An American Tail (1986)
Fievel is Still Somewhere Out There
What are you afraid of? Are we men, or are we mice? - Gussie Mausheimer
As a child I fell in love with "An American Tail" and remember driving people crazy with my constant replaying of Fievel and Tanya singing "Somewhere Out There". It wasn't just the song I enjoyed as the whole storyline about immigrant Russian mice coming to America and the comedy of cats chasing mice also appealed. But that was then and having not watched "An American Tail" for a couple of decades I revisited it and wished I hadn't as everything I loved I now disliked and found it almost a painful experience.
After their homes is destroyed by fire the Mousekewitz family emmigrate from Russia for America. Unfortuntaley along the way their youngest Fievel becomes seperated from them and it seems like that they will remain apart. Whilst Papa, Mama and Tanya Mousekewitz try to build a new life, young Fievel finds himself washed ashore and left to live on the streets. But whilst battling cats and rats he sets about finding his family with a group of friends he makes along the way.
There is part of me which thinks that whilst animation has moved on and so young audiences may find the old style animation a bit dated the essence of "An American Tail" will still entertain younger audiences. The storyline of these Russian mice heading to America with young Fievel being seperated will work as will all the cartoon comedy surrounding cats chasing mice. It may be obvious stuff but watching almost "Tom & Jerry" style antics as Fievel gets the better of various cats and rats will make younger audiences laugh.
But from an adults point of view "An American Tail" just doesn't work, oh the storyline still has a pleasant innocence which is appealing but beyond that it is dull. It almost feels like it is a cartoon made to formula so we get a few minutes of story, a moment of comedy action and then a song all of which is repeated over and over again till the movie ends. As such the storyline ends up being insignificant as the cartton comedy becomes central which is all a bit too obvious for an adult to enjoy. And there are the songs and whilst "There are no Cats in America" is still fun, listening to Fievel and Tanya singing "Somewhere Out There" ends up painful with their high pitched squeals which were once cute but now annoying.
All of which is maybe a tad unfair because "An American Tail" is a charming tale, an innocent one which as already mentioned will no doubt amuse young audiences. But where as cartoons have moved on providing fun for adults and children alike "An American Tail" fails to achieve this leaving any adult watching left wanting of something really fun.
What this all boils down to is that "An American Tail" was once a good cartoon, one which I had warm memories off. But like so many movies from the 80s it should have stayed there and in my memories as watching it now it is no where as good as it once was. It will probably still amuse young audiences with it's simple tale and obvious comedy but beyond that it is all a little dull almost painful with it's paint it by numbers approach.
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