Don Bluth Reviews with the Bald Mouse #503: An American Tail

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material.

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My my. Has it really only been ten years since I began my epic quest to review every movie ever made by the greatest, most influential figure in all of American cinema?

The Master.

The Master.

And what a decade it has been. When I started this blog in 2003 Al Gore had just begun the third year of a momentous first term, the euro  became officially adopted as the world’s only currency and Iraq was not invaded.

Yeah I...I don't know why I felt the need to remind your of that.

Yeah I…I don’t know why I felt the need to remind you of that.

Little did I know then that I was starting what would go on to become the most popular blog in history. And yet here I am a decade later, millions of fans, a vast personal fortune and a statue on the moon. We’ve had good times, haven’t we? Remember when I paid for every reader of this blog to go on an all-expenses paid trip to Bluthworld, Florida?

Man those were some creepy mascots.

Man those were some creepy mascots.

And I owe it all to one man. One legend. The one and only Don Bluth. Thanks Don.

Hey, don't mention it  Mouse.

Hey, don’t mention it Mouse. It was my pleasure.

Wow, what a nice guy. So I thought that for this special anniversary I’d review one of Don’s earlier, lesser known works: An American Tail. Why this one? Well, granted, it’s not as influential as his other movies. It didn’t reignite interest in Elvis Presley like Rock a Doodle, or restore the Russian monarchy like Anastasia or unite all of humanity under a single canine worshipping religion like All Dogs go to Heaven.

God, I hope the next Pope isn't a Rottweiler.

Sidenote: Isn’t the new pope just freakin’ adorable?

But An American Tail occupies an important part of  bluthistory because this was the first bluthimation to be a major financial success and so paved the way for all the world changing masterpieces that were to follow. It also represented a major personal victory for Don, as this is the movie that once and for all finished off the…let me see if I’m pronouncing this right…”Dies Nee” studio? Sorry, that’s Disney.  Who were Disney? Well, I’m not surprised you don’t know. You’d probably have to be a hardcore Bluthimation fan to have heard of them but back in the day they were actually considered a pretty big deal. And yeah, some of their earlier works were really quite impressive, some almost rising to the standard of modern Bluthimations. Nowadays however they’ve faded completely into obscurity and are only really known as the studio that gave Don Bluth his start. Bluth left the studio in 1979, utterly disheartened with how the Disney studio was being run and the decline in the quality of their Bluthimated films. He left and formed Don Bluth studios and in quick succession released two films, the sublime and critically acclaimed The Secret of NIMH, and the box-office smash that was An American Tail. Upon which, the Disney studio rolled over like a dead dog and was quietly consigned to history. Some Bluthimation historians have speculated that if Disney hadn’t simply folded at the first challenge to their monopoly, that they might actually have had the talent and resources to push back, up the quality of their movies and maybe even experience some kind of “renaissance” and really give Bluth a run for his money. But personally I think that’s horseshit. Pure horseshit!

Hey buddy, gotta quarter?

Hey buddy, gotta quarter?

Sure thing. Here. Get yourself something to eat and find someplace warm.

God bless your sir.

Bless you, sir.

So let’s take a look at An American Tail.

The movie begins with some very pretty opening credits where large, beautiful, computer generated snowflakes drift slowly across the screen. Snow doesn’t really figure into the movie that much or have any real significance to the plot, but it’s pretty. We meet our main characters, the Mousekewitz family, who are celebrating Hanukkah . Yeah, Fievel and his family are Jewish, I never really realised that as a child.

Nor, apparently, did the merchandising department.

Nor, apparently, did the merchandising department.

This movie makes use of a trope that’s common in both Bluth’s work and elsewhere, the idea that mice have an entire civilisation functioning beneath and unbeknownst to the human world that’s basically a mirror image of our society. Why mice? Well, they’re  easily anthropomorphized, and they’re easy to relate to. We all sometimes feel like we’re tiny creatures lost in a huge, confusing world that we scarcely understand. And plus, they’re just adorable.

Ain't we just?

Ain’t we just?

Here, Bluth uses mice as a means of exploring the hardships and challenges faced by European Jews wait just a damn minute here!

Oh my God! Art Spiegalman somehow traveled forward in time and stole Don's idea. That whore!

Oh my Dog! Art Spiegelman somehow traveled forward in time and stole Don’s idea. That whore!

