Not only is An American Tail easily one of the best animated features ever made, but it proves to be leaps beyond the efforts of recent Disney movies by refusing to be constricted to an all-too-familiar formula. This movie does not stay within the cozy, comfortable guidelines that Disney adheres to in order to make money. Instead, it tells a truly unique tale, one not borrowed from any other source, and one overflowing with artistic wonder and originality.
The characters you will see here are not stock, not pulled from the typical Disney hat. The story is not a chuckle-a-minute, lowbrow attempt to take the easy way out in pandering to children. The main character, Fievel, suffers real hardships and tragedy, and stares into the despair of his own soul before the movie is finished. This, of course, makes the ending that much more satisfying, an infinitely more significant and authentic moment than any cardboard cut-out Disney plot.
If you want to see what animation was meant to be as an art form, if you want to feel the power and emotion that can truly be reaped from this under-appreciated and over-commercialized medium, look no further than An American Tail.