Saw this one with both my daughters at an Alamo Drafthouse screening. My almost-4-year old was shattered by the story of a kid separated from his family; it was the first time I saw her cry during a movie since Finding Nemo. Her palpable relief at their reunion in the ending was contagious to her daddy.
This is a surprisingly bleak and detailed look at immigrant life in late-19th century New York City. I found much of it quite good, especially in the first half when the story focused on Fievel. The second half, centered around an uprising against cats (kinda-sorta pro-unionization parable?) isn’t quite as rich or emotional.
The songs are hit-or-miss (“Somewhere Out There” is an all-timer, while the one with the friendly cat is completely disposable). The animation is quite good, especially the use of color. Hues range from gloomy bluish-brownish-gray to an almost amber-tinted warmth.
And the patriotic tone actually feels earned as the movie acknowledges the flaws and darkness of our country; that it could still settle on a message of hope is inspiring.
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.