Papa Mouskewitz (Nehemiah Persoff) is giving out presents to his children. To his daughter Tanya  he gives a scarf, and to his son Fievel he gives a blue hat and…

Okay, I realise this may be heresy but…I’m not loving this bluthimation. It’s kind of jerky and the lip synching is…well it’s not out of synch exactly but the lip  movements seem to be too large for the words. It’s kind of hard to describe but it’s almost like the characters are overacting.

Anyway, Papa tells the children the story of the Giant Mouse of Minsk, a legendary rodent so massive that even cats were terrified of him. Mama Mouskewitz sharply reminds Papa not to use the “C-word” so Papa changes the subject to America, telling the children that in the new world there are no cats. The old world, however, is crawling with them. Hell, even the Cossacks have cats, and bring them with them on their pogroms. Oh, they even gave them little furry hats and mustaches!

Most. Adorable. Genocide. Ever.

Most. Adorable. Pogrom. Ever.

So while the Cossacks attack the Jews, the Catsacks (sigh) attack the mice. Fievel runs outside and tries to scare the cats away by banging a frying pan. Oh yeah, that’s another thing I forgot about this movie. Fievel is dumb. Fievel is really, really, really dumb. Fievel is “actively wishing he would die so that I may be spared his idiocy” dumb. He narrowly escapes being eaten and the Cossacks ride off with the cats following after them. The family decide to emigrate to America and we cut to them boarding the SS Austria in Hamburg with émigré mice from other European nations like Italy and…Ireland?

Because if you’re travelling from Ireland to America, you head to Germany. Makes sense.

Anyway, they’re boarding the boat, and I’m sorry…I can’t put this off any more. Regular readers of my blog will know I have absolutely no problem with ripping on child actors.

What are you looking at, you little shit?

You little shit.

…and Philip Glasser who voices Fievel is just terrible. Granted he’s not given much to work with. They were clearly going for wide-eyed wonder and curiosity, but the slack jawed amazement he puts into every damn line gets real old, real fast. And the questions, my Dog in heaven! “Gee Papa, are those birds?” “Gee Papa, is that the ocean?”

No. It's a fucking zebra.

No. It’s a fucking zebra.

He’s really starting to grind my gears, is what I’m saying.

Well hello there, Mouse.

Well hello there, Mouse.

Oh. Hi Don.

Y'know, I can't help but notice that you're review has been a little on the negative side so far.

Y’know, I can’t help but notice that your review has been a little on the negative side so far.

What? Oh no, no. I’m just poking a little fun. You know that.

Oh fun! I love fun! That's great. As long as it's just fun. That's no problem.

Oh fun! I love fun! That’s great. As long as it’s just fun. That’s no problem. I’m a fun guy. You have fun Mouse.

Thanks. Okay, so where were we…

You do know I can legally order you killed. You know that right? That they passed that law and my cousin President Romney signed it?

You do know I can legally order you killed. You know that, right? That they passed that law and my cousin President Romney signed it?

Of course. I was one of the ones who campaigned for you to be given the power of life and death over every human being.

Good. Just checking. You have fun.

Good. Just checking. You have “fun”.

Okay, I think I need to find something good to say about this film pretty quickly. Um..oh There are no Cats in America! Everyone loves that song, right? It’s a classic! The emigrant mice all get together on the ship and sing about the great, feline-free life that awaits them on the other side of the Atlantic. But looking at the song again… Okay, the chorus is great. No doubt. But it’s very short. It’s four lines. And then the chorus stops for the main verses where the various mice describe the hardships the face in their home countries. And to say the shift in tone is jarring would be an understatement. It’s not that the song slows down for the verses. It stops. Then it starts up again for a four line chorus. Stops. Oh the old country, misery, death, cats, socialized medicine etc. Stops. But there are no cats in America… So I guess what I’m saying is… I

It’s perfect. Totally perfect.

Moving on. Ahem.

Okay a storm breaks out and soon the ship is awash in bilge water. For the humans, this is unpleasant. For the mice, it’s a whole lot worse than that. Fievel gets washed around on a bar of soap and sees an open door leading up to the deck. Now, because Fievel is dumber than…um…oh jeez…

Internet! Find me something dumber than Fievel Mousekwitz for this analogy! Chop chop!

