An American Tail | Chicago Reader

An American Tail

Steven Spielberg-produced animated feature about an immigrant mouse who comes to America in search of his family. Director Don Bluth (The Secret of NIMH), an erstwhile Disney rebel, brings a stylistic consistency to the animation that's eluded the recent multihanded projects of his old studio employer (e.g. The Black Cauldron), though Bluth seems constitutionally incapable of sustaining a basic story line: his Tail lurches episodically from one pyrotechnical extravagance to the next (in much the same manner as a Spielberg live-action feature) with little regard for overarching narrative design. Some flimsy characterizations to contend with also, as well as an overbearingly rah-rah Americana theme (sacrificing fantasy archetype for popular edification), but I don't want to be too hard on this small film: the overall quality of the animation—baroquely executed if rather conventionally conceived—makes it worth a look (1986).



  • Don Bluth


  • Cathianne Blore
  • Laura Carson
  • Dom DeLuise
  • John Finnegan
  • Phillip Glasser
  • Amy Green
  • Madeline Kahn
  • Pat Musick
  • Nehemiah Persoff
  • Christopher Plummer
  • Neil Ross
  • Will Ryan
  • Hal Smith
  • Erica Yohn

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