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For the video game based on the film with the same name, see An American Tail: Fievel Goes West


An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is an animated film produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio and Universal Animation Studios, and released by Universal Pictures. It is the 1991 sequel to the 1986 film An American Tail, the second film released in the American Tail series, and the fourth installment in terms of the series' fictional chronology. The sole theatrical sequel to An American Tail, it was later followed at the end of the 1990s by another two direct-to-video sequels, both of which took place chronologically before this film. A continuation of this installment, Fievel's American Tails, aired on the CBS Television Network in 1992.

Don Bluth, the original film's director, had no involvement with this film. 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 Phil went on to co-direct We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story and direct his own independent features.

The film follows the story of a family of Jewish-Russianmarker mice who emigrate to the Wild West. In the film, Fievel Mousekewitz is separated from his family as the train approaches the American Old West; the film chronicles Fievel and Sheriff Wylie Burp (played by James Stewart in his final film) teaching Tiger how to act like a dog.

Plot

Seven years after settling in to their new home in The Bronx, New Yorkmarker, 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 felines.

Fievel spends his days dreaming about the wild west dog-sheriff Wylie Burp, while his 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."

Tired of chasing, Cat R. Waul devises a plan to deliver the mice into his clutches. Using a mouse-cowpoke marionette, he entices the neighborhood mice, 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 west-bound train, Fievel wanders into the livestock car, where he overhears the cats revealing their plot to turn them into "mouse burgers." After being discovered, Fievel is thrown from the train by Cat R. Waul's hench-spider, T.R. Chula, landing the mouse in the middle of the desert. The Mousekewitzes are heartbroken once again over the loss of Fievel and arrive at Green River with heavy hearts.

Upon arrival at Green River, Chula blocks up the water tower, drying up the river. Cat R. Waul 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 the two pass each other. However, each one figures that the other is a mirage and they 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 and reunites with Tiger. Tiger chooses to stay in while Fievel catches a passing tumbleweed, which takes him to Green River. As soon as Fievel makes his arrival, he quickly reunites with his family. He then tries to expose Cat R. Waul's true intentions. However, no one will believe him.

Meanwhile, as Cat R. Waul searches for entertainment for the saloon, he happens to hear Tanya, Fievel's older sister, singing while working and is enchanted by her voice ("Dreams to Dream").

He sends Tanya to Miss Kitty, who's now a saloon-girl cat, and she reveals that she didn't come out west by her own will, but at the request of Cat R. Waul - an action she now seems to regret. Cat R Waul tells Miss Kitty to put Tanya on stage. With a little encouragement from Miss Kitty, Tanya pulls off a great performance for the cats ("The Girl You Left Behind").

Fievel is briefly taken prisoner by Chula and almost eaten a few times, but escapes. While walking out of town, Fievel stops to talk with an old hound sleeping outside the jail, discovering that the saturnine dog is in fact the legendary Wylie Burp. Fievel convinces Wylie to help the mices' plight and to 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. The trio: Wylie, Tiger, and Fievel go back to Green River to fight the cats, who had scheduled to kill the mice at sunset.

At Green River, a giant mousetrap has been disguised as bleachers for a ceremony honoring the opening of Cat R. Waul's saloon. But before the trap can be tripped, the three foil the plot using their wits and their slingshots, and use a pitchfork and Chula's web as a lasso with him trapped on it to hurtle Cat R. Waul and his men out of town by having them all piled on part of the mousetrap, which the heroes use as a catapult.

Enchanted by his new personality, Miss Kitty and Tiger become reunited. Tanya becomes a famous singer (although she also appears to be happy with the way she was before by the end) and the water tower flows with water again, making Green River bloom with flowers. Fievel finds Wylie Burp away from the party who hands Fievel his sheriff badge. Fievel is unsure about taking it, since he feels he is not a traditional hero, but Wylie reminds him that, if it weren't for Fievel, he'd still be a washed up dog. He realizes his journey is still not over, and that "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".

Characters

  • Fievel Mousekewitz (Phillip Glasser) is a mouse, (aged 8) and the main character of the American Tail franchise; in this installment, he is mostly seen with a cowboy hat on his head, that appears to be reversible into his trademark blue hat. Fievel dreams of fighting alongside his hero, Wylie Burp and being a western hero. Although Tiger and Wylie do much of the work in the final fight scene, Fievel is just as important. At the finale, Wylie gives him his own badge.


  • Tanya Mousekewitz (Cathy Cavadini) is Fievel's sister, (aged 13) who dreams of becoming a singer, and gets her wish thanks to Miss Kitty in Green River. Near the end, she looks at her reflection in the water and washes off her makeup, implying that she realizes she was a star in her own right all along. She also sings two of the movie's songs, "Dreams to Dream" and "The Girl You Left Behind".


  • Mama & Papa Mousekewitz (Erica Yohn and Nehemiah Persoff) are Fievel's parents. (aged 50) Papa is still an optimist about new things, especially moving out west.


  • Yasha Mousekewitz (no voice credited) is Fievel's baby sister. Although she is seen more than she did in the original movie, she still only has a very minor role.


  • Tiger (Dom DeLuise) is the only cat friend of the Jewish-Russian mouse family. Throughout the movie, he is depicted as a wimp, being chased and bullied constantly by dogs, and revealed to be arachniphobic when he sees Chula for the first time. But with the help from Wylie Burp, Tiger later overcomes these fears, becoming more like a dog and taking on Chula after the spider threatens Miss Kitty.


