inviting Brisby inside before we still him standing still against the wall, so he definitely wasn’t asleep then.

    Of all the Brisby children, Teresa is the one who’s referred to by name last. The others are introduced by name in the first scene at the cinderblock, but she isn’t named until the Shrew calls her and Martin after she’s finished tying up Jeremy.

  • @DavidLeemhuis said: ^ I just consulted a couple of online sources and they give the line as “Yet Mrs. Brisby, who served the Rats of NIMH far more than we her”, so the basic meaning remains the same, that is to say it’s still murky.

    Man I could've sworn it was "Yet Mrs. Brisby will serve the Rats of NIMH far more than we her."

    ^^ That should clear things up.

    Yup...confirmed by Simon, that's what the subtitles say.

    "Jonathan, your wife has come at last. Perhaps now I can repay you for your kindness to me. Yet Mrs. Brisby will serve the Rats of NIMH far more than we her."

  • edited November 2015

    @ThePuppetMaster said: You talk about it briefly in search for Johnathan. You pictured that none of the rats wanted to view him as potentially suicidal b/c he knew of his own demise and didn't do anything about it. But he perhaps sacrificed himself ala Star Wars to help Mrs. Brisby with the courage she needed.

    You saying in search for Johnathan got me remembering a Secret of NIMH and Star Wars crossover story I read where the author sounded like they were thinking a similar scenario to you about Johnathan Brisby that can be found at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9223903/1/Thorns-and-Fire

    This is a quote taken from the story...

    It wasn't until months later, after meeting with the Rats of NIMH and arranging for her house to be moved in exchange for performing a task her husband was assigned to do would the truth of Jonathan Brisby's fate come unveiled. Mrs. Brisby then used the stone to save her four children from drowning in the mud and healed her youngest child, Timothy, from his illness of pneumonia. She had fallen unconscious and it took no small effort to get her back into her house.

    Justin waited until she revived. He asked Auntie Shrew to keep the children away from their mother in case she had died, and not to stress them with the knowledge that she was gone too like Jonathan. But Mrs. Brisby hadn't gone. She woke up in a fit screaming in absolute terror. Her small chest heaved up and down, up and down heavily as if she had actually used her physical strength to lift the cement block free; but that was impossible wasn't it?

    Sweat matted her fur close to her skin and her eyes were wider than ever before, widened from witnessing something utterly shocking or terrifying. Justin's feelings had told him that she had been through some kind of nightmare or something of the sort like seeing the scenario that her children have died in the mud and there was nothing she could do about it. But as he lowered his head to listen to her, it was anything but what he expected to hear.

    "Justin, I want you to have the stone," she said in a quiet tone.

    "What?" Justin reeled back as if she was a cat that hissed at him. "Mrs. Brisby, I just want to say 'you're welcome' for bringing you back here, but you want to give me the stone?"

    "Yes."

    "But why? Jonathan meant it for you."

    "He did," Brisby paused. She was unsure what to say next, what to tell Justin. Brisby had seen her husband still alive, somewhere out there waiting to return to her. After gathering up her courage, she finally said, "And this is for Jonathan for when he returns."

    Justin stared at her in disbelief. She knew that her husband had been killed trying to slip by the cat unnoticed, but she was talking like she knew nothing of his death.

    "Mrs. Brisby..."

    "I thought he was dead too," She explained. "But I saw him Justin. Jonathan was there. He was holding us all tightly, me and my children. We were all there together. If he is still out there," Her voice cracked slightly, "Please find him. Find him and bring him back."

    Justin shook his head, still disbelieving that Jonathan had survived and had lost his way in the world.

    "I'm not crazy," Brisby begged. "I know it sounds like it, but it's the truth. I know you'll find him. Trust me."

