Recently, I joined the Patreon of Dan Murrell, formerly of Screen Junkies and now starting his own YouTube channel. I have been a fan of Dan for several years, back to the old days of Movie Fights. I joined his Patreon basically to join his Movie Club. One of the first films he put forth as a film to watch was the animated An American Tail.
Produced by Steven Spielberg, An American Tail tells the story of little mouse Fievel (Phillip Glasser), a Russian immigrant to the United States, who gets separated from his family on the trip. Fievel’s family came to America because they believed that there were no cats in America.
The animation here is surprisingly good, though it looks like a basic cartoon. There are some scenes that are just beautifully drawn and the imagery is, at times, haunting.
The music is really well done, but it is not overused. Somewhere Out There is a beautiful song and the duet with Fievel and Tiger (Dom DeLuise) is a lot of fun.
Fievel sure goes through a lot in this movie and the near misses with him and his family were maddening. The little mouse has to face so much adversity that it really builds to a powerful emotional moment in that third act of the film.
This movie is certainly from the perspective of an immigrant to the United States, something that is relevant in this point of time in our history. An American Tail uses imagery of the Statue of Liberty to promote that theme. The attitude of the mice in coming from Russia, looking for a better life in America is a powerful message that we should still embrace.
I think as well that the fact that these Russian mice are basically Jewish is a great use of the animation. It allows children to see a different culture represented on the screen without it being called into attention.
This was the first time I actually saw this movie and I enjoyed it quite a bit.