MarzGurl Discusses An American Tail: Fievel Goes West
Release Date
January 30, 2012
Running Time
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(Clips from the movie are shown)

MarzGurl (vo): An American Tail: Fievel Goes West actually manages to be a relatively decent sequel to a Don Bluth movie, all things considered, even with Don Bluth's non involvement. It isn't perfect, but considering that fact, there isn't terribly much for me to rip on. In fact, for that reason in comparison to other reviews, this one may end up being a bit short. Originally, Bluth was supposed to have involvement with this film, but after differences, Steven Spielberg was forced to pull together a new team, and frankly, it still somewhat works. Maybe that's because it still had Spielberg at the helm of it; maybe it's because we still have the same musical composer, or much of the same voice cast. Whatever the reason, if you were to watch this movie on its own without much attachment to the first movie, it's pretty okay. The animation actually really surprised me; it's good, really good. We're introduced to a couple new characters with interesting voice casting: James Stewart is Wylie Burp, John Cleese is Cat R. Waul, Jon Lovitz is Chula, and others. It's an interesting and varied cast, to be sure. All of this being said, it does feel more like a cartoon than its predecessor. Characters feel slightly less intelligent than before and there are large pieces of incredibly ludicrous events happening, with slightly more rubbered animation to let you know the events are meant to be comical. It all starts off in New York City, with the Mousekewitz family still living there. Fievel dreams of going to the West and meeting his hero, Wylie Burp. Looks like he soon gets his wish, because a group of cats, led by Cat R. Waul, spook all the mice out of town and trick them into traveling to a Western town called Green River, with the promise of great opportunity in a community where cats and mice are capable of living together peacefully. The truth is, actually, that the cats plan on tricking the mice into slave labor, even up to building a great big mouse trap to catch and eat all of them at once when they're done with them. In the midst of all this happening, Tiger, still voiced by Dom DeLuise, has fallen for a lady cat with the incredibly clever name of Ms. Kitty, who leaves him for Green River, saying she needs a cat who acts more like a dog. With both Fievel and Ms. Kitty heading for Green River, Tiger also makes his attempt to get there, but he runs into the most trouble. Tiger has the majority of scenes with ridiculously rubbery animation, including this one where he's trying to escape an angry pack of dogs while trying to catch the train.

(Tiger bursts through a fence screaming while dogs chase him. He then somehow jumps and hides in a picture hanging on a wagon while the dogs try to find him)

MarzGurl (vo): Fievel and all the rest of the mice manage to make the train, and Fievel, being the adventurous character that he is, stumbles across Cat R. Waul revealing all of his plans to his cohorts. For this reason, Cat sends Chula, his spider sidekick, to chase Fievel off the train. So the Mousekewitz family has lost Fievel in the midst of travel again; I'm getting some Home Alone 2 vibes from this. Anyway, after a great amount of traveling in the desert, Tiger is captured by Native American mice, who then quickly turn to believing that he's their god. Fievel stumbles upon Tiger on his journey to Green River, too and tries to convince him to come along, but Tiger is obviously feeling quite content where he is, and when Fievel does eventually get to Green River, nobody believes his story about how Cat R. Waul is deceiving everyone. Even the great Wylie Burp seems too old and over the hill to help Fievel save anyone. However, Wylie does agree that he can at least help by training somebody else to be an awesome sheriff like him. In the meantime, Cat R. Waul has actually fallen in love with Fievel's sister's singing voice.

Tanya: (singing) Don't let go, if you stay close to me

MarzGurl (vo): He decides to bring her to a saloon and have her trained by none other than Ms. Kitty. Fievel realizes, then that he could get Tiger to be trained by Wylie and convinces him by telling him Ms. Kitty is in town. This leads into another ridiculous and rubbery moment when Tiger gets trained by Wylie to be an awesome law-enforcing dog.

(Tiger tries to do a lazy eye, but his eye sockets pop out of his head rapidly while Fievel looks on in concern, showcasing the really rubbery animation)

MarzGurl (vo): And so Fievel,Tiger and Wylie come into town just in the nick of time before all the mice are captured in a giant mouse trap. Tiger saves his girlfriend and the cats all end up in a bag labelled U.S. Mail and are carried out of town by train, and the movie ends with everybody getting everybody* they ever wanted: a green field growing, Fievel earning a sheriff's badge, and Wylie feeling happy just to get one last big hurrah.

So it's a simple enough movie and a perfectly decent narrative. It certainly managed to do far better than Secret of NIMH 2. This is probably because it was actually a movie theater release and not a direct-to-video title, meaning Universal actually still had a budget for it. But it still doesn't quite have the heart of its predecessor; there are no moments where I particularly see myself crying from feeling particularly touched by any given scene. The music is alright, but not nearly as inspired as the previous movie. Basically, I'm saying that this movie could stand on its own just fine, I just don't necessarily feel like it does a good enough job as a sequel, though it comes closer than most other sequels to Don Bluth movies, and that's saying quite a lot.

*Meant to be "everything"

(Credits are shown)

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