    Justin had barely noticed Mrs. Brisby had placed the stone into his paws and slowly closed his fingers around it. He still stared into her eyes seeking out any deception or madness that lay behind them. All he found was hope and a new sense of enlightenment he hadn't before in his life. Swallowing hard, hoping to find some kind of appeasement from her, he said solemnly, "I'll find him then. Just because you asked."

    "You swear you will?" Now Justin knew that Mrs. Brisby was being very serious about it.

    "I promise to find Jonathan," he said firmly. "No matter what happens."

  • ^ Thanx ErikMouse for the “clip.” ARAJediMaster hasn’t been active here lately but it looks like his crossover is coming right along.

    Listening to that snowy YouTube clip (with the living-room commentary) now, that line still sounds like my first interpretation, with a possible word in between Brisby and served that sounds to my ears like a slight pause but not a real word.

    It reminds me of some discussion a few years ago of a more famous quote, spoken by Neil Armstrong upon setting foot upon the Moon: was it “One small step for man” or “One small step for a man”? There was the same kind of pause there too, like an “um” or “uh.”

    Speaking of ARAJediMaster, he was the one who brought up another odd bit involving Nicodemus: that in the opening scene, he refers to Mrs. B as Johnathan’s widow, but in later scenes, while observing her from afar, he calls her John’s wife; as if he believes him to be alive? Intriguing!

    @ThePuppetMaster said: Yup...confirmed by Simon, that's what the subtitles say.

    "Jonathan, your wife has come at last. Perhaps now I can repay you for your kindness to me. Yet Mrs. Brisby will serve the Rats of NIMH far more than we her."

    If you mean the subtitles in the video releases, then I suppose that would be the last word.

    But I still say... [-(

  • Here's one thing that bugs me. Ya'll know how Mrs. B got cut by the wire holding the cage shut whiplashing her in the arm? In the final scene, shouldn't they have bandaged that too?

  • Nice catch! And likewise, there’s Justin being wounded by Jenner, by which he appears unaffected during their attempts to save the house.

  • It kinda bugged me in an nitpicky way that Mrs. Brisby's cape is green during the viewing globe segments. It doesn't make much sense.

  • How about Mr. Ages’s declaration: “No one has seen the Owl! And lived to tell about it!” It would seem a direct contradiction to Nicodemus referring to him as a “dear comrade,” implying that he, at least, had met the Owl face-to-face and lived to tell the tale. I brought this up in an old post, and I still think that Ages’s “no one has” remark was mainly hyperbole, and he was reacting to his lingering disbelief that Mrs. B had actually made it that far into the Rosebush on her own.

    I always thought there should have been a brief scene following the house-raising, showing that the Brisby kids were safe and well, since, after all, that was done all for them and the last we saw of them they were on the verge of smothering to death. And where was Auntie Shrew during all this? The last we saw of her was her getting conked on the head. Presumably she was in the bedroom seeing to Tim’s welfare, keeping both of them above the mudline.

    And of course there were the nitpicky continuity errors, like during the house raising: in the shot with the rats turning the wheel, we see the house already raised in the background, followed by the shot of the house in the process of being raised, with mud falling away from it. Whawha? :-??

  • How about Mr. Ages’s declaration: “No one has seen the Owl! And lived to tell about it!” It would seem a direct contradiction to Nicodemus referring to him as a “dear comrade,” implying that he, at least, had met the Owl face-to-face and lived to tell the tale. I brought this up in an old post, and I still think that Ages’s “no one has” remark was mainly hyperbole, and he was reacting to his lingering disbelief that Mrs. B had actually made it that far into the Rosebush on her own.

    I always just thought that the Owl had a special relationship with Nicodemus and perhaps Jonathan, meaning it was somewhat secretive. Therefore the idea that Ages wouldn't be aware of their comradery would kinda make sense. The Owl I think was supposed to be this myth among the animals of the forest/farm and even to the rats of NIMH barring Nicodemus, no one really sees him, they just know he exists in some form. The idea that no one lives to tell about it according to Ages would imply that he thinks the Owl is a wise and powerful creature who only takes in those brave enough to seek him out and since most creatures view him as this monster, that rarely happens.

