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Western Animation / An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

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An American Tail: Fievel Goes West is the first sequel to An American Tail. It was released through Universal on November 22, 1991.

Picking up some years after the events of the first film, the Mousekewitz family are disillusioned with living in New York, with the final straw being a cat attack on their alley home. After the villain, Cat R. Waul, tricks them and a crowd of other mice into buying train tickets to a small town in the West via using a mouse puppet, the family boards a train to the Wild West. But, echoing the tone of disillusionment in the first film, it turns out the town of Green River is a Dying Town, and Cat R. Waul had more nefarious motives for bringing the mice there. Fievel is the only one who overheard Waul's plans, and no one who will believe him except for a washed-up former hero sheriff, Wylie Burp (voiced by none other than James Stewart in his final film role).

The film marked the debut of Amblimation, the newly-created animation arm of Steven Spielberg's studio Amblin Entertainment. Directing duties were handed to Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells rather than Don Bluth, who had produced the first film with Spielberg, kicking off the trend of sequels to Don Bluth films which he had absolutely no involvement in (the glut of Land Before Time sequels was only three years away). Due to Spielberg's popularity and the franchise being more closely associated with him than Bluth, this is also one of only two sequels to a Bluth film to receive a theatrical release rather than be Direct to Video (the other being All Dogs Go to Heaven 2).

The break-off from Bluth, combined with Spielberg having just produced the slapstick-heavy Who Framed Roger Rabbit, resulted in this film being significantly less bleak and more comedic in tone than the original. The later direct-to-video sequels throw a veil doubt over the canonicity to the original, with the Mousekewitz family living back in New York and Fievel mentioning he "dreamed" that he moved west, but the truth of the matter seems to have been left up to Fanon.

Also of note, this film spawned a very short-lived animated series, Fievel's American Tails.

Fievel Goes West provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Tanya temporarily becomes narcissistic after her successful singing performance in front of the cats, to the point where she disregards her brother's concerns and signs an autograph for him when he tries warning her about the dangers of her new manager Cat R. Waul, who plots to eat the mice in town except for Tanya because he’s entranced by her singing voice.
  • Actor Allusion: Wylie Burp's actor Jimmy Stewart is quite familiar with the Western genre.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • You'd think that Fievel would learn not to go wandering off on a transportation device he's not familiar with after what happened in the first movie. But he does, and once again gets separated from his family. You'd also think his mother would not jump to the conclusion that he's dead right away, after he turned out to be alive the last time he got separated from them. She does (though Papa assures her that Fievel will come back).
    • Given Fievel's role in exposing the truth behind Warren T. Cat's protection racket (to say nothing of the downfall of the Mott Street Maulers), you'd think his family, let alone all the New York Mice who were there, might give his warnings some credence.
  • Age Lift: Tanya is aged up in this film, whereas she was closer to Fievel's age in the first film. Justified given a fair amount of time has passed and she probably hit puberty before Fievel has.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Played for laughs in when Wylie Burp teaches Tiger how to be a dog.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Miss Kitty tells Tiger he's too milquetoast for her when leaving on a train out West.
  • All Just a Dream: Done at the beginning where Fievel shoots a bunch of cats and gets a badge from Wylie Burp. A Dream Within a Dream, if you think about it.
  • And Starring: The opening cast roll ends with "and James Stewart as Wylie Burp".
  • Animation Bump: Say what you will about the sequel, but you have to admit that the animation was of amazing quality, even at the time it was released – it was even better than most of the Disney films out at the time.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Dreams to Dream" definitely is the "Somewhere Out There" of the film—right down to having Linda Ronstadt back to sing it in the end credits.
  • Ax-Crazy: Chula doesn't have the ax, but his personality fits the bill.
    Chula: The inky-dinky spider, caught a mouse in its web. The inky-dinky spider bit off the mouse's head!
  • Babies Ever After: Tony and Bridget's cameos where they're seen with a baby.
