Where Rodents Dare (1996)

Directed by Greg Reyna & Dave Marshall
Voice actors: Maurice La Marche, Rob Paulsen

Forget Blofeld, Dr Evil or Fu Manchu; when it comes to evil geniuses who plan to take over the world, the is only one true master – he is the Brain. The Brain is a laboratory mouse, who through ghastly experimentation has developed phenomenal intelligence. By day, he is trapped in his cage in the laboratory, with Pinky, a dimwitted rodent. Each night, this pair escape from their cage and attempt to take over the world.

Where Rodents Dare is one of the episodes from the Pinky And The Brain television series, and as no doubt you’ve guessed from the title, it is a pastiche of Where Eagles Dare.

The episode opens with the janitor coming to the ACME laboratories to clean the rodent’s cages. But waiting for him are Pinky and the Brain. Pinky is holding a test tube over his shoulder like a bazooka. Inside the test tube, Brain has concocted a freezing agent that he calls his ‘catalytic immobiliser’. It freezes it’s victim for 24 hours. As the janitor opens the door to the cage, Pinky ‘fires’ the test tube. The janitor is frozen and Pinky and the Brain escape.

Brain’s plan for world domination on this evening involves a summit of World Leaders who are meeting in a chalet, called Schloss Dunkershein, on top of the Swiss Alps. Brain reasons that whoever controls the summit, controls the world. And he intends to do this, by freezing the world leaders, just as he did the janitor.

By hiding in a parcel being posted to Switzerland, Pinky and the Brain move via delivery van and aeroplane to Switzerland. Like Where Eagles Dare, the soundtrack features military style snare drums on the soundtrack. But in Where Rodents Dare it is revealed that Pinky is in fact playing the drums as the action unfurls, much to the chagrin of Brain – ’…please stop that or I shall be forced to hurt you.’

Pinky and the Brain parachute from the mail delivery plane, down to their target. Upon landing, they slide off the ice covered roof, into a drain pipe, and ultimately off the mountain. Now Pinky and the Brain have to make their way back up to the summit again. This time they ride up on cable car. This doesn’t go to plan either, and our rodent heroes end up caught up in the cogs and thrown down to the bottom of the mountain again.

Next, they decide to scale the mountain in the style of The Guns Of Navarone. This isn’t without incident, but eventually the furry white duo make it to the top, and into the meeting room with the world leaders. In the room are the Queen, Mikail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Bill Clinton, Yassah Arrafat and a myriad of other world leaders. Pinky attempts to fire Brain’s ‘catalytic immobiliser’, but as always, the plan goes wrong.

Of course, Pinky And The Brain is aimed at kids, but like the best animated shows, there is another layer that adults can enjoy. The whole Pinky And The Brain series is littered with film injokes (especially from the Warner Bros. back catalogue). While the injokes will go over most children’s heads, any adult with evern a cursory knowledge of film history will get the references to Where Eagles Dare or The Guns Of Navarone, or in other episodes Godzilla or even Da Boot. But regardless, if you are a film boffin or not, there is a lot to enjoy in Pinky And The Brain.

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