  • Watched it again a day ago, the climax scene seems to be all over the place when it comes to time of day. There are shots where the sky is pitch black in a thunderstorm and parts where it's bright red as if to indicate evening. It's more of an artistic licence as the battle between Justin and Jenner (#TeamJenner) looks cooler with those sky effects, but it is strange.

    I find it weird that Jeremy appears to summon the envelope out of thin air as if his feathers have pockets or something like that.

    Mrs. Brisby's whiskers are really inconsistent too in terms of length and how many she has, but there are a lot of continuity errors like that throughout the film.

  • psh...I'm not going to give away the biology, but birds totally have pockets in their feathers.. >.> Mothwing = proof. XD I haven't watched TSoN in a long time now..o_o 'bout time I do so again..Was on the MUCK as Mothwing earlier today for about 5 minutes. XD Just goofin' off. :3 So I distinctly remember said pockets. <3

  • edited February 2016

    Maybe in the TSoN universe, crows and other corvids are the avian equivalent of marsupials? And maybe males as well as females have pouches?

  • @DavidLeemhuis said: Maybe in the TSoN universe, crows and other corvids are the avian equivalent of marsupials? And maybe males as well as females have pouches?

    Then why in the picture of the Brisby family flying with Jeremy was Martin (who was on his talon) not in the pouch? That clearly would be safer. Why would they need pouches if they lay eggs, anyway? They're avian, so their babies will learn how to fly eventually. Maybe Jeremy's pouches are needed to store all the money he earned from posing as the Great Owl in the sequel. :3

  • Shhhh...Mothwing has pockets, TPM...No logic needed. <3 You're right, though, I'm sure Jeremy didn't have space in his pockets or, considering he's a scatterbrain, he may have just not even thought of using it for Martin. :P

  • A point I’ve strangely never brought up, and I’m not sure anyone else did either, one which in fact is part of my first impression of the film:

    I thought it looked as if there could be some kind of social hierarchy at the Rosebush, when you see the council meeting with all these rats in their finery (and humanlike facial hair) speaking in such imperious tones, giving the impression of their being the elite of the Rosebush; and how that contrasts with the next scene in which we see a large number of rats together: the house moving, where they’re all dressed in a more “ordinary” fashion and look more like conventional rats, and all sweating it to move the cinderblock.

    Somehow I couldn’t imagine any of the councilmembers being among those busting their humps to raise the house. So I couldn’t help getting the impression that there were at least two distinct classes of rats, one of which didn’t get their hands dirty and stood by and let the “lower” class do all the physical labor.

    And here’s Sullivan with his talk about the “lower creatures”!

    It WAS my first impression, and I know now that it’s the relative briefness of both scenes that’s largely responsible for it, since this is Brisby’s story and it’s not really about the Rats and their social order—though a little of that might have made it more interesting.

    And while we’re on the council meeting, how about the lack of female rats? We do see some that appear to be female by the way they’re dressed, and in the later scene, some of the rats raising the house could possibly be female but dressed the same as the males. Maybe it’s a unisex work outfit they all wear. Still, none of the anonymous rats speak in a female voice, so… :-??

    In my own fan-fics, I’ve downplayed all this and established that in Thorn Valley a more egalitarian attitude prevails, with everyone lending a hand toward building up the new colony and providing for everyone.

  • edited June 2016

    @DavidLeemhuis

    My guess is that the working class appoints the councilmembers, who dictate resource management and labor allocation. My guess would be that the rats have a formal election process and the elected serve a set number of years before being set up for reelection after their terms are over. I also guess that not all the rats are fit for labor, so such positions are there for teachers/education or assistance or research or blahblahblah. Perhaps one representative from each department (again, education and the like) gets elected (tho due to the high number of councilmembers in the film, I dunno).

