innocent_man: (mouseketeer)
[personal profile] innocent_man
An American Tail is a Don Bluth animated film from the mid-80s, featuring a little very early CGI, a few not especially catchy songs, and some voice work from Dom Deluise, Madeline Kahn and Christopher Plummer as a French pigeon.

This was in the days before animated movies tended to have all-stars casts, dontchaknow, so the headliner is a mouse named Fievel (Philip Glasser). Little Fievel and his family are Russian mice (Jewish Russian mice, in fact; they're celebrating Hanukkah as the movie opens) under constant attack by cats following the Cossacks. They undertake a long journey to America, and get pretty much the same treatment as the human immigrants doing the same thing; they have stars in their eyes about how it's all awesome, but getting there, they have to struggle to make a place for themselves.

Little Fievel, though, is separated from his family en route, and the movie is really the story of him meeting various folks and getting mixed up in the anti-cat struggle for freedom (the cats are led by Warren T. Rat, who is actually a cat in disguise, and voiced by John Finnegan). And then they build a giant, firework-breathing mouse to scare the cats away, and then the movie goes on for another 20 minutes for some reason.

It's cute, and it gave us the song "Somewhere Out There" (made famous by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram), but it's very much pre-Disney-Renaissance. The plot is thin and rambly, and though there are a couple of laughs, there's no real attempt at the more sophisticated humor we see in kids' movies now (though that said, the parallels between human and mouse culture are nice).

My grade: B-
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


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