Starfish

Nope

Bacteria

Nope.

Uh uh.

Uh uh.

That;s our boy!

That’s our boy!

Yeah, so anyway Fievel hears his terrified father calling for him and decides that instead he wants to go up on deck in the middle of Poseidon’s psychotic breakdown. So that’s pretty stupid. But then, he calls out to his father that he’s just going to get his hat. Also stupid. But then he actually throws his hat out on deck so he can go get it. Why? Why Fievel? Just because you’re lying about going to get your hat doesn’t mean you actually have to fuck it, don’t care. Go and drown.

Credit where credit’s due, the storm scene is very dramatic and actually quite terrifying, as Fievel’s imagination basically transforms the ocean into an apparition I can best describe as “Ocean Satan”.

Ah. There's that old timey Bluth terror.

Ah. There’s that good old timey Bluth terror.

Papa risks his life to try and rescue Fievel but he’s swept overboard.

Damn. That is wack, yo.

Damn. That shit is wack, yo.

You said it, Gangsta Asia.

Anyway the ship finally arrives at Ellis Island, Bluthopolis (as it’s set in the nineteenth century it’s still referred to as “New York”.) and we get a quite heartbreaking scene where the customs officer asks Papa how many are in the family and he absently answers “five” before correcting himself.

What? No, I'm not making a joke here what's wrong with you?!

“Five. That’s how high Fievel could count.”

But Fievel isn’t dead (oh, joy untrammeled) and he washes up on Ellis Island where he meets Henri the pigeon voiced by…holy shit, Christopher Plummer?!

Have we not heard the chimes at midnight?

Have we not heard the chimes at midnight?

He takes Fievel in, gives him a bath and tells him to buck up by singing “Never say Never” which is…fine. He sends Fievel off on his way, saying he’d go with him because he has to stay and finish the statue  (I don’t blame him, if I was saddled with that kid I’d be pulling crazy lies out of my tail feathers too). We then meet our villain, Warren T. Rat, voiced by John P Finnegan. Warren’s a great bad guy, and Finnegan gives my favorite performance of the whole movie. Within minutes of meeting Fievel he’s lied to him about knowing where his family is, led him away from the the emigration centre and sold him to a sweatshop. You know what? I like a villain who doesn’t fuck around. He also gets one of my favorite lines in the movie. When Fievel asks about his family for the \inftyth time Warren says “You don’t need a family kid, you gotta job here!”

Well said, that Rat! And now at least he won't be living on the streets and mooching off hardworking taxpayers.

Well said, that Rat! And now at least he won’t be living on the streets and mooching off hardworking taxpayers.

Oh Capitalist Crow, you are a card.

In the sweatshop Fievel meets Tony, who’s basically a young John Travolta in mouse form.

Eh! Yo! Jeez! I'm Walkin' here! Canoli! etc...

Eh! Yo! Jeez! I’m Walkin’ here! Canoli! etc…

Tony and Fievel escape by tying some bedsheets together to make a rope and shimmy down right past the Mouskewitz’s tailor shop. Oh yeah, this happens a lot in this movie. Fievel will come within, like, three feet of finding his family but then something will happen and he has to keep searching. This movie is a massive tease.

Oh for the love of...LOOK UP!

Oh for the love of…LOOK UP!

Tony offers to help Fievel find his family but gets distracted by Bridget, an Oirish red headed mouse who’s trying to rally the other mice to do something about the cat problem.

With slogans that powerful, how can she fail?

With slogans that incendiary, how can she fail?

I don’t much care for Bridget, but not for the reasons you might think. I mean sure, the accent is terrible, but I’m Irish. We’ve survived terrible accents before.

Stop talking Tom.Stop talking Tom. Stop talking Tom. SHUT UP. SHUT UP. SHUT UP

Stop talking Tom. Stop talking Tom. Stop talking Tom.
SHUT UP. SHUT UP. SHUT UP.

It’s not even that they gave her such a ridiculously stereotypical Irish name as Bridget, fair is fair. I recently did my family tree and once I got to the 1850s I had to spend half an hour figuring out if this was the Bridget who married a James or the Bridget who her brother James married or the mother of Bridget and James named Bridget. What bugs me is that they tack on this love story between Bridget and Tony and it’s not really a story. They just see each, fall instantly in love, mumble some nonsense at each other and stay together for the rest of the movie. That’s it. Nothing comes between them, it adds nothing to the plot, it’s just there. Anyway, Fievel doesn’t believe that there are cats in America but he soon changes his tune when the cats attack and tear up the market place where Bridget is holding her rally. I have to say, the cat attacks in this movie are genuinely terrifying, and I remember now why this movie scared me so much as a kid.

