An American Tail: Fievel Goes West
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|An American Tail: Fievel Goes West|
Theatrical release poster
|Screenplay by||Flint Dille|
|Story by||Charles Swenson|
by David Kirschner
|Music by||James Horner|
|Edited by||Nick Fletcher|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$40.8 million|
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (also known as An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West & An American Tail 2) is a 1991 American animated western film produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio and released by Universal Pictures. It is the sequel to An American Tail, and the last installment in the series to be released theatrically.
It is the fourth installment in terms of the series' fictional chronology.
It was followed at the end of the 1990s by two direct-to-video sequels, both of which took place chronologically before it (although people question if it was real, or afterward if it was just a dream). A continuation of it, Fievel's American Tails, aired on CBS in 1992.
Don Bluth, the original film's director, had no involvement with this one. Instead, it was directed by Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells. Wells went on to do We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Balto, and The Time Machine, while Nibbelink went on to codirect We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story and direct his own independent features.
The film follows the story of the Mousekewitzes-a family of Jewish-Russian mice who emigrate to the Wild West. In it, Fievel is separated from his family (again) as the train approaches the American Old West; the film chronicles him and Sheriff Wylie Burp (voiced by James Stewart in his final film) teaching Tiger how to act like a dog. It performed modestly at the box office grossing $40 million and received mixed reviews from critics.
Several years after settling into their new home in New York City, the impoverished Mousekewitz family soon finds that conditions are not as ideal as they had hoped, as they find themselves still struggling against the attacks of mouse-hungry cats. Fievel spends his days thinking about the Wild West dog-sheriff Wylie Burp, while his older sister, Tanya, dreams of becoming a singer. Meanwhile, Tiger's girlfriend, Miss Kitty, leaves him to find a new life out west, remarking that perhaps she's looking for "a cat that's more like a dog."
Soon after, another gang of cats attacks and drives the mice into the sewers, including the Mousekewitzes. The raid is actually orchestrated by Cat R. Waul, who tires of chasing mice and devises a plan to deliver them into his clutches. Using a mouse-cowpoke marionette, he entices themin the sewers, including the Mousekewitzs into moving yet again to a better life out west ("Way Out West"). Tiger chases the train, trying to catch up with his friends, but is thrown off course by a pack of angry dogs. While on the train, Fievel wanders into the livestock car, where he overhears the cats revealing their plot to turn them into "mouse burgers." After being discovered, he is thrown from the train by Cat R.'s hench-spider, T.R. Chula, landing him in the middle of the desert. His family is heartbroken once again over his loss and arrive in Green River, Utah with heavy hearts.
Upon arrival at Green River, Chula blocks up the water tower, drying up the river. Cat R. approaches the mice and proposes to build a new saloon together, although intending to trick the mice into doing the bulk of the work and then eat them afterwards. Meanwhile, Fievel is wandering aimlessly through the desert, as is Tiger, who has found his way out west as well, and they pass each other. However, they each figure that the other is a mirage and continue on their separate ways. Tiger is captured by mouse Indians and hailed as a god. Fievel is picked up by a hawk and dropped over the mouse Indian village when fireworks scare the hawk, making his feathers pop out of his body and reunites with Tiger. Tiger chooses to stay in while Fievel catches a passing tumbleweed, which takes him to Green River. As soon as he makes his arrival, he quickly reunites with his family. He is unable to convince the others of Cat R.'s plans to kill them. However, Cat R. happens to hear Tanya singing while working and is enchanted by her voice ("Dreams to Dream").
He sends Tanya to Miss Kitty, who is now a saloon-girl cat, and she reveals that she came at the request of Cat R.. He tells Miss Kitty to put her on stage. With a little encouragement from Miss Kitty, she pulls off a great performance for the cats ("The Girl You Left Behind"). Meanwhile, Fievel is chased by Chula and briefly taken prisoner, but escapes.
While walking out of town, Fievel stops to talk with an old hound sleeping outside the jail, discovering that the he is in fact the legendary Wylie Burp. Fievel convinces gim to help and train Tiger as a lawman and as a dog. Tiger is reluctant at first, but relents at the suggestion that a new persona might win back Miss Kitty. They go back to Green River to fight the cats, who had scheduled to kill the mice at sunset. A giant mouse trap has been disguised as bleachers for a ceremony honoring the opening of Cat R.'s saloon. But before it can be tripped, they foil the plot and battle the cats using their wits and their sling shots. But towards the end Chula captures Miss Kitty as hostage, threatening to drop her from the water tower. Tiger snaps and saves her and uses a pitchfork and Chula's web as a lasso with him trapped on it to hurtle Cat R. and his men out of town by having them piled on part of the trap, which the heroes use as a catapult. The cats fly into the air and land into a mailbag. The train picks it up and leaves.
Enchanted by his new personality, Miss Kitty and Tiger are reunited. Tanya becomes a famous singer and the water tower flows with 9000 gallons of water again, making Green River bloom with thousands of flowers. Fievel finds Wylie away from the party who hands him his sheriff badge. He is unsure about taking it, since he feels he is not a traditional hero. However, Wylie reminds him that if they didn't meet, he would still be a washed up dog. Realizing that his journey is still not over, Fievel is told, "if you ride yonder, head up, eyes steady, heart open, I think one day you'll find that you're the hero you've been looking for".
