an american tail

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

Hey everybody. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and for all you other religions…um…good luck with whatever you got goin’ on right now. Keep on truckin’. Yes it’s the night before Christmas, and despite belonging to a species that traditionally is known for not stirring at this time of year,  I’ve decided to review…
"Mouse...Moooooouuuuuse..."

“Mouse…Moooooouuuuuse…”

“Jacob Marley?”

“Jacob Marley?”

“I wear the chain I forged in life! Link by link! Yard by yard…”

“I wear the chain I forged in life! Link by link! Yard by yard…”

“Stop. Stop. No. Look, this is not going to be a Christmas themed review. We’re not doing the Christmas carol thing. Sorry.”

“Stop. Stop. No. Look, this is not going to be a Christmas themed review. We’re not doing the Christmas Carol thing. Sorry.”

“But it’s a tradition…”

“But it’s a tradition…”

“Yes. One that’s been done to death. Sorry, not happening. Get lost.”

“Yes. One that’s been done to death. Sorry, not happening. Get lost.”

“Dude, I’m a ghost, you’re going to have to do better than “Get lost!”

“Dude, I’m a ghost, you’re going to have to do better than “Get lost!”

“Sigh. AVAUNT THEE FOUL SPIRIT! RETURN TO THE NETHERWORLD FROM WHENCE THOU CAME!”

“Sigh. AVAUNT THEE FOUL SPIRIT! RETURN TO THE NETHERWORLD FROM WHENCE THOU CAME!”

“Oooh, nice. “Avaunt”. That takes me back.”

“Oooh, nice. “Avaunt”. That takes me back.”

Right. So. Today’s movie is An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, a sequel to a Don Bluth movie made without the imput of Don Bluth. Now, “Sequel to a Don Bluth movie made without the imput of Don Bluth” is a sub-category of film with a slightly lower degree of prestige and respect than “Uwe Boll video game adaptation” or “hobo snuff film” and this film’s reputation is not exactly sterling.
40! There are Police Academy movies with higher scores than that!

40%?! There are Police Academy movies with higher scores than that!

So, following the stunning success of An American Tail (which, I remind you, was a big freaking deal) Stephen Spielberg wanted a sequel to be the first production of his new animation studio, Amblimation. Bluth by this time was based in Ireland and was working on The Land Before Time with Sullivan Bluth so Spielberg had to bring in a new team of animators under the direction of Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells. Amblimation is a weird little footnote in the annals of American animation history, tapping out after only three films (this one, We’re Back and Balto). I haven’t seen Balto and I do NOT care for We’re Back...
IT DID.

IT DID.

…but I think Amblimation could have been a real contender under different circumstances. Why? Because, if nothing else, the animation in these movies was SMURGES. Let’s take a look.

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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.

***

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.

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