    There ought to be people who don't like the plan, which is why Jenner (#TeamJenner4Lyfe) is an elected official. At this point, I'm sure the colony doesn't have a well grounded constitution. I'm sure the council has more power than the leader as a result. This probably changed after the events of the film and a new hierarchy is put in place, with the leader being able to veto and the council being able to override that veto with a majority vote.

    In my own fan-fics, I’ve downplayed all this and established that in Thorn Valley a more egalitarian attitude prevails, with everyone lending a hand toward building up the new colony and providing for everyone.

    I think the idea of an egalitarian society is there, it's just not perfect. The rats have shown arrogance and error in the film. And in the novel, there certainly was more gravity towards trading favors and making sure you do good work equal to that of others. A completely egalitarian society would consider the fact that even the tiniest of jobs (such as scrubbing floors) is worth the same as lifting a house from the mud. Everyone would be pitching in because they want to benefit everyone else and not themselves and again, the rats have shown that they can be arrogant, so I don't really buy into that social structure. And as I said before, it doesn't make for fun fanfic material cause the stakes are soooooo low. But that's just me. :P I've already said enough on that subject.

  • Honestly, I like the idea of the rats keeping a few feral instincts such as the females generally being more adventurous and the males generally being a bit more likely to want to argue/debate about things. It would explain why the council seems mostly, if not all male and leave a bit of room for some interesting character ideas in fanfics. :)

    In my own fanfic (which I don't actually plan on sharing, because it focuses more on a later generation) the farther down the line the rats go, the less feral attributes are noticeable, but there's also a spike in birth defects.

    But all that is speculation and opinions drizzled over imagination. jazzpaws Egalitarian ideas as far as gender goes is a good idea, too, but I like the idea of there being certain gender-biased jobs that can be taken on by the 'wrong' gender. I don't imagine the colony would be up in arms about it, but maybe the rat's peers are tough on them, or bully them a bit.

    I try to work off of the fact that the rat's society is very new and still forming. :3 Makes for interesting issues to pop up and cause tension. :D

  • edited June 2016

    @Mandy said: But all that is speculation and opinions drizzled over imagination. jazzpaws Egalitarian ideas as far as gender goes is a good idea, too, but I like the idea of there being certain gender-biased jobs that can be taken on by the 'wrong' gender. I don't imagine the colony would be up in arms about it, but maybe the rat's peers are tough on them, or bully them a bit.

    Sexism, homophobia, and other issues I feel are more human constructs more than anything. I can totally see the rats adopting class issues and conflict over intelligence quotas, but if Jenner were to make out with Sullivan in public, I don't think the rats would bat an eye. #TeamJenner

    I can also see the rats keeping some of their feral instincts such as being territorial to an extent and needing company. The latter being why I wouldn't think the rats would develop sexism or homophobia (or transphobia or other LGBTQ+ hatred). The less artificial hate, the better you'll get along.

    I also think they'd adopt more gender neutral clothing for everyday tasks and allow a bit more freedom of expression for recreation purposes. For example, a uniform of such would be used for work at a specific department (which would explain the worker rats at the end of the film looking the same), but for a party, clothing of any style could be used.

    So yeah, gender 'limitations' probably wouldn't exist in the rat world, IMHO.

  • I don't believe the rats would be setting any actual social gender limitations, but pet rats (dunno about feral) that are male act differently than females. Biologically speaking, there are certain things that draw in females and certain things that draw in males and it's not something exclusively sexist..I guess that wouldn't be a 'limitation' though, so I dunno what point I was even trying to make there..O.o Not going to delete it...My brain salad is open to everyone. <3

    I probably wouldn't actually incorporate sexism or homophobia into any stories personally because it's something that pushes people's buttons easily. But I can imagine a lot of good drama for the writing created by such problems and wouldn't be against reading a story with such if it was written well or the subject was just.. "Grazed" I guess? If it wasn't treated as a huge thing and only served as a splotch in the story?