HELLO!

HELLO!

Anyway, once the cats leave Tony tells Bridget Fievel’s story and she suggests they take him to Tammany Hall to speak with Honest John…

Excuse me sir?

Excuse me sir?

Yes Chulmley, is it time for my daily bottle of ketchup?

No sir, it is still aerating. There is a continent to see you sir. I told him you were reviewing but he was most insistent. And sarcastic sir, if I may say so.

No sir, it is still aerating. There is a continent to see you sir. I told him you were reviewing but he was most insistent. And sarcastic sir, if I may say so.

Hmph. Very well, send him in.

“Mouse? Thank God I found you, are you alright?”

“Mouse? Thank God I found you, are you alright?”

I’m sorry, do I know you?

“Alright Mouse, snap out of it! You've got to remember how you really are! You review Disney movies! You make stupid Batman jokes! You're poor and largely anonymous! You're not famous! Hell, you're not even internet famous!”

“Alright Mouse, snap out of it! You’ve got to remember how you really are! You review Disney movies! You make stupid Batman jokes! You’re poor and largely anonymous! You’re not famous! Hell, you’re not even internet famous!”

What? What are you talking about? How dare you! Chulmley, get this impertinent landmass out of my reviewing mansion!

“No wait! Damn it...I didn't want to have to do this. Mouse, tell me one thing. What happens in the next scene of this movie?”

“No wait! Damn it…I didn’t want to have to do this. Mouse, tell me one thing. What happens in the next scene of this movie?”

The next scene? Well, Bridget and Tony take Fievel to meet Honest John.

“Okay. Now describe Honest John.”

“Okay. Now describe Honest John.”

Well he’s a large, fat Irish mouse…

“With what?”

“With what?”

With a moustache…

An...unshaved...mouse...

An…unshaved…mouse…

Oh no…

OH NO!

I REMEMBER &&*(^^*(*&(*&(*&&&*&*&*&&&^!!!!$^%^%&^%&^%&^%&&

I remember

I…

I…

Oh my God.

Mouse? Mouse can you hear me? How do you feel?

Mouse? Mouse can you hear me? How do you feel?

Pissed off. The Horned King. He did this to me, didn't he?

Pissed off. The Horned King. He did this to me, didn’t he?

“Yeah. It's his ultimate revenge. He sent you to a universe where you could never fulfil your one true destiny, reviewing all the Disney movies.”

“Yeah. It’s his ultimate revenge. He sent you to a universe where you could never fulfil your one true destiny, reviewing all the Disney movies.”

Jesus, look at me. I look like a scheming penis. Pass me that bottle of Regaine.

Jesus, look at me. I look like a scheming penis. Pass me that bottle of Regaine.

Walt's here somewhere too. Here;s the plan. You stay here and finish the review so we don't draw attention. I'll find Walt and hopefully he'll be able to get us home. Then we go and kick Skeletor's ass. What do you think?

Walt’s here somewhere too. Here’s the plan: You stay here and finish the review so we don’t draw attention. I’ll find Walt and hopefully he’ll be able to get us home. Then we go and kick Skeletor’s ass. What do you think?

What do I think?

I think that sounds like a fucking plan.

I think that sounds like a fucking plan.

Okay. Okay.

I can do this. Reviewing a Don Bluth movie, what could be so hard about that? They go and visit Honest John who’s depicted as a drunk, corrupt Irish politician. I should be offended by that, but this is Tammany Hall we’re talking about. This was one of the most openly corrupt political institutions in American history, as any political cartoon from the period will show.

Ha ha! So true! (???)

Ha ha! So true!
(???)

Honest John’s portrayal here practically counts as sugar coating. They’re interrupted by the arrival of Gussie Mouseheimer voiced by none other than  Madeline Freakin’ Khan!

I need a reason?

Here’s a picture.
I need a reason?

