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An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster
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Director

Larry Latham

Producer

Larry Latham

Screenplay by

Len Uhley

Music 

Michael Tavera

Studio

Universal Studios

Release date

July 25, 2000

Running time

78 minutes

An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster was the second direct-to-video sequel to An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island and the final chapter of the An American Tail tetralogy, starring Thomas Alexander Dekker as the main character, the young Fievel Mousekewitz. This film was released on July 25, 2000. The ending of this film shows Fievel falling asleep which may mark that there wouldn't be another American Tail film. It is also the third of the three "sequels" of the series.

Note: This marks the last role for Nehemiah Persoff for voicing Papa Mousekewitz in a film before retiring from acting to become a full-time painter.

Plot

Set in between the third film (Late 1880s) and second film (1892), Fievel, his friend, Tony and his sister, Tanya all get jobs at the local newspaper, where the audience is introduced to Nellie Brie, who wants to be an important reporter, but only gets small assignments, as if she were a secretary to Reed Daley, the newspaper's editor. Throughout the film, Tanya tries to win Reed's heart, while Tony tries to get noticed by Reed and promoted to a reporter. Like in the previous movies, where a mouse installation is directly below its human installation counterpart, the newspaper offices the mice work in is directly underneath the newspaper offices the humans work in.

Nellie gets a chance when she is assigned to report mice who disappear overnight into holes that open up on their floor all over New York. Reed makes up a, as Nellie calls it, "so-called monster" that lives under the city and takes mice away during the night to add more excitement to the otherwise unimportant story, intending to sell more papers. The Night Monster instills fear in the readers, as could be expected. Fievel begins having nightmares that cause him to lose sleep because of his fear of the monster; the film opens up with Fievel having a dream about being chased by what he thinks the monster looks like. When, through Tanya, he is assigned the job of following Nellie and drawing up interpretations of what the monster looks like based on witness testimony, this makes his insomnia all the worse. A particularly suspicious miniature French poodle named Madame Mousey, who has started living among the mice about this time, appears at every crime scene, claiming to be a fortune teller. The heroes finally decide to investigate her by means of the "dog council" that meets at Central Park. They also search down one of the holes, which leads directly to a group of cats hiding in the sewers. Also, all the mice that had disappeared are being held in wood cages there, to be sold off to other cats and eaten.

The Night Monster itself, a mechanical device with ghastly flashing pictures and a buzz saw, is revealed in full when it attacks the mice newspaper office and printing press to prevent them from printing the truth, which they had just discovered. A great chase scene takes place throughout both the mouse and the human newspaper offices. Reed reveals that he was in love with Nellie all along, much to Tanya's intense dismay. When all the cats seem to be under control, the "dog council" appears just as they're regaining consciousness and chase them all away, taking Madame Mousey with them. The last scene takes place at the beach, where the audience is told that the "dog council" had chosen for the French poodle (who was the mastermind behind the night monster all along) a punishment worse than prison: returning her to her owner. Mrs. Mousekewitz, Fievel's mother, surmises saying that now that the mystery has been cleared up, Fievel may finally go to sleep, only to turn around and find him already asleep on the beach towel.

Animation style

In comparison with the two theatrical features in the American Tail series, both direct-to-video releases falter in animation quality, as typical for direct-to-video cartoons. On top of that, Fievel's fur color was desaturated even though the rest of the Mousekewitz family have kept their original fur color. Which direct-to-video film has the better animation seems to be a matter of opinion, but this film did do a better job of the shots where the characters are tiny.

Characters

Other Voices:

Yohn's voicework

  • This is the only American Tail movie not to feature Erica Yohn as the voice of Mama Mousekewitz.

Soundtrack

"Get the Facts" Performed by Susan Boyd and Thomas Dekker

"Creature de la Nuit" Performed by Candi Milo

"Who Will?" Performed by Susan Boyd, Thomas Dekker, Pat Musick and Dom DeLuise

Goofs

  • When Tanya wakes up saying "Oh, not again!" after Fievel's nightmare at the very beginning, the captions say "Oh, my God!".

Reception

The film has a low score of 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, though actually beating out The Treasure of Manhattan Island by 11%, and most astoundingly, beating out Fievel Goes West by 1%. Among the fandom, the character of Nellie Brie is well-liked, but the film itself is regarded as mediocre. It is not nearly as divisive as The Treasure of Manhattan Island, perhaps because it makes no attempt to discredit or undermine Fievel Goes West, and although Bridget is still missing, Tony does not romantically pursue anyone else. It is sometimes criticized for its animation, as is the previous film.

External links

An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster
Characters Papa MousekewitzMama MousekewitzTanya MousekewitzFievel MousekewitzYasha MousekewitzTigerTony ToponiNellie BrieReed DaleyMadame MouseyTwitchBootlickSlugLone WoofThe Dog High Council
Locations New YorkDaily Nibbler
Songs Get the FactsCreature de la NuitWho Will

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