  • Badass Longcoat: Fievel, Tiger and Wylie Burp all wear one for the final showdown with Cat R. Waul.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The conductor's Ironic Echo, "Next stop: mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, and – you guessed it – Green River."
  • Balloon Belly: When Tiger is told to suck in his chest, and he instead deflates like a balloon.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Tanya launches into her theme song while doing chores. Her voice is so captivating that Cat R. Waul gets just one earful, and drops Fievel, who he was about to devour whole. Homing in on Tanya's voice, Waul cradles her in his hands, and immediately makes her part of his saloon's stage act, describing Tanya as "a diva." She has a similar effect upon Waul's clientele.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Tiger is very dangerous when his loved ones are threatened.
  • Be Yourself: It's what both Fievel and Tanya learn by the end, and it's shown that they've learned it more through action than words; i.e. Tanya washing her makeup off and Fievel turning his hat right-side-in so it's blue again and not a cowboy hat. Tiger goes back to acting like a cat once he saved the day.
  • Being Good Sucks: Or at least, pretending to be good sucks. While the Cactus Cat Gang recognizes and accepts the logic and benefits of Cat R. Waul's long game, that doesn't mean they're happy at having to suppress their instinctual urges and pretend to be nice to their prey for the scheme's duration.
  • BFG: Relatively, a human revolver operated by cats. More so in the hands of a mouse kid like Fievel.
  • Bookends: The film opens and ends with Fievel obtaining Wylie Burp's badge. At the beginning, Fievel dreams of obtaining the badge after helping the latter out. At the end, Fievel finally obtains the badge for helping Wylie defeat Cat R. Waul.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Native Americans in both Fievel Goes West and The Treasure of Manhattan Island stick to this dress code.
  • Bullying a Dragon: During the cat attack in New York, Fievel challenges a giant cat who cornered his family to a fight while insulting him to his face. All it does is piss off the cat who then intends to eat Fievel in spite of the boss's orders, with Fievel being so scared that he sheds a tear.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: When controlling the mouse puppet, Cat R. Waul gets so into praising himself he gets distracted and forgets to control the puppet for a second.
  • Buffoonish Tomcat: The titular orange cat Tiger is the Fat Comic Relief who isn't all that bright and is the poster boy of this trope.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Fievel is chased into a hole by a hawk, we see only his eyes, and the eyes of an angry scorpion.
  • Cactus Cushion: While lost in the desert, Fievel sees a mirage of his family. As he goes to give them a hug, they turn into cacti and he jumps back in pain.
  • The Cameo:
    • Tony and Bridget can be seen very briefly in a few scenes. The most noticeable examples are during the early cat attack sequence, and when the mice arrive in Green River and move in. They can also be seen in the crowd in the sewer, and in the audience sitting in the giant mousetrap, but in those scenes they are extremely Off-Model and thus can't really be distinguished without using freeze-frame.
    • Honest John is seen in "Way Out West" as one of the politicians.
  • Can't Move While Being Watched: The buffalo skeleton trying to pounce on Tiger. Subverted when he catches it upright, prompting it to dance and collapse, then complete its pounce after he dismisses the past event.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the film's second half, everyone disregards Fievel when he tries warning them about what Cat R. Waul's going to do to them. They assume he's suffering from heatstroke after being stranded out in the desert (on top of having been successfully taken in by Waul's PR campaign). Fortunately, Wylie Burp, being a reasonable former sheriff, believes Fievel and teams up with him.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played straight with the Big Bad and his gang, but Averted with Miss Kitty and Tiger.
  • Contrived Coincidence: None of the Mice are suspicious of how convenient it is that Cat R. Waul unveils himself in Green River offering supplies, and assistance just moments after a water shortage endangers all of them.
  • Cousin Oliver: Yasha Mousekewitz is somewhat elevated to this in Fievel Goes West and the series Fievel's American Tails, despite having been in the first movie (she inexplicably disappears halfway through). In all the other movies, she's mostly not much more than a prop.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: After Fievel reunites with his family halfway through the movie, he tries to warn the mice population about Cat R. Waul's plot. Unfortunately, no one, not even his own family, believes him. He was right. Fortunately, Fievel managed to enlist the help of Tiger and Wylie to stop the plan.
