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An American Tail
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159 of 162 people found the following review helpful
How do you feel when you learn that one of your favorite films is to be released on DVD?

Of course, you feel very happy.

And what is your reaction when you finally got it? Well, there can be two:

1) This is great! A remastered version presented in widescreen! And all is just like I remember it, only better! And look at all those special features!

2) What... what is this?!

My reaction with An American Tail DVD was #2. Because what I got was a #2 job.

Here is a short and easy-to-follow guide for every studio out there, that is planning to release a movie on DVD:

1. Do not make unnecessary changes.
2. Do not make unnecessary edits.
3. If it was a theatrical feature, present it in widescreen.

Do you think Universal followed those easy steps?

Nope.

Here is an incomplete list of changes (without spoilers):

-New "humorous" sound effects were added to scenes where originally there weren't any. It's not funny.
-New voices were added to scenes without dialog (or any noise, for that matter).
-The alley mice's voices were re-dubbed. Why???
-The cover art was changes from a beautiful theatrical poster by Drew Struzan, only to be replaced with... something MUCH less appealing.

As I said, this small list of changes is incomplete. There is more.

It should be mentioned that there is also no widescreen. Enjoy your fullscreen! And do not forget to also enjoy the complete lack of any real special features to speak of!

An American Tail is a film that combines the talents of Steven Spielberg and Don Bluth. It was the first animated feature ever to out-compete Disney. It won several awards, including a Grammy for "best song". It was screened at the Jewish Film Festival in Atlanta in February 2011 to celebrate its 25 year anniversary. It was a film that grossed $84,000,000 worldwide (a record for animation at that time).

And THIS is how you treat such a film, Universal?! I cannot hear you, Universal!~!
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2004
Since I have already written a review back in spring of 2001 that touches on the brilliance of this animated treasure, this review will focus primarily on the newly released DVD of the film.

I for one, was certainly thrilled to learn that Universal was finally giving Fievel the coveted DVD treatment, and anticipated its release on the format each day since. Yes, features are scarce, and yes, the film is presented in full frame only, but the way I see it, having An American Tail on DVD at all is a milestone for me, since it is a title I have yearned for since the early days of the format. Do not get me wrong, I am a VERY strong supporter of original aspect ratio on home video, but An American Tail is not exactly a film that cries out for the anamorphic widescreen treatment. In this case, its omission does not really detract from the experience. But then again, maybe I am being slightly biased about this film, having seen it once as child, loved it, and becoming hooked on it ever since.

As far as the picture quality is concerned, aside from the image being full frame, I was actually rather impressed. I was not expecting the image to be quite so crisp and clear. There were a few more speckles of film dirt then I thought should have been there, but for a film nearing twenty years old, it was still a good deal better than I was expecting. Clarity was most definitely improved over the VHS versions, and colors were strong and nice-looking.

The sound is also pretty great. I listened to the DTS 5.1 soundtrack on my surround system, and it is, without a doubt, the best I have ever heard this film. However, those of you who have seen American Tail numerous times over (as I have) are bound to notice changes in some of the dialogue as compared to past video releases. In the opening titles, for example, as we approach the Mousekewitz home, laughter is now heard inside the humans' cottage where, on the VHS release, all that can be heard is James Horner's soundtrack. Also, new or never-before-heard lines of dialogue have been spliced into the film throughtout. The most noteable instances of this are during the scenes when Fievel is trapped in a birdcage crying, just before he meets Tiger. Also, when the cats are being anchored up onto the ship headed for Hong Kong, Warren T. now utters an additional line from offscreen, which I will leave you to discover. Anyone who has seen the film a good many times is bound to notice these changes.

While this altered/re-dubbed dialogue does not necessarily hurt the film, it is still fair to question why these changes were needed. Perhaps Universal felt the need to offer something new to DVD buyers who would be purchasing this film again? There is no sense in correcting something that was never broken to begin with. Be that as it may, the changes do not take away from one's enjoyment of the film, or certainly not mine, at least.

