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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

An American Tail (1986)
(2017 Reissue)


Starring (voice): Cathianne Blore, Dom DeLuise, John Finnegan, Phillip Glasser and Amy Green
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99


Certificate: U
Release Date: 12 June 2017

Fleeing from tyranny, poverty and the cats, the Mousekewitz family emigrate from Russia to the United States, an almost fabled land which promises a life without cats. During the voyage, young Fievel is separated from the rest of the family. Presuming he is dead the family continue their way to New York unaware that Fievel has also arrived in a bottle...

An American Tail (1986. 1 hr, 20 min, 24 sec) is an animated film directed by Don Bluth, who had a string of successes with The Secret of NIMH (1982), The Land Before Time (1988), All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), and Anastasia (1997). His string of successes only crashed and burned with the release of Titan A.E. (2000), which lost the company more than fifty million, a shame really as it could demonstrate that there are still things which could be shown in animation which live action could not, at that time, match.

Fievel's journey through New York has him meeting with a series of colourful characters from French pigeon who offers him advise about not giving up hope until he finally meets Tony Toponi, a streetwise Italian mouse who is his introduction to mouse immigrant culture.

It is a culture under threat as the New York mice are being terrorised by a gang of cats. Do the cats loose and does Fievel get reunited with his parents? Well, at its heart this a film for children, so you do the math. The film contains the usual amount of comedy, forgettable songs and a few instances of peril, but nothing which will give kiddies nightmares. That said, this is much darker than Disney’s output.

To gain a bigger audience Bluth eschewed his normal form of character design, instead producing something reminiscent of forties Disney. This produced a softer look to the film.

There are many problems with the print most of which come from the age of the original cells. There are artefacts and grain evident and the occasional blurring of the background, things which will be noticeable to an adult audience and go straight over the heads of a young one, who will just enjoy the film for what it is.

The Blu-ray disc comes with an English DTS HD MA 5.1 audio track, which I’m guessing is a remix of the original, and optional English subtitles. There is not much in the way of extras being limited to the 'Somewhere Out There’ Sing-Along (2 min, 13 Sec) which looks to have been ported over from an SD version without being remastered. You also get the Original Theatrical Trailer (1 min, 01 sec), another SD experience.


Charles Packer

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