Is she awesome? It’s Madeline Freakin’ Kahn, of course she’s awesome! Gussie is the richest mouse in New York and she wants to join forces with Honest John’s riffraff against the cats. She declares that there’s going to be a wawwy in the park (all that money, she still can’t afford an “r”. Seriously, she has a bad case of Elmer Fudd syndwome.) to decide what to do about the cats. Bridget’s delighted at this and it seems like things might finally be turning around for New York’s mice.

Later that night, Fievel looks out over New York city sings a duet with his sister Tanya on the other side of the city and we get the most famous song in the movie Somewhere Out There. 

And yeah. This is a stone cold classic. No question. Oh sure, it’s waaay out of Glasser’s range and he audibly strains to hit a lot of the notes and Betsy Cathcart who voices Tanya doesn’t do much better, but that kind of adds to the charm of it. Some songs don’t need a polished performance and great vocals to make them work. They fact that they’re clearly two little kids trying their best actually works to the song’s advantage. They’re desperately reaching out to each other, just as they’re reaching for those notes. The excellent score by James Horner and Barry Mann do the heavy lifting, along with some surprisingly deep lyrics by Cynthia Weil. This is a song about connectedness, about how even when we’re apart from the ones we love, there are always ties that bind us to them, and help to ease our loneliness. I’ll be honest, I think Don Bluth movies as a whole tend to be very weak when it comes to their songs…

I

Jesus that guy is starting to creep me out. But this is a fantastic song. No question.

The mice have a big rally on the stop of a bandstand and Gussie tells the crowd that they want “Fweedom! Fweedom from the cats! And because this is America, we can do something about it!”

Okay, this is something that I think actually really works about the movie, the use of the mice and cats as allegories for the American immigrant experience of the mid-nineteenth century. The cats represent the dangers of the Old World, tyranny, persecution, autocracy, corruption, violence, the stifling of free expression and the various manifestation of The Man, man.  Many European immigrants traveled to America naively believing that it was free of these problems, just as the mice in American Tail travel to the New World thinking there are no cats. Both are wrong, but the difference is that in America the cats can be overcome. Just as in real life, where an immigrant Jewish family might face poverty and prejudice but at least had a chance to work their way to relative prosperity. The American Dream is not a promise, but it is a chance. The analogy works on several levels. When Gussie mentions the word “cats”, the crowd tells her to be quiet or they’ll hear her. “So?” Gussie responds “Let them hear me!”

In America, the mice have fweedom of speech, which means they can discuss their problems and work together to overcome them. That’s why fweedom of speech is the most important fweedom.

Pictured: Fweedom.

Pictured: Fweedom.

Anyway, Gussie asks if anyone can think of a way to get rid of the cats and Fievel pipes up that he’s got a plan.

Really?

Nobody else has a plan? Anybody? Please?

Baldrick?

Mr Mouse? I have a cunning plan...

Mr Mouse? I have a cunning plan…

Yes? Go on.

Well, the cats chase the mice because they're bigger than them, right?

Well, the cats chase the mice because they’re bigger than them, right?

Yes.

So, you find a mouse that's bigger than the cats, and then he chases them!

So, you find a mouse that’s bigger than the cats, and then he chases them!

I see. And where, pray tell, do we find this colossal rodent?

Well, this is the really, really cunning part. We build our own one.

Well, this is the really, really cunning part. We build our own one.

I see.

Well, whatever Fievel’s idea is, I’m sure it’s better than that. The mice set up base and get to work on the…whatever it is…in an abandoned museum down at the docks. Tony and Fievel head down there but Fievel hears violin music coming from the sewers and heads down there because obviously Papa Mousekevitz is the only one in the world who plays violin.

But the violin is in fact being played by Warren T. Rat, who is being played by John Finnegan, who is being played by a violin (wait, not that last one). And it turns out that Warren T. Rat is actually Warren T. Cat, the leader of the Cats. That’s right, the rat who’s been interacting with all these mice is actually a cat in disguise. That is one tiny cat.

You gotta watch the cute one.

You gotta watch the cute ones.

We also see his gang, including one massive yellow cat who keeps spitting out his own loose teeth (I think that’s what he’s doing, do cats get scurvy?). This is Tiger, voiced by Dom deLuise.

Take a shot.

Take a shot.

 …

That’s my “Take a shot” guy?!

I think I’m having second thoughts about leaving this universe.

