An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island
An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island is a 1998 American animated film produced by Universal Cartoon Studios and directed by Larry Latham. It is the third film in the An American Tail series, and the first to receive a direct-to-video release.
|An American Tail:|
The Treasure of Manhattan Island
|Directed by||Larry Latham|
|Produced by||Larry Latham|
|Written by||Len Uhley|
by David Kirschner
|Music by||Michael Tavera |
(archive music from An American Tail and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West)
|Distributed by||Universal Studios Home Video|
While retaining Dom DeLuise throughout the film series, the film reunites the voice cast of Nehemiah Persoff and Erica Yohn from both An American Tail (1986) and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Pat Musick from An American Tail with the return of her character Tony Toponi, and introduces Elaine Bilstad, René Auberjonois, David Carradine, John Kassir, Ron Perlman, Tony Jay and Richard Karron. Fievel and Tanya Mousekewitz's voices were performed by Thomas Dekker and Lacey Chabert, replacing the previous voice actors Phillip Glasser, Amy Green from the 1986 film, and Cathy Cavadini from both Fievel Goes West and the TV series Fievel's American Tails. Japanese studio TMS-Kyokuichi Corporation was the overseas animation studio for the film.
The film premiered in the United Kingdom on November 16, 1998, and was released in the United States and Canada on February 15, 2000. This was Erica Yohn's final film appearance before her death on January 27, 2019. This was also Elaine Bilstad's final character role, as she died of a heart problem on January 30, 1999.
The story begins as it returns to New York City sometime after the event of the first and before the second movie, as Fievel and Tony discover that an ancient treasure lies underneath Manhattan when snooping around an abandoned subway (the Beach Pneumatic Transit system) and stumbling upon the remains of a dead mouse clutching a treasure map, deciding they must find it with the help of an archaeologist Tony knows: Dr. Dithering, along with fighting five villains as well.
The movie focuses on the relationship between the over-exploited workers of a sweatshop (in this case, a cheese production line) and the factory's robber baron owners: Mr. Grasping (Ron Perlman), Mr. Toplofty (Tony Jay) and Mr. O'Bloat (Richard Karron). It also focuses on the plight of the Native Americans in the United States. The treasure under Manhattan turns out to be a group of Lenape mice living a long distance beneath the surface (far below the sewers, riding in an underground pressurized train) that decided to hide when they saw how the first Europeans only brought war and disease with them and didn't want to wait for the European mice to do the same to them. An emotional scene ensues when Fievel must struggle with how cruel his own people, the Europeans, were to the natives of America.
The sachem, Chief Wulisso (David Carradine), decides to send his daughter Cholena (Elaine Bilstad), to the surface to see if they have "changed their ways." Upon their return, Scuttlebutt (John Kassir) (one of the members of the expedition to find the treasure) reports to the villains unbeknownst to the rest of the members of the expedition, who then decide to use this to their advantage. They lie to all the workers of the sweatshop about Cholena (obviously not by name), telling them that she is their enemy. The mouse NYPD Chief, McBrusque (Sherman Howard) and Scuttlebutt engage in a bout of police brutality, scavenging every nook and cranny until they find her. After the angry mouse mob try to capture Cholena and anyone else involved with her, Fievel and his friends decide to take Cholena back underground before being put in further harms way, but the police find out and go after them.
Meanwhile, everyone finds out about Dr. Dithering's friendship with the Indian and take him to the butcher shop for his execution. Papa tells everyone about how madness like this is why they all left for America and should work together to become friends with those different from them as the fellow Americans they are. Tiger saves Dr. Dithering from the villains, who escape and order McBrusque and his men to find and murder the Native Americans.
Upon returning Cholena to her home, they tell the chief what is happening. McBrusque, Scuttlebutt, and the other police officers show up to the village, but the Chief, the Native Americans, Fievel and his friends drive the villains away. The chief gives them a gunpowder bomb to collapse the tunnel connecting the Native Americans to the outside world. But before they can do so, they are ambushed by the enraged McBrusque and Scuttlebutt who attempt to kill the kids once and for all, but the two crooks are overpowered and Fievel manages to set off the bomb. This floods the tunnel, together with McBrusque and Scuttlebutt as they fall into the chasm to their deaths. Tony and Tanya managed to reach higher ground, but Fievel is seemingly 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 all three share a muddy group hug, thankful that everyone survived.
The movie ends with Fievel's papa forming a worker's union and the villains agreeing amongst themselves that they're forced to negotiate with "that riff-raff" to avoid a strike. Meanwhile, Tiger the orange tabby cat is enjoying his new job as the police chief. The last scene is Fievel seeing, through a foldable telescope, Cholena and her father disappearing into a hidden door at the foot of a statue, which pleases Fievel.
- Thomas Dekker as Fievel Mousekewitz
- Lacey Chabert as Tanya Mousekewitz
- Nehemiah Persoff as Papa Mousekewitz
- Erica Yohn as Mama Mousekewitz
- Dom DeLuise as Tiger
- Pat Musick as Tony Toponi
- Elaine Bilstad & Leeza Miller (singing) as Cholena
- René Auberjonois as Dr. Dithering
- David Carradine as Chief Wulisso
- Ron Perlman as Mr. Grasping
- Tony Jay as Mr. Toplofty
- Richard Karron as Mr. O'Bloat
- Sherman Howard as Police Chief McBrusque
- John Kassir as Scuttlebutt
- Dave Mallow as additional voices
The Treasure of Manhattan Island premiered in the United Kingdom in November 1998. It received the VHS release for the United States and Canada on February 15, 2000. Prior to the North American release, it was advertised on 1998 reissues of An American Tail and Fievel Goes West. It was later released on DVD on January 20, 2004, with a sing-along version of "Anywhere In Your Dreams" as a bonus feature. It was later combined in a DVD set packaged with three other movies on June 13, 2017.
Robert Pardi of TV Guide gave the film 2 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Although the bright and bubbly animation lacks depth, these cute little vermin have just enough personality to make tykes unaware they're being spoonfed ethnic-harmony aphorisms." Susan King of the Los Angeles Times wrote that young children under 10-years-old might find it entertaining. Grace Montgomery of Common Sense Media felt that the politically sensitive elements depicted in the film are "out of place for An American Tail" and recommended that "Your kids would be better off to stick with the original An American Tail and skip this one.".
- "An American Tail The Treasure of Manhattan Island (1998)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
- Fitzpatrick, Eileen (December 25, 1999). "'Mummy' Shoots Universal's Sales Over $1 Bil.; Retailers Win With Sight And Sound". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 52.
- "An American Tail: 4 Movie Complete Collection". Amazon. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- "An American Tail: The Treasure Of Manhattan Island". TV Guide. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
- King, Susan (2000-02-17). "Fievel's Big Adventure in Manhattan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
- "Scarier and darker than the past films". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 2017-10-01.