Over a year ago I praised this film. I recently have been having trouble really enjoying movies, but then I rewatched this as I do every late Winter, and I had the best movie watching experience since at least October when I watched Wreck It Ralph. I have known for years this film has multiple flaws on paper such as no clear climax, potentially too much focus on the main character, and being very miserable at times. I still love this movie partly for these reasons.
I have heard about this film having ending fatigue, due to having a climax with the Mouse of Minsk and Fievel’s family finding him. Partly because this feels really rare for my favorite films I give it a pass due to it feeling different, but I also love a film’s climax. I tend to support making sure the greatest tension is at the end, and that is how this film still works. While the most lives are at stake in the villain defeat, it is really Fievel dealing with a danger made greater by the separation instead of hi family. It also shows makes the later events more sad that they follow such a victorious scene, as that does not solve the main character’s main problem.
One thing that is a matter of opinion is how many main characters are needed. Traditionally Disney has mostly used the main character very little and instead focused on the villain and side characters, a system its fans love, and people like me hate. Illumination does it as well. Pixar puts its focus on two main characters, and Don Bluth puts the main focus on one character (this film, Secret of Nimh, and Bartok the Magnificent are probably the best examples). This means that viewers who dislike Fievel will have a hard time enjoying this. I think he carried the movie brilliantly. He always fun to watch and listen. While I have no nostalgia for this film having not seen it until I was sixteen I certainly found his issue (at the film’s end) of whether his family really cared about him very relatable, and like my own troubles very sad. His main heroic qualities are creativity and determination (common for Bluth’s heroes). He finds plans where everyone else has given up and regularly deals with the side characters failing him.
One part I really enjoy that is rarely mentioned is the wake. It is for a dead mouse named “Mickey.” I consider a funny take that at Disney who was going through a big dark age at the time.