razielwraith's An American Tail review

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Somewhere Out There

Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Judy Freudberg, Tony Geiss, James Horner and Steven Spielberg show Disney how it's done. From the animation, the music, the story, the setting, themes, the characters and so on, this film has stayed with me for all these years (I was 4 years old in 1986), far more than any other animated film ever did, including Disney, since the late 90s, their films are just terrible and I never cared for Pixar or DreamWorks films either.

Dark Animated Film For Kids

The film has some dark and adult themes, but this is because Don Bluth didn't believe in dumbing things down for kids, that they can handle pretty much anything so long as there's a happy ending. The film, like The Land Before Time, has some sad and depressing moments, but it's all building up to the big happy ending, it's not mediocre, the whole scene has a gold color all around them with water running down and the main theme is playing.

People criticizing the film for being too sad and depressing for children either don't have kids or just want them to have sheltered lives... and we can pretty much see what happens when you shelter your children from real life or even from such things like an animated film. To quote user HeavenzBreaker when talking about The Brave Little Toaster

Everyone who is shocked that this is for kids, shame on you.

"ya cause let's all think it's appropriate to dumb-down kids from the start instead of allow the option to stimulate thought about real-world truths and situations"

It's actually a fact that children ADAPT to the world around them. for they know not what boundaries are. why not equipped them with MORE while they are too young to be able to assume things are impossible yet? hello?

train them young to be blind and blissful, and they will mature to a world in horror and disappointment. but show them how the world is, and you're raising them as accepting, ready and robust to take the world head-on and actually be able to explore the positive side of things.

Other users make similar arguments

Music and Songs

The music is beautiful, the songs are memorably, they have meaning to the story, to the characters and they have a real heart to them.

Voice actor Phillip Glasser was a very talented voice actor at a young age, but he of course was not a professional singer. But to be honest, I don't mind, he's a child and he should sound like one, because it's annoying when it comes to these types of films where there's singing and in order to for it to sound good, they switch to another voice and it's always obvious (Quest for Camelot), or they get a singer just to sing a song or two, but for the rest of the film they can't voice act... like Tiffany in the Jetsons The Movie... she can sing but she doesn't know how to act.

Unlike so many Disney and Pixar films, Don Bluth films didn't rely on famous A-list celebrities to draw people to see any of his films, that's pretty much the only reason people watch anything from Disney and Pixar. From Phillip Glasser (An American Tail, Land Before Time), Elizabeth Hartman (The Secret of NIMH), Burt Reynolds (All Dogs Go to Heaven), just because they were not A-list or the flavor of the month or year, they were all still very talented actors.

American Spirit

The film has a good level of American spirit, a few lines on how great America is, freedom and the actions the mice take to make sure that's true.

  • "America."
  • "What a place."
  • "What a place."
  • --Papa, Fievel, and Tanya Mousekewitz
  • "In America, there are mouse holes in every wall."
  • "In America, there are bread crumbs on every floor!"
  • "In America, you can say anything you want."
  • --Papa Mousekewitz
  • "This is America! We have free speech! We can say "cat" here! Cat, cat, cat, and double-cat!"
  • --Bridget
  • "Why did we come here to America? For freedom! Why are they building that statue? What does it stand for? Freedom! So, what do we want?"
  • --Gussie Mausheimer
  • "Oh, my little boy back from the dead, American, what a place."
  • --Mama Mousekewitz

The climactic battle with the cats when the mice release the secret weapon, The Great Mouse of Minsk, it pretty much represents the fury of the mice from every corner of the world, denied their American dream, embodied in a terrifying monster with one message; "We crossed the globe to get away from you!"

I really don't care for the Cracked Youtube channel, this is just one of very few videos that I agree with.

Immigration

I have to bring this up since some people on Youtube in the comment section of American Tail videos or The Godfather Part II comment section, who seem have no knowledge or understanding of actual history and current events. Fevel's family is leaving Russia because of anti-semitic violence by the Cossacks, there home is burned down and they of course board a tramp steamer headed for America. It's also because they've heard of so many good things about America like "There Are Not Cats In America". Leftish liberals and PCs try to compare that to what's going on now and bash Trump... well, I'm sorry but you can't compare the immigrates from the turn of the century (late 1880s and early 1900s) who mostly came from Europe, the civilized world, to the illegal economic migrants of the 2010s who come from the uncivilized world, the 3rd world.

Those who came from Europe did so legally, they spoke the language, they were not only looking for a better life, but wanted to work, did so immediately, and became Americans. Now not everyone who came here during that time was allowed in, some were sent back. But to say that times are different now would be an understatement, those coming from North Africa, the Middle East and Mexico come in illegally, lying about their age, many are criminals, or those looking for handouts (welfare states), and those who have no interest on integrating into western society at all and want to turn western countries into their backwards way of life. Now of course not every single one of them are like that, there are those looking for a better life, they want to work and live by western values... but a lot don't.

Fievel Goes West and the other Sequels... meh...

I watched the sequel a few times, but I never had the same connection as I did with the first film and that was mainly because Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Judy Freudberg, and Tony Geiss had nothing to do with it. It lacked a lot of what made the first film work so well, the new writers make sure how much they hated the first film, Tanya getting tomatoes thrown at her for singing "Somewhere Out There", it's commitment to being lighter and softer than the first movie by making it go out of its way to avoid ever being sad or dark, to the point where the Mousekewitz family isn't even worried when they lose Fievel this time. Fievel being able to turn his hat inside out into a cowboy hat... what???? So much for a Hanukkah gift that's been pasted down since his great grandfather.

The sequel is rushed and short, even though they had five years to work on it. It does the exact opposite of what Don Bluth did, they dumb it down for kids because heaven forbid an animated film is dark and sad. Unlike the first film, there's nothing to take away from this, no real message, there's no emotional connection, all the songs are forgettable, it's just an adventure film. Which is fine, but with The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven, and Anastasia, they all have the same running theme in them, which is family, the sequel on the other hand, had none of that.

At least in An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island, made the 2nd film, along with the TV series, all a dream sequence. But that's the only good thing I say about that film.

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