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An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island
An American Tail The Treasure of Manhattan Island

Director

Larry Latham

Producer

Larry Latham

Screenplay by

Len Uhley

Music 

Michael Tavera
James Horner (archive music from An American Tail and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West)

Studio

Universal Studios

Release date

November 16, 1998 (United Kingdom)
February 15, 2000 (United States)

Running time

78 minutes

An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island is the third installation in the American Tail series, after both An American Tail and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and before An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster. It is a 1998 American direct-to-video animated film produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, animated in Japan by TMS Entertainment and released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It is also the second of the three "sequels" of the series. The film first premiered in the United Kingdom in 1998. The United States release was consequently put in hiatus until earlier in the next century due to difficult reasons.

Of note is that the film takes place in New York, which either retcons the events in Fievel Goes West (in which the Mousekewitz family leaves New York), or just means that it takes place before said movie. This is addressed directly near the beginning of the film, when Fievel says he had a dream where he moved west.

Note: This marks Elaine Bilstad's final role, as she died one year after voicing Cholena. This also marks Cholena's only appearance in the franchise, as well.

Plot

The story begins with some mice coming into New York on cab. The mice in New York are singing We Live In Manhattan while working, giving the audience a sense of the setting.

In the morning, Fievel Mousekewitz and Tanya Mousekewitz try to wake up Papa Mousekewitz. Papa has trouble getting up because he's getting old, and he grumpily snaps at Tanya making her upset, but they soon get along and Papa apologizes, thanks to Mama Mousekewitz. Papa is working with Tony in Cheese factory, owned by three wealthy and evil mice.

Tony takes Fievel into an abandoned subway to look around, and when Tiger accidentally activates one of the trains a secret chamber opens up and in it Fievel and Tony discover a map. Tony decides to take it to Dr. Dithering, a scientist in archaeology he used to work for. However this makes Tony late for work. When Tony arrives late at work, the three factory owners decide to punish him by not giving him his payment, but Papa convinces them not to fire Tony. After studying the map, Dr. Dithering decides to take Fievel, Tony and Tanya to underground to find what he believes will be a lost treasure. Dr. Dithering has an assistant name Scuttlebutt, who is in fact spying on professor for three factory owners. Also on the side of the villains is also Chief McBrusque, chief of New York's police department. McBrusque is getting bribed for keeping mice in factory silent.

The following morning at the factory, mice are striking, but they are stopped when McBrusque and his police officers beat up one small glasses-wearing mouse, who was the loudest. Papa is angry, but can't afford to have problems with the police.

Meanwhile in an underground tunnel, Fievel, Tiger, Dr. Dithering and others discover that under New York live Indian mice, remnants of the Lenape tribe. Fievel meets up with Cholena, cute daughter of Indian chief.

Fievel tells her that they think Indians pose treasure, but she tells him that their only treasure is their land.

Cholena decides to go on surface, to see if the Europeans have changed their ways and will let the Lenape live in peace. Meanwhile, Scuttlebutt reports to evil factory owners about the Indian village. The owners decide to give a speech to their workers stating that the Lenape are a threat, and that causes mice to get in angry mob. They go to museum, and kidnaps Dr. Dithering, and bring him to Sweat shop, where factory owners and police prosecute him. Papa manage to escape to McBrusque and his men. McBrusque goes after Cholena, but is stopped by Fievel and Tony.

Meanwhile in Sweatshop, Dr. Dithering is put on trial for cooperating with Indians, and police are determined to kill him with machine for crushing meat. Papa goes with Tiger, who rescues Dr. Dithering and fights off the police. Papa then explains the mice who actually are their enemy, not the Indians, but the factory owners. The mob goes after the owners, but police block the exit.

The owners send McBrusque and his men to kill everybody in the Indian village, and get the treasure. Fievel and the gang manage to get there before police, and to make a strategy. When police arrive, Indians and Fievel's gang fight them off. All the policemen run away. The Indian chief tells Fievel that he and his friends have to destroy entrance into the village, from the surface, and gives them the exploding device called the gunpowder bomb.

