by BSB Kristina “Curly” Manente
Let’s be honest. None of you are surprised it’s me writing this one. I don’t hide my adoration of The Great Mouse Detective from anyone, and I definitely won’t hold back my love for the little Scottish doe* that could, Olivia Flaversham.
For those who don’t know (and shame on you!) about The Great Mouse Detective, let me enlighten you. Also known as Basil of Baker Street, The Great Mouse Detective is Disney’s 26th animated film and tells the adventure of Sherlock Holmes admiring Basil and his new found friend and partner, Dr. David Q. Dawson. How do they meet? Well there’s no Stamford here, oh no, there’s Olivia Flaversham. The movie is their adventure in trying to stop the evil Professor Rattigan, played by a brilliant Vincent Price, and save all of Mousedom. It’s fabulous and wonderful and full of lots of fun canonical nuggets like Toby and the fact Basil lives under 221B at 221 1/2. It also covers everything from A Study In Scarlet to The Sign of Four to The Final Problem. It’s a delicious gem of Sherlockiana and I will be perfectly happy if you cease to read this and go watch the movie instead. I’ll wait.
Okay, so Olivia Flaversham.
See, her father is a toy maker. I’d say a magic toy maker because damn he got a toy to dance like a freaking ballerina in the 1800s. Apparently this is one hell of a dangerous profession in the mouse world because he ends up being rather violently kidnapped by a mutilated bat named Fidget… thus scaring hundreds of children to this day. Not to mention it was her BIRTHDAY! That’s just rude.
See, look how scared she looks. Yeah, so Daddy is gone and that leaves our little heroine not only alone (because mothers cannot exist in Disney features), but with nothing more to her than her adorable little tartan skirt and a few paintbrushes. So what does she do? Does she mope about and cry and get eaten by the cat of sadness? No! She reads a newspaper and finds out there’s a famous detective, and she tracks him down!
Well, she tries. She is just a kid. She gets lost on the way and ends up crying in a boot in the rain. But lucky for her, that’s when the kind-hearted Dr. Dawson shows up and brings her to Baker Street, where surely all her problems will be solved.
Except Basil of Baker Street is a straight up douche-nozzle of a mouse that simply doesn’t have time for lost fathers. Olivia isn’t a pushover though, and she refuses to give up on her dad. Fact is Basil, Olivia isn’t taking any of your crap.
And this is what I love about Olivia. She doesn’t care that Basil is this famous detective who loves the sound of his own voice. What she cares about is getting her father back, and she does what it takes and remains brave throughout the entire ordeal… and damn is it an ordeal. She’s kidnapped, imprisoned, held as ransom, and has to watch friends and family in danger and her own life is threatened multiple times.
She’s a great character. She’s a heroine who is young and sometimes foolish, but she’s one who remains strong and brave. She is an example of what a heroine should be for young girls. While she’s independent, she’s not afraid to rely on others for help or show affection… a quality that a lot of modern heroines seem to lack, being presented as too independent and refusing any help. She does everything for love, but it’s love for her father, not some hot young buck* she only just met (though cheers to Frozen for making fun of this). And while she may feel helpless and scared, she never stops trying.
She’s also just super sassy.
While the movie may be called The Great Mouse Detective, the story is about Olivia. It’s her case. She’s the one who seems to soften Basil’s heart and makes him realize he could do with a friend. Luckily Dawson is there to accept the offer.
Olivia Flaversham is sweet and daring, and also a badass little mouse. So go watch the movie. If you already have, go watch it again… and then read the books by Eve Titus. They don’t have Olivia, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend them. In short, be as brave as Olivia and maybe rock the big red bow as well. I daresay it’s hipster enough.
* A female mouse is called a doe. A male mouse is called a buck. I know, it’s weird.