  • A Day in the Limelight: It gives Tanya and Tiger a great deal more Character Development than the first film did, and isn't exclusively focused on Fievel (despite his name being in the title).
  • Demoted to Extra: Tony and Bridget only briefly appear in this movie.
  • Denser and Wackier: An American Tail is widely considered one of the most depressing animated films ever aimed at children. This film, however, is a rollicking, gag-heavy slapstick comedy.
  • Desert Skull: Tiger runs into a buffalo skeleton that seems to come to life when he's not looking. Turns out it's being manipulated by native mice, who then capture Tiger.
  • Didn't Think This Through: While it's not explicitly pointed out in the film, this is the big flaw of Cat R. Waul making Tanya his personal diva. Yes, his patronage and protection ensures Tanya will be spared from the endgame...but, she'll still have a balcony seat for the culling. Did Cat R. Waul really think his diva was just going to be able to overlook the fact that her patron had just turned her entire family into Mouseburgers?
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: Cat R. Waul gets a little too caught up in praising himself, almost forgetting that he's supposed to be talking through his mouse puppet (which goes limp as he searches for adjectives).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: During the final fight slingshots are substituted for guns (with one exception). Partway one cat steps forward and draws a slingshot with 6 straps. Tiger's slingshot promptly turns into a spaghetti noodle.
  • Double Take: After falling into a small burrow to avoid an eagle, we only see Fievel's eyes in the darkness, then another pair of eyes appear. Fievel looks at them and turns away, then quickly looks back as he realises it's a very angry scorpion!
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Cat R. Waul shows up for a brief few seconds in the day dream Fievel has at the beginning of the movie.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: During Tanya's performance, Chula chases Fievel into the human saloon upstairs and scares the patrons. Compared to the random item throwing in the original, a gunslinger responds by drawing his revolver!
  • Establishing Character Moment: Cat R. Waul during the Cactus Cat Gang's opening attack early in the film. His orders and demeanor quickly establish him as being similar to Warren T. Cat in many respects, but also more cultured and pragmatic (and with a definite long game beyond acquiring mere profit).
  • Evil Desires Innocence: Cat R. Waul has devious plans to earn the trust of all the mice, lure them to his town in the Wild West, and then, once the town is firmly established, turn them all into mouseburgers. He is, however, captivated by the singing voice of Tanya Mouskewitz and seeks to keep her safe for himself, to the point where, when she is on the deathtrap, he halts his own scheme to save her.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Downplayed. While not technically pointed out in the film itself, the defeat and exile of the Mott Street Maulers makes it easier for Cat R. Waul and the Cactus Cat Gang to move in on Warren T. Cat's former territory to conduct their long game. If it hadn't been them, it almost certainly would've been another faction of cats.
  • Eye Pop: Weaponized by Wylie Burp, known as the "Lazy Eye". It's used on full auto later in the movie.
  • Failure Montage: When Tiger trains under Wylie Burp in Goes West, bumbling through each exercise until he finally gets things right.
  • False Flag Operation: Cat R. Waul's plan. The main story starts when the cat gang terrorize all the mice in New York, leading to them taking refuge in the sewers where they meet a cowboy mouse (actually Cat R. Waul using a marionette) who convinces them that Green River is a utopia where cats and mice get along. It works and hundreds of mice – including Fievel's family – move out West where the cats maintain the facade to not only get Waul's business up and running but also to put themselves in a perfect position to kill all the mice at once so they can eat them.
  • Facepalm: Cat R. Waul's exasperated reaction to his men getting spooked by Team Fievel's Lazy Eye during the final showdown.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Of the "real guns are OK as long as they aren't used to kill" variety. While there are some revolvers, those only get aimed at inanimate objects or aimed so badly they don't come close to hitting anyone. When the cats (and one dog) have their shootout, it's with slingshots that use bullet and ricochet sound effects. Cat R. Waul has a revolver that's mounted and used like a BFG, as it's too large for the cats to hold.
