I just caught An american Tale on DVD a few nights ago. Not as good as I remember it being as a little kid. Isn’t that always the way? An American Tail was a fun childhood memory ruined by my adult perception of the universe.
I once read a review were the guy was like Spielberg (who executive produced it) should have not beat around the bush about the fact that this story is about Jews migration to America.
1st of all, they are mice not Jews and it’s an animated film met to spoon feed children superficial information. I always felt the whole reason to use Anthropomorphism was to assure the darkness of migration in the 19th century would not traumatized Reagan raised children.
But I may have agreed with the reviewer if not for Inglorious Bastards. If you have not scene the movie, at the very beginning the amazing Christoph Waltz who plays Hans Landa gives a chilling speech about how we do not like rats despite the fact that they are no different a rodent than a chipmunk or a Squirrel (although, they are different, they are rats). Then he ask the man he’s given the speech to to tell him were he’s hiding the Jews in a “I hate rats” tone. I can’t help but to think about that speech while watching this movie. It’s like how old school,animation use to give crows the vibe of negro stereotypes (You’ve see Dumbo right?), or the fact that an animated Chihuahua is always voiced a Latino male who hypes up the accent.
An American Tale may not be as good as my childhood memory makes it out to be but the film still gets mad respect from me. In a time and age when Disney had a every weak hold on the feature animation market, turning out miss after near hit, Don Bluth ( who once worked for The mouse) started his own production company and became competition.
I feel like An American Tale was attempting to go up against Disney due to the use of a lot of very weak songs in the film (Only two I like: somewhere out there, and no cats in America).
Disney was in a runt like they should have stopped making animated features but they could not. They were not all bad (Oliver and Company was solid (thanks to Billy Joel’s music), but Disney was making classics at one point, and now they were scooping shit out of the Toilet.
I’m noticing that a lot of animated features of the 1980s have that same vibe to it. Not top notch because they are done cheaply and quickly.
For me, the best of this quality animation was the ones use to sell toys to you.
Transformers the movie is a personal fav of these films, and a film that sparked my interest in anime (I will see the greatest anime ever, Akira about two years later)
Hasbro made three of these Toyetic cartoons in the 80s: My little Pony the movie, Transformers; the movie and G.I. Joe: the movie. The fist two were actually released in theaters and did so poorly, the latter premiered on TV instead, to lackluster reviews. Most people suggest that it was the company’s need to sell new toys that cause the films disliked. I can’t really speak for my little pony but I know the two boy animated features turned characters that I grew to love from the TV series (that was also used to sell toys) and made them background characters for new shittier people to take center stage.
a little spoiler alert on Transformers. When Optimums prime died in the movie I was in emotional turmoil, and I remember it vividly as it was the first time a movie made me feel that type of sadness, but the idiot they got to replace prime as the leader of the autobots took some steam out of that.
It’s funny how the attempts to extend the franchise into a movie actually ended these toy-lines for awhile (Ironically, The animated series these features were adapted from were very successful at selling toys).
Two or three years after these three movies failed, Disney would attempt to pump up the production of its animation just like they did, but unlike these the Hasbro money making machines, they’re was no toy to sell. Instead they stuck to the perfect Disney formula for telling a story and The Little Mermaid was created, starting what they call the the Disney Renaissance.
Although, I feel this Renaissance started earlier when Disney first started producing high quality animated series, starting with a little show called..Gummi Bears (you though I was going to say Duck Tales right? credit wehre credit is do Duck Tales did blow the roof off, but Gummi Bears was just as boss and had the same quality of animation, and came out first)
Don Bluth’s other 80s hit, The Land Before time was far more a stellar in story, production, design and music. No wonder it had a shit load of sequels made to it. Nothing as perfect as land before time though. The direct to video sequels seem
To miss one or the other (have the production but not the story, has good music but weak design)
The Secret of NIMH was also a stellar movie by Don Bluth productions. It was the company’s first and it was far darker in spirit. almost like Don Bluth was trying to run away from the squeaky clean Disney Image only to run right back to it with An American Tale.
It’s a very long road to say that An American Tale did not stand the test of time.