    Anyway, gender neutral clothes make sense to me, too, for the most part..I dunno how many of them wear pants/skirts or whatnot, so it'd be hard for me to tell either way. #TeamJenner #RebelAgainstPants (Jenner didn't wear pants...>.> Join meeeeeee) <3

  • @Mandy said: I don't believe the rats would be setting any actual social gender limitations, but pet rats (dunno about feral) that are male act differently than females. Biologically speaking, there are certain things that draw in females and certain things that draw in males and it's not something exclusively sexist..I guess that wouldn't be a 'limitation' though, so I dunno what point I was even trying to make there..O.o Not going to delete it...My brain salad is open to everyone. <3

    It just goes to show that you have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit. Yes, biologically speaking there are differences between male and female rats and their behaviors, but they're also quite human. The fact that social structure is barely touched on in the film I guess is part of the mystery of the rat colony. My point was that the rats probably wouldn't care about a female in a traditionally male role or vice versa.

    I probably wouldn't actually incorporate sexism or homophobia into any stories personally because it's something that pushes people's buttons easily. But I can imagine a lot of good drama for the writing created by such problems and wouldn't be against reading a story with such if it was written well or the subject was just.. "Grazed" I guess? If it wasn't treated as a huge thing and only served as a splotch in the story?

    I wouldn't dare center a story based entirely around hate mongering in the NIMH Universe. The whole 'lower creatures' and power struggles drama is good enough to set up tension as is. I can see them wanting to be better than humans, it's deciding how to be better than humans that would make for great NIMH drama. So far the stories I've read either create an almost completely Utopian rat society (like Gibbs, although he managed to make drama out of the struggle of maintaining perfection) or something really dystopian (like Darkest Days...or my own story). I think The Secret of the Stone does a good job in making the rat colony seem like something that needs improvement without going full on dystopia, but that story wasn't really about TV life.

    Anyway, gender neutral clothes make sense to me, too, for the most part..I dunno how many of them wear pants/skirts or whatnot, so it'd be hard for me to tell either way. #TeamJenner #RebelAgainstPants (Jenner didn't wear pants...>.> Join meeeeeee) <3

    "Pants are nothing but folly, a doddering old fool's fantasy!"

  • Here's another odd bit (back to OT). When Mrs. Brisby climbs up the mill after the Dragon chase with Jeremy, she kinda teleports in mid air when she's on the water wheel, and when she gets up the wall, she does a Spiderman trick and sticks to it to climb up to the building.

    ^4:12-4:17

    The animation looks weird here. I mean, it must've been really hard to animate a 2 legged animal to do all of those parkour moves, but yeah. Weird.

  • ^ Are you sure we're talking about the same scene? It looks to me like Brisby is holding onto the algae clinging to the wheel, and then hopped onto the rope and climbed it to the interior of the mill.

    Parkour? :-/

    Some great observations on the "social hierarchy" posts by you and Mandy, BTW.

  • edited June 2016

    @DavidLeemhuis said: ^ Are you sure we're talking about the same scene? It looks to me like Brisby is holding onto the algae clinging to the wheel, and then hopped onto the rope and climbed it to the interior of the mill.

    Oh wow, I thought the rope was in the foreground and she was climbing up the wall. Thanks for that. I still see her teleporting, but I guess you could argue that she jumped, but it looked like one frame she was on on one platform of the wheel and on the next she was on the one above it with no leg movement to indicate jumping.

    Edit: Yeah, that animation looks weird. She actually jumped up 2 platforms in the span of 1 frame. If you slow down the video (which you can on YT) to 1/4 speed it looks like she landed on one platform and instantly teleported to the one above it. Weird.

    Parkour? :-/

    Are you confused by the meaning of the word? I guess this wouldn't be considered parkour if she used the rope to climb up anyway.

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