  • Miss Kitty (Amy Irving) is Tiger's girlfriend. She leaves Tiger early on to go down to Green River, looking for a cat who's more like a dog. She clearly regrets this decision later, in a scene where she remembers all the good times she had with Tiger. Although she is seen in the company of Cat R. Waul, she never shows any evil intentions or disliking of mice, just like Tiger. In fact, it is implied that she was never even aware of Cat R. Waul's plots in the first place. In the end, she is seen happily in the arms of Tiger after he saves her from Chula.


  • Wylie Burp (James Stewart ) is the aging lawdog of Green River, Fievel's idol, and a caricature of the real Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp.


  • Cat R. Waul (John Cleese) is Fievel's arch-nemesis and the main antagonist of the film. He is an aristocratic British cat who plans on exploiting the mice to do labor and then eat them. He has many henchmen and must force them to refrain from eating the mice at all times, or else his plan will fail. Although a convincing conman, he shows that he is not the world's greatest actor in an early scene where he attempts to do a southern accent (which consists of him awkwardly throwing "y'all" (which, being a cat, he pronounces "yowl") in at the ends of his sentences). Although later thrown out of Green River, he returns in the follow-up series, through his only accomplice here is Chula.


  • Chula the Tarantula (Jon Lovitz) is Fievel's other arch-nemesis, and Cat R. Waul's main sidekick. Several times throughout the movie, he attacks Fievel and comes very close to catching him at a few points, but is easily outwitted by the crafty mouse. He later takes Miss Kitty hostage, but is thrashed by an angry Tiger and is tossed out of town along with the rest of the cats. He is the only other returning villain in the follow-up series, along with Cat R. Waul.


  • Tony, Bridget, and Honest John from the first movie all make cameos. Tony and Bridget are seen during the Homestead Strike (presumably married, now with a child) and later when everyone is settling into Green River. Honest John is seen for a second during "Way Out West" when politicians are mentioned.




Production

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West was the first production for Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio, a collaboration of Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, whose offices were located in Londonmarker. 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, and a screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, which never saw completion.

Owing to creative differences, Don Bluth parted ways with Steven Spielberg, with whom he had directed the original American Tail, as well as the first of 13 Land Before Time films. With no Bluth in sight for the sequel, Spielberg instead relied on Phil Nibbelink, a former Disney animator, and Simon Wells, the grandson of science-fiction author H.G. Wells, to direct the project.

The Frankie Laine song Rawhide is played at the tumbleweed scene of this film, although the version used is from The Blues Brothers.

In addition to a new voice actress, the character of Tanya was heavily redesigned as well. Tiger had minor changes, as does Yasha (the baby) and Fievel looks slightly different.James Horner returned to write the score to the movie, reusing old themes and introducing new ones.

Reception & box office

Fievel Goes West was a critical failure upon its initial release, but has since gained a devoted cult following, with many fans feeling that it was very underappreciated for its time. It was released in the United States on November 22, 1991 — the same day that another animated film, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, was released. Beauty was the better-received universally, grossing over $110 million and eventually becoming a Best Picture nominee at the Oscars.

Commercially, West 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 $40 million worldwide, for a total of $65,435,625.. By contrast, the original Tail made $47.4 million in the U.S. in 1986, a record at the time for non-Disney animated feature., and a further $36 million worldwide, for a total of $84 million.

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 (which some think retconned Fievel Goes West and Fievel's American Tails out of existence, though the two sequels actually take place before Fievel Goes West) and An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster. Treasure of Manhattan Island begins with Fievel talking about a dream about moving out west, which suggests a retcon but could be foreshadowing as well.

In an all-too-brief shot during the Cat raid on the mice slums, Tony and Bridget are briefly seen careening into a sewer on a rollerskate with their son. This seems to suggest that Bridget and Tony had married by now and have a child together. Additionally, the two can be seen shortly after the mice arrive in the west. If so, it may be negated by the lack of any such children or the sequels after it.

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 Floridamarker, 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.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack was composed by James Horner and includes Dreams to Dream, which was nominated for a Golden Globe award. The song "Dreams to Dream" was based on a short instrumental piece from An American Tail.

The soundtrack quotes many classic western scores, from The Magnificent Seven to Aaron Copland's Rodeo: Hoe Down.

Track listing

  1. "Dreams to Dream (Finale Version)" - Linda Ronstadt
  2. "American Tail Overture (Main Title)"
  3. "Cat Rumble"
  4. "Headin' Out West"
  5. "Way Out West"
  6. "Green River/Trek Through the Desert"
  7. "Dreams to Dream (Tanya's Version)" - Cathy Cavadini
  8. "Building A New Town"
  9. "Sacred Mountain"
  10. "Reminiscing"
  11. "The Girl You Left Behind" - Cathy Cavadini
  12. "In Training"
  13. "The Shoot-Out"
  14. "A New Land/The Future"


Score cues left off the soundtrack

  1. Tiger Chases the Train
  2. Mouse Burger Plot
  3. The Flying Aaaaah/Tiger’s Chase Continues
  4. Puttin’ On the Ritz (Movie Version)
  5. Two Old Friends Reunited
  6. Rawhide - The Blues Brothers
  7. Saloon Music
  8. Wylie Burp/More Like a Dog
  9. The Shoot-Out (Movie Version)
  10. The River Returns/Celebration


See also



References

  1. Beck (2005), pp. 18-19.
  2. Weekend Box Office (November 22-24, 1991). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2007.
  3. . Retrieved May 26, 2007.
  4. . Retrieved May 26, 2007


Sources

  • Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. ISBN 1-55652-591-5. Chicago Reader Press. Accessed May 26, 2007.


External links




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