Fievel sees that Warren’s actually a cat, Warren sees Fievel, the cat’s chase Fievel out of the sewer, Fievel escapes, but then wastes time going back for his hat and very slowly walking away and gets captured anyway.

Marie Anne Facepalm

I also gotta say this sequence has some of the worst blu…animation in the whole movie, with characters drifting off model, bad sound synching and truly terrible continuity. You’re never sure exactly how many cats are supposed to be in this gang, and there’s one moment where one of the cats is chasing Fievel towards another group of cats that he is also in.

Anyway, so Fievel’s locked in a bird cage and is being guarded by Tiger who it turns out is actually a pretty nice guy. He tells Fievel that he’s a vegetarian and they realise that they have a lot in common. They sing “We’re a Duo” which is a pretty decent song and Tiger decides to let Fievel go. This sets off the alarm and Fievel races down to the docks with all five seven four of the Mott Street Maulers in hot pursuit. I don’t know how many there are and Lord knows the movie doesn’t either. This movie even recycles the same damn animation from his previous escape attempt.

Recycling is for lazy assholes! The power is yours!

Recycling is for lazy assholes! The power is yours!

Dammit movie! Don’t make me agree with the Pollutioneers!

Gussie wakes up to the sound of Fievel fucking everything up. The cats have arrived and they’re too early. One of the mice panics and gives the order to release the “secret weapon” and Honest John has to prevent it from launching. Meanwhile, Warren has appeared outside the museum in his rat disguise and tells the mice that if they throw Fievel out he’ll convince the cats to leave him alone. They throw him out, and henceforth the museum is known as “Fort Sensible”…no of course they don’t. Fievel says “He’s not a RAT! He’s a CAT!”

"He's also FAT!""And I saw him sit on a MAT!"

“He’s also FAT!
And I saw him sit on a MAT!
Next to a guy called PAT!”

Tony knocks off Warren’s fake nose with his catapult and reveals that Warren really is a cat. Warren tries to weasel his way out of it “C’mon, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” but when that doesn’t work he sets the museum on fire.

…the fuck?

This place is really starting to creep me out.

Suddenly the mice hear the signal to release the weapon, the boat whistle of a steam ship departing for Hong Kong. But they can’t release it because Honest John had to tied it in place to stop it being released early. Fievel finally does something useful and using the fire to burn through the ropes before reverting to type and getting knocked unconscious. Well anyway,  we finally get to see what the secret weapon actually is and JESUS!

Ah, there's that good old-timey Bluth terror.

Ah, there’s that good old-timey Bluth terror.

The mice have actually managed to build a massive, robot version of the Giant Mouse of Minsk.

You'll be hearing from my lawyers.

Oh you thieving bastards!

And it is freakin’ terrifying.

As a kid I think this scared more than any other movie with the exception of OH GOD NO!

Nothing?

Phew!

Okay, so the Mouse…

HELLO!

HELLO!

GAAAAH!

Sorry I'm late. I had to race across the entire multiverse to feed on your terror.

Sorry I’m late. I had to race across the entire multiverse to feed upon your terror.

The animation in this sequence is pretty spectacular and the terrified cats are driven into the sea. They cling on to to the anchor of the passing steamship and Warren tells them not to worry, because there are “plenty of mice in Hong Kong.”

Not that many cats, oddly enough.

But not that many cats, oddly enough.

The museum burns down with Fievel still inside it. Some firefighters arrive and turn on the hoses, washing Fievel into the sewer. Meanwhile, the Mousekewitzs overhear Tony and Bridget calling for Fievel and Papa finally realises that his son is still alive.

Fievel ends up in Orphan Alley, cold, wet and utterly dejected and he finally gives up all hope of ever being reunited with his family. The scene that follows is absolutely gorgeous, mostly because of James Horner’s beautiful score (listen carefully and you can hear a few strains of Dreams to Dream, a song that would be used in the sequel Fievel Goes West). The animation has also settled down and become a lot more restrained and effective. Night gives way to morning and Fievel wakes up to hear his sister calling his name in the distance, and the sound of his father’s violin.

I know I ripped a lot on Glasser before but the moment where realisation dawns on him and he silently mouths the word “Papa?” is just beautiful.

Fievel is finally reunited with his family in a scene that just goes all out for every ounce of emotion it can wring from it and it just works, it really does. There is such a sense of emotional catharsis that despite all the movie’s flaws it really does leave you with a sense of satisfying…okay, yes I cried. Happy?