Bottom line, American Tail lovers who are not particularly picky about aspect ratio should find this DVD well worth acquiring. Like I said, I am big on widescreen myself, but in this case, found the movie too irresistable to turn down, especially at its low list price. Full frame and re-recorded dialogue aside, An American Tail is still the classic that it was nearly 20 years ago. So buy it before you are stuck trying to find an out-of-print copy "somwhere out there."
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This is a great movie and it shines like never before on blu-ray. For the first time the film is presented in it's original 1:85:1 theatrical widescreen aspect ratio. The colors are bright and the picture quality is stunning and very clear. The picture quality is vastly improved over every other past release. There are a few flaws however that may not bother too many people. There is 99.9% no film grain but in a few scenes the picture looks like some of the characters have edge doubling. Almost as if they used a three strip technicolor master and miss-aligned the strips a tiny bit which caused a double effect or ghosting around the edges of some of the characters throughout the movie which however does not distract from the enjoyment of the film. This film definitely does not have the quality that Disney gives their re-mastered classics but all-in-all this is a great film and the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is superb. This is a great film recommended for children and adults of all ages. This is perfect family entertainment at it's best and for those who like classic and modern classic Don Bluth animation, this one film that is sure to please and a must-have for any blu-ray collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2003
While in Acapulco, I went into a large U.S.-based store and found a wealth of favorite movies in Spanish at great prices. My husband first was introduced to this wonderful story as "Un Cuento Americano" (An American Tale - the pun doesn't work in Spanish) and it quickly became one of his favorites to watch and share with friends.
The translation is fantastic! As a sometime translator, I am very picky about how such work is done. Music and comedy are both notoriously difficult to translate well, but somehow these good folks accomplished the task with style, even finding substitute vocabuWary for a certain chaWacteWs speech impediment. Likewise, the singers and speakers for the Spanish version are well cast; so often the voices for dubbed versions lack the charm of the originals, but here they've done quite well. ¡Pruébala -- Te gustará a ti también!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2003
For those who think An American Tail is just a kids movie, they are most definately wrong. I was proven wrong when we watched it in my Sophomore History class, and it caught my full attention in the first five minutes.
Don Bluth creates an animation masterpiece that rivals some of Disney's best films, and James Horner provides us with a heartwarming score.
The story revolves around little Fievel Mousekewitz, a Russian immigrant who comes to America near the turn of the century (1885). He gets sent overboard the steamboat during a storm, and he sets off alone in New York, determined to find the family he lost.
With unforgettable characters, catchy songs; including the award-winning 'Somewhere Out There', An American Tail will capture your mind and heart and will be enjoyed for years to come.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2005
From director Don Bluth (The Secret of NIMH) this beautiful animated film comes a "tail" like no other. This story is about a little mouse named Fievel taking a "once in a lifetime" journey to America from Russia to escape the cats. They think by going to America there are no cats and can have a better life for their families. Upon their travels poor little Fievel becomes seperated from his family while arriving in New York.

During his adventures he meets up with wonderful characters such as: Tiger (Dom DeLuise), Tony Toponi, Bridget, Honest John, Gussie Mausheimer (Madeline Kahn), Digit, Henri (Christopher Plummer) & more!

This film also had some wonderful feature and ground breaking award winning songs such as:

There Are No Cats in America
Never Say Never
Somewhere Out There
Somewhere Out There - James Ingram & Linda Ronstadt
Duo

Before Disney's beautiful Pixar films came to the big screen, there was the breathtakingly beautiful and realistic animation by Don Bluth and Steven Spielberg productions. It may be a little out dated for most, but it's truly a classic animated film with wonderful song's & colorful characters told in an original story.

The DVD: Is very sweet as well it has sing-a-long song's, cute triva games for the kids, and more!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
There isn't too much more to say, as other reviewers have it covered: no widescreen, frivolous edits and additions, and a general lack of respect for a milestone in American animation (beat back Disney at the box office). It's pretty clear that the suits at Universal are unconcerned with anything more than a quick, cheap buck or two at the expense of a fine animated feature and its fans. Hold out for a proper DVD treatment, and deluge Universal with demands that they do this up right!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2003
I have to give credit for an attempt to tackle a historical topic in the form of animation; it was something original in its day. What makes Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty so important to many people, particularly during those times? The focus on the animal characters paired with the human events in the background was a nice touch. The whole part of just getting lost (and hopefully, found), period, is something that I think every one can relate to at some point in their lives. Even with some standard plot twists and sugary-sweet elements, and yes, some of the characters being more "caricature" than anything (the roly-poly Italian, the melancholy Irish, etc...), the attempt is worth noting.
As for the nostalgic bit, Madelaine Kahn, Christopher Plummer, et. al., including the little boy trying his best to belt out that high note in the most known song of the whole film does it for me. "Somewhere Out There" is one of my life`s theme songs...that`s how I pictured myself at Fieval`s age thinking about relatives overseas while in my pajamas state-side, and the "grown-up" James Ingram/Linda Ronstadt version still applies to me now. How`s THAT for nostalgia!!
What`s more, I respect Don Bluth for his efforts in creating his own path in animation, before anime hit big in the U.S. and animation as a whole stopped being ruled by the "Mouse House" state-side. If "cute" is not your fare, I would suggest something like "Watership Down" (it`ll make you think twice about the Easter Bunny, let me tell ya...) "An American Tail" is a family film for people with more of a sweet-tooth and who don`t mind indulging it a bit.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2005
This is a wonderful movie. I'm a huge Don Bluth fan. This is a story reliving the history of our country through a young Russian mouse. It's a beautiful story with fabulous music and beloved characters. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll awe in wonder as the mice rally together to defeat the cats. (May not be an ideal movie for a cat-lover.) Definitely worth watching.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2012
The movie is in fullscreen but it's different. Unlike other animated films that were made in widescreen and were cropped in pan-and-scan fullscreen (where it crops the sides of the screen), this movie (along with other Don Bluth films from "The Secret of NIMH" to "The Pebble and the Penguin") was made in fullscreen to begin with. So nothing is cropped out, all the top and bottom of the picture is shown (the widescreen version crops out the top and bottom when shown in that presentation). And one problem I have with it is that they added some new voices and sound effects along with re-dubbed versions of alley mice's voices. That sucks. Stick with the original VHS or laserdisc copies of the film which are available here on Amazon or Ebay.
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