  • Flat "What":
    Miss Kitty: You put a mouse on that stage and your saloon's gonna be as empty as Death Valley on a cold day in June when the snow don't fall.
    Cat R. Waul: What.
  • Follow Your Nose: A sensual variation as Miss Kitty's perfume lifts Tiger's nose and purrs at him.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Just as Cat R. Waul is picking Tanya up in his paws while she sings "Dreams to Dream", one of the animators snuck in a lewd drawing for a single frame, where she has her mouth open. Hilariously Universal Studios was apparently unaware of this for more than 25 years, until the Blu-Ray release finally erased it.
    • A more innocuous example occurs at the beginning of that scene - when Cat R. Waul first hears Tanya singing, his ear extends with a treble clef appearing for a brief second as he's captivated by her voice.
  • Freudian Slippery Slope: Cat R. Waul's speech at the unveiling ceremony.
    Cats and gentle mice, lend me your ears. It is my distinguished pleasure to invite all of you... to share our dinner... Triumph! To share our triumph! Today we herald in a momentous, new feast... ival. Feastival... Festival. To mark this brilliant and illustrious snack... Occasion!
  • Furry Confusion: The angry dogs who chase Tiger before he goes West are all depicted as regular dogs. Then we get Wylie Burp, a sheriff dog who talks, walks on two legs and wears clothes.
  • Genre Shift: The sequel moves from the period drama of the original film to western-adventure-comedy territory.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Tanya can break glass with her singing voice.
  • God Guise: Tiger is worshiped by a tribe of Native American mice because he bears a striking resemblance to a rock formation.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Cat R. Waul's long game hinges upon playing up Green River as a utopia where Cats and Mice live alongside each other in peace and harmony. By the ending of the film, he and the Cat Cactus Gang are all driven out of town. This leaves Tiger and Miss Kitty as the only cats left in Green River — both of whom are openly friendly with mice (Fievel and Tanya especially). So, in a roundabout way, Cat R. Waul did end up turning Green River into an actual Cat-Mouse utopia.
  • Guns Akimbo: Fievel, of all characters, in his daydream with Wylie.
  • Happy Ending Override: Warren and his gang may not have come back from Hong Kong, but that doesn't mean there aren't other hostile cats to menace our main characters.
  • He Knows Too Much: After Fievel inadvertently discovers Cat R. Waul's plan to trick the mice into believing they are good and eating them alive when their guard is down, instead of eating him, he has his henchman Chula knock him off of the train into the badlands, in hopes that he won't be able to find his way to Green River and likely die. Fortunately for Fievel, he manages to get back to his family again.
  • Hollywood Mirage: Fievel hugs a cactus and Tiger kisses an owl because of the mirages they see while wandering in the desert. Then they mistake each other for mirages when they pass each other by.
  • Hollywood Natives: The Mousican Tribe, a tribe of native mice, complete with face paint, chanting, war cries, and everything. They plan on sacrificing Tiger until the Chief sees him hanging by his paws above the camp fire exactly matches a butte shaped the same, whereupon they believe Tiger is their god and then pamper him with a spread of fruits and vegetables.
  • Homage: During Tiger's training regime, the soundtrack plays homage to Copland's Hoedown.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Fievel imagines to have these. As in, he doesn't even have to aim.
  • Injun Country: Played somewhat offensively straight.
  • Instant Roast: Native American mice shoot fire crackers at a hawk, blowing it out of the sky, and a few minutes later some mice are shown carrying a fully-cooked and beheaded roasted hawk.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "The itsy-bitsy spiiiiiiiiiider caught a mouse in his web...the itsy-bitsy spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiider BIT OFF THE MOUSE'S HEAD!"
  • I Want My Mommy!:
    • Tiger gives a comedic example, casually invoking the trope when he's trapped on a flagpole.
    • Dramatic example for Fievel; he cries for his parents when he's picked up by a hawk.
