22 May 2007

Ink Blots LXV - An American Tail

Don Bluth followed up his masterpiece The Secret of NIMH with another mouse movie. This time, the story focused on the immigrant Mousekewitz family who fled mother Russia for New York because "There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese." Along the way, little Fievel aka Filly was washed overboard and separated from his family leading to the Grammy winning classic song Somewhere Out There. Aside from the quest to reunite Fievel and family, the story involves the American mice's plan to send all the cats to Hong Kong, as it turns out there are cats in America and the streets actually aren't paved with cheese.

The film is all right, but it isn't really that exciting. The songs are one of the main highlights. One thing that really annoyed me was that Fievel's sister was the only one that was even looking for him. Daddy mouse kept explaining away any hints that his little mousling was still alive.

In 1986, An American Tail's $47 million earnings were considered a pretty decent success - significantly larger than Disney's Great Mouse Detective's $38 million earlier that year. Like other Bluth projects with moderate success, this film spawned a ton of follow-ups. There was Fievel Goes West, the theatrical sequel, then the TV series Fievel's American Tails. Also there were two more direct to video sequels, The Treasure of Manhattan Island, and The Mystery of the Night Monster.

In all, this is a nice "tail" of the immigrant struggle relatable to kids, but not really a movie I want to watch over and over again. Sorry Feivel. You get a B-.


n0s0ap said...

Oh man, this is one of those movies that I watched as a wee one and therefore have a warm fondness in my heart for it. I haven't seen it in forever so I'm sure I wouldn't think it was as good as I think it is. I'm a sucker for Bluth in general anyway though. Anyway, I loved this movie. And I still want my own Fievel hat

j said...

I really like this movie as a kid myself. I remember seeing it in the theatre with my family, and then getting the soundtrack on tape for Christmas that year. I liked it enough that it was the movie we watched at my birthday party one time as well (probably the year immediately following). Thankfully I never saw any of the follow-ups, so Fievel and friends have remained untarnished in my memories.