Just give me a minute.

Just give me a minute.

The movie ends with Henri flying the Mousewitz’s around the newly completed Statue of Liberty, a perfect ending to an imperfect but ultimately worthwhile film.

Mouse! I found Walt! Now let's get out of here!

Mouse! I found Walt! Now let’s get out of here!

Really? Where was he? Wait a minute, I remember you!

Really? I don't remember you. But then I don't remember much.

Really? I don’t remember you. But then I don’t remember much.

Wait, so you mean that all this time this hobo was actually…

That's right! He was keeping me prisoner in his filthy hobo shack! You'll pay for that, you filthy bum!

That’s right! He was keeping me prisoner in his filthy hobo shack! You’ll pay for that, you bum!

Who are you?

Do I know you?

Alright Walt, we need to get home. Make with the magic.

Can do. Europe, wish upon that star while I draw a pentagram and sacrifice this hobo.

Can do. Europe, wish upon that star while I draw a pentagram and sacrifice this hobo.

“You got it, Chief.”

“You got it, Chief.”

Mouse, you're not leaving us are you?

Mouse, you’re not leaving us are you?

Sorry Don. This universe is nice and all with its massive mansions, its millions of fans, its fame and fortune, its prestige and wealth and respect and and and and and I was going somewhere with this…

Well, I'm sure you have all that back in your home universe.

Well, I’m sure you have all that back in your home universe.

No actually. No I don’t. I don’t have a reviewing mansion. Or a butler. Or indeed any kind of mansion. On my last birthday dinner I ate cold beans from a can. It wasn’t even a can for beans! It was just an old can I had to use to put some spilled beans in!

Stay here Mouse! Stay here and review my movies! THIS is your true destiny!

Stay here Mouse! Stay here and review my movies! THIS is your true destiny!

Don't listen to him Mouse! You have to come back with us and face the Horned King!

Don’t listen to him Mouse! You have to come back with us and face the Horned King!

So my arch-enemy. We meet again!

So my arch-enemy. We meet again!

Do I know you?

Do I know you?

Sorry Walt. My mind’s made up. I’m staying right here.

Well...If that's how you feel.I guess there's nothing left to say but FUCK YOU!

Well…If that’s how you feel.
I guess there’s nothing left to say but FUCK YOU! Let’s go Europe.

Let him go Mouse. You were too good for him anyway. Now, it's time to start planning your next review.

Let him go Mouse. You were too good for him anyway. You’ll stay here with me, and review my movies until the end of time.

Sure thing Don. So what’s next? All Dogs go to Heaven? Land Before Time? Oh, Secret of Nimh maybe?

WTCUMFW!?!

WTCUMWF!?!

WALT! WAAAALT! WAIT FOR ME! I’M COMING HOME!

TO BE CONTINUED

Scoring

Bluthimation: 14/20

This is a tricky one to score. Firstly you got to consider that this is a new animation studio without the experience or resources of Disney. Also, the animation quality varies HUGELY from scene to scene.

The Lead Bluth: 04/20

Sorry, Fievel is a total pain in the ass.

The Anti-Bluth: 15/20

Warren T. Rat is funny, sinister and gets the best lines.

Supporting Bluths: 10/20

They run the gamut from good (Gussie Mouseheimer, Papa Mouskewitz, Tiger) to dull (Tony and Bridget).

The Bluth…music, I dunno: 16/20

The songs are hit and miss but by Dog the James Horner score is fantastic.

FINAL SCORE: 59%

NEXT TIME: “Wow, that was kinda cool that we got a surprise review on April Fool’s day, but now we gotta wait another two weeks for the Basil The Great Mouse Detective Review” you say. Wrong! You will get your review of Basil the Great Mouse Detective on Thursday because you are all awesome and you deserve it! So there!

NEXT UPDATE: 04 April 2013

Neil Sharpson AKA The Bald Mouse, is the world’s most successful blogger and third richest man in the world. His reviews of Don Bluth’s movies remain a major turning point in human history. The blog updates every second Thursday. Thanks for reading. All hail Bluth!