  • Just the Way You Are:
    • This is the moral of Tanya Mousekewitz's subplot. She gets a makeover so she can sing at Waul's saloon, but after discovering Waul is actually evil and tried to kill every mouse in Green River, she remembers what her friend Miss Kitty told her, that the real woman is what's underneath the mask, and she washes her make-up off.
    • Also, in a related play on this trope, Fievel realizes he can be a hero just the way he is.
  • Large Ham:
    • Cat R. Waul. It helps to be voiced by someone like John Cleese.
    • There's also Jon Lovitz as the psychotic spider Chula. He's actually the hammiest character of all since he has an high pitched No Indoor Voice and he's almost always hyperactive.
  • Leitmotif: A returning James Horner carries over musical themes from the first movie while composing new ones for this film's new characters. Leitmotif recipients include Wylie Burp, Cat R. Waul (and by extension his Gang), and Chula.
  • "Leaving the Nest" Song: The song "Way Out West" is sung as the mice leave overcrowded, crime-ridden, and cat-filled New York City to settle the western US. Fueled by Cat R. Waul's pie-in-the-sky propaganda, it's overblown and optimistic to ridiculous degrees...but it's not all that different from actual "Go West" propaganda of the era. Upon arrival, the mice immediately realize that the Old West isn't what was promised to them, but they remain hopeful and make a go of life there anyway.
  • Literal Metaphor: Part of Waul's scheme is to "build a better mousetrap".
  • Locked Out of the Loop: While Miss Kitty is working for Cat R. Waul (as part of his saloon's entertainment), she doesn't know about his plans for Green River's new Mouse citizens. This ironically ends up contributing to the Catcus Gang's defeat in the climax; once Miss Kitty realizes what her employer's really up to, she warns Tanya and the mice scatter in time.
  • Mad Scientist: Cat R. Waul has one working for him.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Whenever Cat R. Waul's human owner finds him she shrieks "Pussy poo!" and shoves his face between her very large breasts, much to Waul's intense dismay.
  • Miss Kitty: She even has the same name. Kitty leaves New York for an exciting future in the west, and ends up being one of the head matrons to what is essentially a brothel.
  • Mouse World:
    • A regular mousetrap modified with a flyswatter head is planned to be used kill an entire grandstand of people at once.
    • An abandoned Colt .45 revolver is treated as a field gun; mounted on a carriage with a pintel-mount for easy aiming. So easy a child could use it, in fact, as Feivel uses it to launch the cats out of town by triggering their mousetrap.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: While it doesn't actually change him, when Cat R. Waul hears Tanya singing "Dreams to Dream" for the first time, he looks sincerely moved.
  • Nightmare Face: Tiger's version of the "Lazy Eye" in Fievel Goes West has him with eyes alternately popping and going back in, his tongue flailing, and him gibbering like a maniac.
  • Now That's Using Your Teeth!: Tiger catches a thrown knife this way during his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of the villain cats, a la when he was learning to "fetch". Lampshaded by Wylie: "Hmm, I never taught him that one!"
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: An American Tail: [Insert title here]
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Cat R. Waul, voiced by the extremely English John Cleese, tries faking a Texas accent when operating his mouse marionette. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Owls Ask "Who?": While lost in the desert, Tiger sees what he thinks is his girlfriend Kitty, and as he calls for her, she only asks "Who?" It's only when he comes to give her a kiss does he realize that it was actually an owl sitting on a cactus.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: Cat R. Waul jumps straight through the ceiling after Fievel stabs him in the behind with a fork. It's also how Tiger catches the train — briefly — while being chased by a dog.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Fievel tries telling his parents Cat R. Waul's going to turn the mice of Green River into mouseburgers, but they keep him from explaining the situation.