Fievel, Tony and Tanya go, but they are ambushed by McBrusque and Scuttlebutt who grab Fievel and Tony. After Tanya helps Tony and Fievel to fight and overpower McBrusque and Scuttlebutt, Fievel manages to set of the bomb and to destroy the entrance from the surface. This floods the tunnel, together with McBrusque and Scuttlebutt as they fall into the chasm to their deaths. Tony and Tanya manage to reach higher ground, but Fievel is carried off by the current. When the water recedes, Tanya and Tony desperately search through the mud to find him, before giving up. But just then, Fievel breaks through the surface, and they all three share a muddy group hug, thankful that everyone survived.

On the surface, the mice have elected Papa as their first Worker union president. The evil owners are complaining how there are many ways to skin the cat, but are interrupted by Tiger, who is now new Chief of New York police.

Dr. Dithering gives Fievel a telescope, and Fievel sees that Cholena and her people are on surface, waving goodbye to him before disappearing into a secret entrance on a statue. Ultimately, this event is never spoken of on the franchise finale.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack was never released in any official format. Much of the background music is recycled from James Horner's scores for the first two An American Tail films, or are instrumentals of one of the three original songs from the film. Those songs are:

A version of Anywhere in your Dreams without any background noises or vocalizations was made available as a sing-along extra on the DVD. This was the first An American Tail film where the villain(s) was given a musical number.

Reception

The film is not generally well-liked, getting a 28% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. Among the fandom, though it does have its fans it tends to be disregarded and disliked due to potentially retconning Fievel Goes West and the change of concept (read Aftermath). However, because it is closer to the tone of the first film, people who had a problem with Fievel Goes West's more light-hearted and comedic tone may actually prefer this film. It is at least appreciated for getting most of the voice cast from the first film back and for a story that pushed the envelope as far as PG direct-to-video cartoons go, as well as returning Tony as part of the main cast, since he's considered a fan favorite. It is criticized for its animation, which being a direct-to-video production is worse than the previous two films (but a step-up from Fievel's American Tails). It is still nowhere near as notorious as other Don Bluth sequels like The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue.

Trivia

  • This is the first and only movie that shows some mice as villains, not cats, as usually are in American Tail movies.
  • The first villains to die are Scuttlebutt and Chief McBrusque.
  • This film is similar to Pocahontas about Fievel making friends with Indians and the antagonists hate them.
  • This is the only film in the franchise Fievel has a love interest.
  • This is the first film Tony gets enthusiastic when explaining a fact. The second being The Mystery of the Night Monster.
  • This is the first and only film Tony mentions his family and that he's from Sicily, along with speaking Italian and shedding a tear.

Aftermath

Besides respecting the history of the Mousekewitz family, the concept is hated by the majority of the audience. The changing of fan favorite Tanya to Cholena, plus Tanya's personality change make this sequel one of the most unpopular Don Bluth films, thus making Cholena one of the most unpopular Don Bluth characters. It was also disliked because of Bridget's absence, as Tony develops an unrequited crush on Cholena, while supposed to be in a relationship with Bridget. This makes one of the few Don Bluth sequels to be explicitly dismissed from canon.

Voice Cast

See Cast

Social issues

Unlike the previous films and the next film, this film's subplot has been viewed as a serious matter, and it's not because of being poorly written. According to Common Sense Media, they felt like it was more "out of place for the franchise", as one protester was beaten senselessly by Chief McBrusque and his police members, and the slang term for Indians was used by the antagonist. The group was also concerned about the Lenape Mice were depicted as stereotypes of actual Native Americans. Common Sense Media suggested that kids would have been better off to "stick with An American Tail."

External links

[[Category:Films
An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island
Characters Papa MousekewitzMama MousekewitzTanya MousekewitzFievel MousekewitzYasha MousekewitzTigerTony ToponiCholenaChief WulissoLenape MiceMr. ToploftyMr. GraspingMr. O'BloatChief McBrusqueScuttlebuttDr. Dithering
Locations New YorkLes Club Des Grands Fromages
Songs We Live in ManhattanAnywhere in Your DreamsFriends of the Working Mouse