Americana Movie Month: "An American Tail" Review


Americana Movie Month: "An American Tail" Review

-- Rating: G
Length: 80 minutes
Release Date: Nov. 21, 1986
Directed by: Don Bluth
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy

"An American Tail" is a film that teaches children about the many challenges immigrants faced in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The story also imparts the importance of trust, perseverance, and family. With an all-star cast, a glorious soundtrack, and a great sense of humor, this film takes children and their parents through the highs and lows of the journey of the Mouskewitz family.

Fievel Mouskewitz is a young mouse who lives with his family in Russia. When times get hard and evil cats chase the Mouskewitz family out of their home, they decide to immigrate to America and seek a better life. As they cross the harsh ocean on a crowded ship, Fievel is unexpectedly separated from his family. His parents believe he perished at sea, so they try to build their lives in America without him. However, Fievel's sister Tanya always holds out hope that Fievel is alive and well, and she continues to search for him in America.

Meanwhile, Fievel must search for his family as he faces the harsh realities of this new country alone. America is not as perfect as Papa led him to believe, but he comes to understand the promise it holds amidst the trials. Many new friends join Fievel on his quest, including a good-natured cat named Tiger and an independent orphan mouse named Tony.

While Fievel searches for his family, he must fight against the evil Warren T. Rat, who seeks to exploit young orphaned immigrants for monetary gain. Fievel, Tiger, and their mouse friends hatch a plan to defeat Warren T. Rat once and for all, rid the city of evil cats, and reunite Fievel with his family.

"An American Tail" is a movie for the whole family. Children will love the humorous antics of Tiger the cat, who befriends the mice despite certain cat stereotypes. Grownups will appreciate the many humorous one-liners that may fly right over the kids' heads, and the whole family will enjoy the ups and downs of the timeless story.

The music in this film is quite an achievement, with popular songs including "Somewhere Out There" and "There Are No Cats in America." The movie has a perfect mix of ballads and upbeat tunes, and there are plenty of songs throughout the film to hold everyone's attention. All of the cast members have exquisite singing voices, including the children. Young Fievel and Tanya sing an enchanting duet that hits all the right notes, and Tiger has a fun and upbeat singing voice that will leave everyone giggling. The instrumentals behind the singing and in between scenes are also gorgeous. Full-scale orchestra numbers, simple violin solos, and piano melodies all blend together for a mix of music that strings the storyline together perfectly.

When they're not singing, the voice actors still deliver a fantastic performance in this movie. Even the young actors put feeling and emotion behind their words and lines, providing magic and realism to the characters. The best part about the acting is that the young characters are actually voiced by child actors. Many animated films recruit adult voice actors to imitate children's voices, but "An American Tail" makes the child characters much more realistic and believable with real children's voices.

What would a cartoon movie be without superb animation? "An American Tail" showcases real talent and artistry as the animation comes to life on the screen. Brilliant colors mix with beautiful soft lines and realistic scenery for a stunning picture that blends perfectly with all the other elements in the film.

The plot of the film is a little simplistic because it needs to be easy for children to follow along and enjoy it. However, it teaches timeless lessons that will stay in their hearts forever. Fievel learns to trust his friends, even if stereotypes tell him not to. He also learns to always cling to hope and love and to never give up. The simplicity of the story allows these moral lessons to shine through.

Grownups are sure to love this film just as much as little ones do. They can sing along with the songs, dance along with the music, and laugh at the antics of the characters. They may even shed a tear of joy as they see the love that Fievel has for his friends and family as they triumph over their problems and help each other out. "An American Tail" is a classic film for a reason and one that every member of the family will enjoy.

Rating 3.5 out of 5