The long out of print “Rock-a-Doodle” from animation master Don Bluth has finally stormed its way on to HD thanks to Olive Films, and it’s a blast to the past for me. I fondly remember seeing a lot of the ads for “Rock-a-Doodle” as well as coming across TV spots and ads in comic books. Sadly, the actual cinematic experience was a bust, even for an eight year old moi. It was a dull, awful movie then, and it’s a pretty dull and awful movie, now. I doubt even the best of nineties nostalgia geeks can find a gem in this mess of a movie. I spent a good number of years putting “Rock-a-Doodle” in the back burner of my memory, and I realize it was for good reason.
“Fievel Goes West” is a childhood favorite and a fitting end to the legacy of Jimmy Stewart. Not only does Stewart play an old dog who was once an old West hero, but Stewart was a man very fond of family friendly entertainment. “Fievel Goes West” is a film just as good as the original where the Mousekewitz family find themselves being exploited by a capitalist cat who wants to enslave the mouse community before eating them. Masquerading as a Southern mouse promising a new start in the old west town of Green River, the Mousekewitzes make another trek in to a new frontier after the crowded slums of New York didn’t quite work out for them.
Like a lot of Don Bluth’s films, “An American Tail” feels like a very personal animated film that tells a universal story about the immigration experience. It’s sad that “An American Tail” has gone somewhat pushed to the corner of the animated world over the years, since it’s such a touching movie and brilliant exploration of family and bonds. Fievel is one of the most likable and human protagonists of all time. He’s not heroic or overly courageous. He’s just a young mouse looking to make his way in the world and explore the vast open land that lies before him.