- Phillip Glasser as Fievel Mousekewitz
- James Stewart as Wylie Burp
- Dom DeLuise as Tiger
- Cathy Cavadini as Tanya Mousekewitz
- John Cleese as Cat R. Waul
- Amy Irving as Miss Kitty
- Jon Lovitz as T.R. Chula
- Nehemiah Persoff as Papa Mousekewitz
- Erica Yohn as Mama Mousekewitz
The film was the first production for Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, a collaboration of Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, whose offices were located in London. There, over 250 crew members worked on the project, which began in May 1989. At the time, Amblimation was also developing We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Balto, and a screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats which never saw completion.
Don Bluth, who had partnered with Steven Spielberg on both the original film and The Land Before Time, was set to direct and have Sullivan Bluth Studios provide the animation; owing to creative differences, however, they parted ways. With no Bluth in sight for the sequel, Spielberg instead relied on Phil Nibbelink, a former Disney animator, and Simon Wells, the great-grandson of science-fiction author H.G. Wells, to direct the project. The result was that the film's animation style was distinctly different from that of its predecessor.
The Frankie Laine song "Rawhide" is played at the tumbleweed scene, although the version used is from The Blues Brothers. This sequence was designed and laid-out by an uncredited Alan Friswell, a special effects expert and stop-motion animator who was employed by the studio at the time, and is better-known for his work on the Virgin Interactive Entertainment Mythos computer game, Magic and Mayhem (1998), his restoration work for the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation as well as his many model creations and magazine articles for publications such as Fortean Times, among others.
In addition to a new voice actress, the character of Tanya was heavily redesigned as well. Instead of her red babushka headdress and blue and yellow dress, she wore a different colored dress and was given bangs and a ponytail and she was a couple inches taller than Fievel. Tiger also underwent minor changes (such as removing the "M" from his shirt), as did baby Yasha and Fievel.
James Horner returned to write the score to the film, reusing old themes and introducing new ones.
John Lithgow and Martin Short were considered to play Cat R. Waul and T.R. Chula, but Jon Lovitz signed to play Chula and John Cleese turned down the role as Cogsworth in Disney's Beauty and the Beast to play Cat R. Waul.
The film was released in the United States on November 22, 1991, exactly five years and one day after the release of the original one, and the same day as Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Although it profited at the box office, the film grossed less than its predecessor; it opened in fourth place with $3,435,625 despite being shown on nearly 1,700 theaters and eventually made just over $22 million domestically, and $18 million overseas, for a total of $40,766,041. By contrast, the original film made $47.4 million in the U.S. in 1986, a record at the time for a non-Disney animated one., and a further $36 million overseas, for a total of $84 million.
The film received mixed reviews from film critics. The staff of Halliwell's Film Guide gave it two stars out of four, with this comment: "Enjoyable and high-spirited animated film that borrows plot and attitudes from classic Westerns." Roger Ebert gave it two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "There is nothing really the matter with An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, except that it is not inspired with an extra spark of imagination in addition to its competent entertainment qualities." The New York Times wrote "The film is really a bland, randomly connected series of adventures involving the Mouskewitz children, Tiger and Miss Kitty, a sultry barroom chanteuse. While the quality of the animation is above average, the film's visualization of the American West is surprisingly dull. The movie has little narrative drive or emotional resonance, and its final action sequences seem perfunctory and tacked on." As of November 2013, 40% of critics gave it a positive reception on Rotten Tomatoes.
Sequels and spinoffs
The sequel followed An American Tail and was followed by the television series Fievel's American Tails and two direct-to-video sequels: An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island and An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster.
Fievel later served as the mascot for Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, appearing in its production logo. There is also a Fievel-themed playground at Universal Studios Florida, featuring a large water slide and many over-sized objects such as books, glasses, cowboy boots, and more. It is the only such playground at any of NBC Universal's theme parks.
A computer game based on the film was created in 1993.
The soundtrack was composed by James Horner and includes "Dreams to Dream", which was nominated for a Golden Globe award. "Dreams to Dream" was based on a short instrumental piece from the original film.
- "Dreams to Dream (Finale Version)" – Linda Ronstadt
- "American Tail Overture (Main Title)"
- "Cat Rumble"
- "Headin' Out West"
- "Way Out West"
- "Green River/Trek Through the Desert"
- "Dreams to Dream (Tanya's Version)" – Cathy Cavadini
- "Building a New Town"
- "Sacred Mountain"
- "The Girl You Left Behind" – Cathy Cavadini
- "In Training"*
- "The Shoot-Out"
- "A New Land/The Future"
Score cues left off the soundtrack
|This section does not cite any sources. (June 2012)|
- Tiger Chases the Train
- Mouse Burger Plot
- The Flying Aaaaah/Tiger's Chase Continues
- Puttin' On the Ritz (Movie Version)
- Two Old Friends Reunited
- Saloon Music
- Wylie Burp/More Like a Dog
- The Shoot-Out (Movie Version)
- The River Returns/Celebration
- Beck, Jerry (2005). "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
- Sabulis, Tom (July 5, 1990). "The toon boom: Animation's big-screen comeback sends artists back to the drawing boards". The Seattle Times. Knight Ridder Newspapers. p. F1.
- Weekend Box Office (November 22–24, 1991). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2007.
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2007.
- An American Tail at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2007
- Gritten, David, ed. (2007). "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (**)". Halliwell's Film Guide 2008. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 0-00-726080-6.
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- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at the Internet Movie Database
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at AllMovie
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at Rotten Tomatoes
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at Keyframe: The Animation Resource
- Stephen Holden. (November 22, 1991). "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991). Review/Film; Immigrant Mice Face the Frontier". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-03-24.