  • Pathetic Drooping Weapon: When Tiger, Wylie Burp and Fievel return to Green River to rescue the mice population from being killed on a disguised mousetrap, they, of course, encounter resistance. After Tiger proves his prowess with a slingshot, he faces off with one of Cat R. Waul's Cactus Cat gang members, who produces a slingshot with six elastic bands. Somehow, Tiger's slingshot turns cartoonishly rubber and goes limp at the very sight of it, with Tiger himself giving a scared-out-of-his-wits sheepish grin.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Tiger. Tony Toponi takes over the job in the other sequels.
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: Cat R. Waul kisses Yasha to convince the mice that he's harmless. This is made more effective since Waul is a cat, and Yasha is a mouse who he easily could have eaten.
  • Popcorn on the Cob: During the scene in which the Native Americans are worshiping Tiger and feeding him, an ear of corn is raised over the fire, then turned into a bunch of popcorn which Tiger promptly catches in his mouth.
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: Tiger does his best to be tough and brave during the cat attack on New York, but as soon as Chula shows up, he goes, "It's a spy... A spee... A spid-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d... An arachnid!"
  • Produce Pelting: Exploited. The neighbors throw tomatoes at Tanya for singing too loudly. Mama immediately scrapes them off the wall for supper, and Papa encourages her to sing more in the hopes that they'll switch to fruit for dessert.
  • Projectile Webbing: While Waul is welcoming some mice to the town of Green River, Chula is told to issue water. Being a recalcitrant fellow, Chula hocks a loogie at a newlywed couple, which forms an instant web, trapping them inside an old boot. Waul flicks away the webbing and continues his Affably Evil schmooze.
  • Pun-Based Creature: When Tiger is flung from a train and lands in a lake, he encounters what he identifies as a "dogfish", which has a dog's face and starts barking at him. Later, he's caught by a fisherman along with some catfish, which, while looking like real catfish, can be heard meowing.
  • Put on a Bus: Cat R. Waul is defeated by being put on a train, much like how Warren was shipped off to Hong Kong. Almost all the villains in the An American Tail series are always defeated non-lethally. The exception being the spy and the corrupt police chief in the third movie, who are implied to have drowned.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When Tiger sees Chula about to kill Miss Kitty, he gets enraged to the point of sending the cats on the mousetrap.
  • Recycled In Space: Or in this case, "Recycled OUT WEST!"
  • Refuge in the West: The Mousekewitz family are offered an opportunity to travel to The Wild West, namely Green River, which is a largely untamed wilderness, a wide-open sandbox of opportunities. The Mousekewitzes and many other mice leap at this chance.
  • Retired Gunfighter: Wylie Burp. It doesn't take much convincing for him to help, as he made one small speech about how he was over the hill and then changes his mind. Fievel's pouty face works in mysterious ways.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: The opening ceremony for Cat R. Waul's saloon is a trap: cutting the ribbon would have triggered a giant mousetrap right onto the stands where the mice were sitting.
  • Right Out of My Clothes: Cat R. Waul does a Pain-Powered Leap out of his suit.
  • Rule of Funny: Tiger repeatedly bumping into angry dogs even in some improbable places. Tiger dancing to "Putting on the Ritz" with a skeleton for a few seconds, Tiger turning into a poodle at the mention of a dog, Tiger deflating like a balloon and falling off a cliff to a long farting sound... Fievel Goes West had way more moments like these than the first movie. Most if not all has to do with Tiger.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Cat R. Waul asks the mice to help him develop Green River as part of his Evil Plan, his head is framed by the desert sun, resembling a halo and enforcing his efforts to cast himself as the mice's savior in the face of a water shortage (which, naturally, he himself caused).
  • Scary Scorpions: Fievel is really freaked out when he finds out he has entered a scorpion's den.
  • Sea of Sand: When Tiger falls off the train, he takes one look at the vast Southwest desert and bemoans his situation: "Lost and alone, in a million-acre catbox." The scene is mostly a sand plain, with towering rocks in the distance. It will later contain a spiny cactus, plus a Desert Skull part of a whole skeleton. Notably, in real life, the deserts of North America consist almost entirely of rock formations, rocky badlands and cactus-and-scrub brush — some sand seas exist, but they're small and isolated.
