Monday, August 26, 2013

Double Movie Review: An American Tail and Fievel Goes West

An American Tail

The Story: A mouse family heads on a voyage to America to escape oppression by cats in their homeland. Along the way, the boy mouse is washed overboard and feared dead by his parents and sister. However, he manages to stay afloat in a bottle and make it to America, where he struggles to survive in this strange land. While searching for his family, he will face many dangers, including discovering that even America has cats.

My Thoughts: This was one of my favorite movies as a small child, and as I watched it again recently, there were many brilliant scenes that are the equal of Pixar’s best. The characters were vivid and the songs were memorable. The unusual depth of this film is sometimes credited with making people realize, in a time when animated movies were languishing, that animation was not just for children.

Some of the scenes, however, are creative but don’t quite work, such as a scene where waves in the ocean are perceived as water monsters. The story has as many holes in it as Swiss cheese, and this mostly ruined the movie for me. While the enormous amount of brilliance in this film was enough to dazzle me as a child, the lack of a solid story to hold it all together left me feeling disappointed in the film as an adult.

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

The Story: After the events in the first film, more cats have moved into the area to oppress the mice who have immigrated to America. One particularly villainous cat decides to trick mice into believing that cats and mice are friends out in the West, so he can get mice to go there and use them as laborers, then eat them. However, the young mouse from the first film catches on and sets out to stop the evil scheme.

My Thoughts: This is the only An American Tail sequel that I’ve seen, and like the first film, part 2 was a childhood favorite of mine. Unfortunately, like the first film, the many brilliant scenes and vivid characters can’t save it from its story holes. The most memorable thing about the film is that James Stewart voices a dog sheriff.

Content Overview: Due to the menace of a variety of cats and other threats in both films, there is a lot of mild violence, as well as some scary scenes. Rebellious attitudes and romance among some of the young mice might bother some parents. In An American Tail, a sleazy mouse ogles and then tries to grope a female mouse, but she slaps him away. In Fievel Goes West, several characters dress immodestly, and this is used at least once in a bad attempt to be humorous.

Have you seen any of the An American Tail movies? If so, what did you think of them?


  1. I remember watching these when I was little. I know I liked them a lot back then, but don't remember them well anymore, as it's been years since I've seen them. Based on your review here and the fact that I'm not terribly fond of animated movies, I doubt I'd enjoy them much anymore.

    Bethany just looked over my shoulder and said, "I remember those movies from when we were little. I thought they were so scary!"

    1. Thank you for commenting, Amy!

      I think some people might be able to enjoy them by focusing on the many good parts.

      They can be pretty scary for some children.

  2. I adored these as a kid!!! I haven't seen them in forever, though, and I always wanted to watch the other Fievel movies (weren't there 4?).

    I confess, I'd probably still like them, as my childhood memories often make me say "well, the writing wasn't great, but it's still so good!", instead of looking at it objectively, the way I watch new movies now.

    1. I'm not sure how many there are. Not nearly as many as The Land Before Time sequels, that's for sure. ;)

      If you see them again, I want to hear your thoughts. :)

      Thank you for commenting, Kaitlyn!

  3. I've never seen either of these, though I like the song you showed me from the first one, Jonathan. :)