Amblimation was a short-lived animation production arm of Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment that was active from 1991 until about 1997, formed with the animation staff from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Spielberg created the animation studio after parting ways with Don Bluth, and a lot of the latter's influence can be seen in Amblimation's character designs. Despite their lavish animation, even when compared to what Disney was putting out at the time, none of the films were critically or commercially successful and the studio closed after only three films and a couple of TV specials.
The company's mascot was Fievel Mousekewitz from the An American Tail series, who appears in its production logo. Given that he's both a mouse, the main character of Spielberg's first entrance into animation and a character that had some personal relevance to Spielberg (being named after his grandfather), it's not hard to see why Fievel was chosen.
The feature animation studio was located in London, England, UK. In 1997, the London studio was shut down and some of the Amblimation staff moved on to DreamWorks Animation. After the London studio was shut down, all references with Amblimation became Amblin Entertainment. Today DreamWorks Animation is somewhat of a spiritual successor to Amblimation (it's more obvious in DreamWorks' early 2D animated films), and has had far more success. They were also closely associated with Universal Cartoon Studios, with which they co-produced A Wish for Wings that Work and Fievel's American Tails and produced a few DTV sequels to Balto, though it mainly had its own thing going on.
Films and series produced by Amblimation, in chronological order:
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West
- Fievel's American Tails (TV Series, produced along with Nelvana)
- We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story
This studio's output contains examples of:
- Art Shift: Balto's animation looks a lot more flat than the heavily shaded character animation of Fievel Goes West and We're Back.
- Black and White Morality: All three of their films had a very obvious "good guy versus bad guy" conflict.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Balto is much more heavy and dramatic than the dense and wacky Fievel Goes West and We're Back.
- Deranged Animation: The animators were very good at zany and over-the-top character animation.
- Reused Character Design: As mentioned above, since a lot of the animators at Amblimation previously worked with Don Bluth, there is some obvious influence in a lot of the designs. For instance, Rex and Woog's feral forms look a lot like Sharptooth and Cera's father, respectively. Also, a lot of the minor dog characters in Balto look like they came straight out of All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Steele's habit of constantly grinning makes him resemble Jenner.
- Scenery Porn: A lot of effort was put into the backgrounds of their films.