  • Self-Deprecation: The filmmakers seemed to have noticed just how sick everyone had gotten of "Somewhere Out There," as evidenced by the scene of Tanya getting fruit thrown at her by the neighbors as she sings it at the window.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: It follows this (though technically still in the same country, there's a world of difference between New York and Green River).
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: This is how Cat R. Waul talks.
    Cat R. Waul: Chula, I want the subversive who tried to assassinate me found.
    Chula: I just looove finding subversives! ...Hey boss, what's a subversive?
    Cat R. Waul: ...Someone who doesn't have very long to live.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: When Tiger is reunited with Miss Kitty at the end of the film, he kisses her and both tumble to the ground, out of sight of the screen. This is followed by Miss Kitty saying, "Oooo, Tiger!" As Wylie looks on, he smirks and says, "I never taught him that one."
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Tanya after her makeover.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Inverted. Tiger faces off with a masked gunslinger cat whose slingshot turns out to be bigger than his. Tiger's slingshot goes limp in response.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Gunsmoke, with "Miss Kitty".
    • When Miss Kitty leaves Tiger to go west, she tells him "We'll always have the Bronx" and "Here's lookin' at you, kid.
    • The "Rawhide" theme is being sung by The Blues Brothers.
    • Also, many of the storefronts and signs in (the human-sized) Green River have the names of crew members on them, including both of the film's directors and several of the artists responsible for the background layouts. In addition, right before Fievel dispatches the villains, you can see a nameplate on the rear of the giant mousetrap (facing upside-down) which reads "Made in Acton, London" — which was the location of the animation studio where the film was produced.
    • Cat R. Waul screams "Revenge!" as he is driven out of town on the train, similar to his character in the Dirty Fork sketch in Monty Python's Flying Circus.
    • Another one involves a mouse mentioning various destinations (one while boarding, the other before narrowly escaping being eaten by Cat R. Waul) while closing each phrase with "...and Green River", likely an homage to Mel Blanc's famous Jack Benny Show Catchphrase of a train leaving for "...Anaheim, Azuza, and Cuc-amonga".
    • The Tiger-shaped rock in the desert pulls a Cheshire Cat.
    • The scene where Tanya imagines her worn out dress into a beautiful gown in the mirror parodies Cinderella.
    • When Tiger is getting chased by all the dogs early on, he exclaims "Dogs! I hate those guys!"
  • Showdown at High Noon: Well, at sunset, but same idea.
  • Spanner in the Works: Fievel overhearing Cat R. Waul's plan starts the derailing of his long game. Fievel also surviving being stranded out in the desert and making his to Green River wasn't anticipated either.
  • Stealth Pun: The one Cactus Cat's slingshot that makes Tiger's slingshot go limp has six elastic bands. In other words, a Six-Shooter.note 
  • Stock Footage: Some celebrating mice at the end are actually reused mice from "There Are No Cats in America" from the first movie.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: After his goons get spooked by Team Fievel's Lazy Eye and scram, an exasperated Cat R. Waul calls them "Morons".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tiger, during the finale. He shows a surprising amount of competence during the first part of the finale, and goes into a complete Unstoppable Rage when he sees Miss Kitty in danger and proceeds to beat up every other cat in town.
  • Toon Physics:
    • What Fievel's hat apparently runs on in this film, what with turning into a cowboy hat when pulled inside-out.
    • Tiger himself runs on Toon physics more than any other character in the movie, even morphing into a dog at one point.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer didn't spoil itself so much, but the fact that it was included at the beginning of every VHS release of the first movie after 1991 meant that it revealed the ending of An American Tail before the movie even started.
  • Train Escape: Tiger escapes a pack of dogs by hopping on the back of a train. That whole scene is very Looney Tunes in spirit.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Almost happens, though Tiger is too late to say goodbye to Fievel and his family when they board the train from New York (thanks to being pursued by dogs) he does try to chase after it.