37 comments

  1. Probably my favorite review to date, lol! Excellent work, unshavedmouse! And a Happy April Fool’s to you as well!

    It’d be fun to see you try to survive a “A Troll in Central Park” review, lol! Looking forward to your “The Great Mouse Detective” review!

    1. Thanks. But I will never, EVER sit through “Troll in central Park Again”. My dad rented it for me and my brothers years ago and we STILL haven’t let him forget it.

      1. I haven’t even heard of it, so I guess I’ve been spared. In fact, I didn’t grow up with ANY Bluth films. We had almost all the Disney movies and lots of Pixar and Dreamworks. But no Bluth for some weird reason.

  2. Hang on a minute. If this is another universe, shouldn’t there be another Mouse floating around somewhere?
    By the way, I know it’s a while off yet, but before you do your Aladdin review, you should check out an unfinished independent movie called ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’. (Watch the ‘Recobbled Cut’ on Youtube.) It is an artistic triumph, and the story of its production is kind of tragic: it took decades to make, inspired Aladdin, then was seized by Miramax and butchered to the point that the released version was sold as a ripoff of Aladdin in some countries.

    1. Actually no. This was an artificial alternative universe created by the Horned King solely to imprison me. I actually have it on DVD and I will definitely watch it before I do the Aladdin review.

      1. That diabolical bastard!
        Beware of the DVD: if it’s the one where Tack the cobbler speaks, and everyone sings, it’s the tampered one. The Recobbled Cut is a restoration of the creator’s original vision. Both the Thief and Tack are silent, which allows the animation itself to do the talking. Because it was never finished as intended, occasionally storyboards and unfinished animation are used to fill in the gaps. But the finished parts are gorgeous: every frame is like an illustration from some bizarre picture book.

  3. (You know, I’ve been waiting for you to get to “Basil The Great Mouse Detective” for the longest time…and not just because i’m actually her demonic inner-fangirl preparing to possess the human known as LadyPlague and to feast on her obsession with one particular character)

    …what just happened?

  4. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing
    all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  5. Totally agree with your assessment of the weird over-mouthing thing. There is always at least one, and usually multiple, characters in Bluth films that look like their mouths are made of goo-inflated latex with no underlying jaw structure. It has creeped me out since childhood and I always wondered if it was just me.

    The mouse of Minx was indeed terrifying but Bluth’s most gut-disturbing film was ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven’. I still have nightmares that involve that demon-thing rising from hell and the angel-dog’s voice intoning hauntingly: “You can never come back…you can never come back.”

  6. Love your blog, it is a new-discovery & is very well thought out. This is the only Bluth review so far, but we really need one for NIMH when you can work it up. No horry.

  7. I love An American Tail. I enjoy Bluth’s story style more than Disney. Bluth is darker, puts more emphasis on the main characters and have more symbolism. I hope you eventually return to this universe

  8. In the process of re-reading your blog (yes), I just stumbled upon this one that I didn’t read before for some reason. Just wanted to say it’s freaking hilarious, probably among your best ones. You, sir, are tremendously funny.

  9. Liking your weird semi-utopian parallel universe. Especially Gangsta Asia and Facepalming Marianne. And the fact that the Bald Mouse loves Bluth too much to call him a whore.

    “Don’t use the C-word”, eh? Is that the C-word that’s synonymous with the word, “pussy”? Heh heh heh. And Fievel… That name’s familiar. Isn’t that the same name of that guy from Chelm also known as “Mr. Thickwit”? Stands to reason. Also, Henri… I’m getting deja vu. I have a feeling someone is a wh…

    …Oh, Bluth made that one too. I’m so confused now.

    But in any case, I love Europe’s dissing the Horned King by calling him Skeletor. Classic. Real adorable conniving kitten as well. I actually want to see Speedy Gonzales match wits with Pussyfoot now, that sounds hilarious.

    And of course the Coachman doesn’t even care about little things like universe barriers. I wonder what it is about your terror that he likes so especially much. It’s like dementors to Harry. Also, too bad you couldn’t bring the Giant Mouse of Minsk to this universe to give it to Africa Delegate mouse to ride around and kick all the ass. That’d be so wicked.

    And I’ll also say, that subversion with Walt showing up was good. All those MS paint edits really are hilariously hoky. Fun topsy-turvy episode, lots of laughs.

      1. But of course! I trust you to have the class to grasp and utilize the concept of Stylistic Suck to humorous effect.

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