Sunday, April 27, 2014

An American Tail (Sullivan Bluth, 1986)

Remember in the NIMH review when I said Bluth had no trouble attracting money for his future films? Well, he attracted something else, too, and it was something that sure didn’t make the money any harder to come by, because that something was named STEVEN FREAKING SPIELBERG. And Spielberg took a very hands-on approach to producing this film, which left Bluth with a lot of money, but also with an enthusiastic yet inexperienced (in animation, at least) executive. And with Spielberg’s money and art, there also came the marketing department and their sinister needs. Bluth’s first film was a scrappy little indie, but this new movie, the first from the newly formed Sullivan Bluth Studios, was suddenly a Big Deal. Would Bluth be able to rise to the challenge of going corporate so soon, or would the ideals that set him off on his own be scuttled? Well, Disney had just made The Black Cauldron, so there wasn’t too much pressure. Combining Spielberg’s inspiration, the storied history of the Jewish diaspora, and Bluth’s inspiration, talking mice wearing an inappropriate amount of clothing for the setting.