  • Training Montage: Tiger, the Cowardly Lion of the series, has a montage while training to be a dog so he can help Wylie Burp and Fievel take on Cat R. Waul. The montage includes Tiger doing push-ups, walking through tires, beating up a Cat R. Waul dummy, and fetching a bone.
  • Translation Convention: Averted with the Mousican chief. When he speaks to Tiger he's heard using his native tongue but there are not even subtitles. Makes you wonder what's he just saying...
  • Underside Ride: There's a train car for mice beneath the real train cars.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Tanya's human neighbors throw fruit at her as she's trying to sing "Somewhere Out There". They're clearly more concerned about her keeping them up at night than the fact that there's a singing mouse living across the street.
  • Uvula Escape Route: After being dropped by a hawk, Fievel is almost swallowed by Tiger after falling into a bowl of water, but manages to grab his uvula before being swallowed.
  • Vague Age: Figuring out how old Fievel and Tanya are can be very confusing. Tanya, for example, suddenly looks much older than Fievel, while in the first movie, she looked around the same age as Fievel. And if we are to believe it's been a few years since the first movie, why is Yasha still a baby?
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cat R. Waul is very much calm and cool when the heroes arrive to take him down – he just calmly sics his men on them. But when the heroes expose his mousetrap for all to see, he loses it.
    Cat R. Waul: (aiming not a slingshot but a real gun at the fleeing mice) FREEZE, YOU MISERABLE VERMIN!!! (shoots madly at the mice)
  • Vocal Dissonance: As Fievel rides through the desert in a sage bush some wild animals sing the "Rawhide" theme version of The Blues Brothers. A baby bird in particular sing the Ride'em in Rawhide part with Dan Aykroyd's voice.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Fievel's voice was changing as his voice actor Phillip Glasser got older.
    • How about Jon Lovitz as Chula? Throughout the film, he seems to keep changing the type of voice he's trying to use.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: Fievel chimes in "Let's go on that ride again!" after he and his family have a terrifying trip down a sewer waterfall in a discarded tuna can.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Jon Lovitz as a nasty, web-spitting (huh?) tarantula.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Tiger gets shocked out of his mind when he sees Chula, a spider. He also hates dogs. That all changes when Wylie trains to be like a dog. Tiger also snaps out of his arachnophobia when Chula threatens Miss Kitty.
  • Wicked Cultured: Cat R. Waul wears a top hat with a cane (though in the proper time period), speaks with a British accent, and adores high-class songs, making Tanya his own personal diva.
  • The Wicked Stage: Mentioned.
    Tanya Mousekewitz: Look, Mama, a singer... and an actor.
    Mama Mousekewitz: Tanya, stop that! You shouldn't stare at people less fortunate than yourself.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Downplayed, but Cat R. Waul's Pragmatic Villainy in having Chula toss Fievel from the train. If Fievel doesn't survive the fall, it looks like a tragic accident with none the wiser (especially his family; to them, it would just seem Fievel didn't learn anything from the first film and went off for some foolish nighttime exploring again). If he does survive the fall, Fievel's still stranded out in the middle of the desert with no water, food, or transportation (to say nothing of being one little kid mouse against the local predators).
    • Of course, Cat R. Waul never anticipated the possibility Fievel might just actually survive against all odds and still make his way to Green River (not that it does him much good, since the Mice have all been taken in by Waul's PR campaign in the interim).
  • Young Gun: Fievel daydreams about being a Young Gun at the beginning, complete with his hero Wylie Burp telling him to 'get out while he still can', and Fievel blatantly disobeying him and shooting out a gang of villainous cats.
  • Your Mom:
    Tiger: Haha! I made it! Ha ha! What a stupid dog! Nyah-na-na-nyah-nyah! Your mother was never housebroken! Ha ha ha! Toodleoo!


Video Example(s):


Tiger with Wylie Burp

Wylie Burp tries teaching Tiger on how to be a dog in order to defeat Cat R. Waul and his gang, this showcases Tiger's buffoonery being the comic-relief and provides the page image.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / BuffoonishTomcat

Media sources: