Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Somewhere Out There...

An American Tail
Director: Don Bluth
Voice Talent: Phillip Glasser, Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise
Released: November 21, 1986

Oscar nominations:
Best Song - "Somewhere Out There" (lost to "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun)

This animated non-Disney film is a childhood classic for me. I had seen it numerous times as a kid and it's possible I saw it in the theaters, but if I did, I don't remember. I hadn't seen it in a very, very, very long time, though and it still holds up even though the animation isn't as good as the animated movies you see today or even as good as Beauty and the Beast which came out five years later. However, there is something about the grainy animation that adds to the nostalgia of the film.

The film starts out in Russia where the Mousekewitz family live. The Mousekewitzes are a family of - you guessed it - mice. There's Mama, Daddy, Fievel, Tanya, and a baby mouse that we inexplicably never see again after a couple of scenes. They are immigrating to America with other mice from foreign lands because "there are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese!"

On the boat, there's a huge storm and Fievel gets swept off and separated from his family who thinks he's now dead. Only his sister believes that he might still be alive and of course he is because this is a children's film, after all! Fievel ends up in a glass bottle that floats him to a nearly finished Statue of Liberty (this takes place in 1885) where he meets a pigeon who advises  him "never say never!" when Fievel forlornly tells him he's never going to find his family.

Poor Fievel. He can't find his family and he finds out that there are indeed cats in America.

On his search for his family, Fievel meets other characters including Tony, a mouse a bit older than him who tells him to stick close because he knows how to get around in the city, Bridget, a girl mouse who fights for mice rights against cats and who Tony has a crush on, Gussie Mausheimer, a rich mouse advocate who wants to have a "ra-wee" concerning the cat problem. (That would be rally). He also meets a shady fellow named Warren T. Rat, a cat disguised as a rat who is trying to take all the mice's money. He becomes friends with Tiger, a cat who is a vegetarian and would like to be friends with mice.

I didn't remember anything at all from this movie, but the one thing I did remember is when Fievel and his sister are singing "Somewhere Out There" from different locations at the same time. Of course these were little kids singing, so their voices weren't that great, but it was really cute and heart-wrenching - I teared up a little!  I love the radio version of the song and believe it should have won the Oscar over "Take My Breath Away".

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