An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island is the third installation in the American Tail series, after both An American Tail and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and before An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster. It is a 1998 American direct-to-video animated film produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, animated in Japan by TMS Entertainment and released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. It is also the second of the three sequels of the series. The film first premiered in the United Kingdom near Thanksgiving 1998. The film was often advertised on related titled VHS in United States the same year, but the release for United States was consequently put in hiatus until earlier in the next century due to complications it suffered during the making.
Of note is that the film takes place in New York, which either retcons the events in which the Mousekewitz family leaves New York, or just means that it takes place before then. This is addressed directly near the beginning of the film, when Fievel says he had a dream where he moved west, as well as the mice singing about staying in Manhattan.
This film also marks the final time Erica Yohn provides the voice of Mama Mousekewitz before her passing on January 27, 2019.
In the morning, Fievel Mousekewitz and Tanya Mousekewitz try to wake up Papa Mousekewitz. Papa has trouble getting up because he's getting old, and he grumpily snaps at Tanya making her upset, but they soon get along and Papa apologizes, thanks to Mama Mousekewitz. Papa is working with Tony in Cheese factory, owned by three wealthy and evil mice.
Tony takes Fievel into an abandoned subway to look around, and when Tiger accidentally activate one of the trains a secret chamber opens up and in it Fievel and Tony discover a map. Tony decides to take it to Dr. Dithering, a scientist in archaeology he used to work for. However this makes Tony late for work. When Tony arrives late at work, the three factory owners decide to punish him by not giving him his payment, but Papa convinces them not to fire Tony. After studying the map, Dr. Dithering decides to take Fievel, Tony and Tanya to underground to find what he believes will be a lost treasure. Dr. Dithering has an assistant name Scuttlebutt, who is in fact spying on professor for three factory owners. Also on the side of the villains is also Chief McBrusque, chief of New York's police department. McBrusque is getting bribed for keeping mice in factory silent.
The following morning at the factory, mice are striking, but they are stopped when McBrusque and his police officers beat up one small glasses-wearing mouse, who was the loudest. Papa is angry, but can't afford to have problems with the police.
Meanwhile in an underground tunnel, Fievel, Tiger, Dr. Dithering and others discover that under New York live Indian mice, remnants of the Lenape tribe. Fievel meets up with Cholena, cute daughter of Indian chief.
Fievel tells her that they think Indians pose treasure, but she tells him that their only treasure is their land.
Cholena decides to go on surface, to see if the Europeans have changed their ways and will let the Lenape live in peace. Meanwhile, Scuttlebutt reports to evil factory owners about the Indian village. The owners decide to give a speech to their workers stating that the Lenape are a threat, and that causes mice to get in angry mob. They go to museum, and kidnaps Dr. Dithering, and bring him to Sweat shop, where factory owners and police prosecute him. Papa manage to escape to McBrusque and his men. McBrusque goes after Cholena, but is stopped by Fievel and Tony.
Meanwhile in Sweatshop, Dr. Dithering is put on trial for cooperating with Indians, and police are determined to kill him with machine for crushing meat. Papa goes with Tiger, who rescues Dr. Dithering and fights off the police. Papa then explains the mice who actually are their enemy, not the Indians, but the factory owners. The mob goes after the owners, but police block the exit.
The owners send McBrusque and his men to kill everybody in the Indian village, and get the treasure. Fievel and the gang manage to get there before police, and to make a strategy. When police arrive, Indians and Fievel's gang fight them off. All the policemen run away. The Indian chief tells Fievel that he and his friends have to destroy entrance into the village, from the surface, and gives them the exploding device called the gunpowder bomb.
Fievel, Tony and Tanya go, but they are ambushed by McBrusque and Scuttlebutt who grab Fievel and Tony. After Tanya helps Tony and Fievel to fight and overpower McBrusque and Scuttlebutt, Fievel manages to set of the bomb and to destroy the entrance from the surface. This floods the tunnel, together with McBrusque and Scuttlebutt as they fall into the chasm to their deaths. Tony and Tanya manage to reach higher ground, but Fievel is carried off by the current. When the water recedes, Tanya and Tony desperately search through the mud to find him, before giving up. But just then, Fievel breaks through the surface, and they all three share a muddy group hug, thankful that everyone survived.
On the surface, the mice have elected Papa as their first Worker union president. The evil owners are complaining how there are many ways to skin the cat, but are interrupted by Tiger, who is now new Chief of New York police.
Dr. Dithering gives Fievel a telescope, and Fievel sees that Cholena and her people are on surface, waving goodbye to him before disappearing into a secret entrance on a statue, have yet to be seen again.
The soundtrack was never released in any official format. Much of the background music is recycled from James Horner's scores for the first two An American Tail films, or are instrumentals of one of the three original songs from the film. Those songs are:
A version of Anywhere in your Dreams without any background noises or vocalizations was made available as a sing-along extra on the DVD. This was the first An American Tail film where the villain(s) was given a musical number.
The film was poorly received by audiences and currently has a 29% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. A common criticism of the film relates to its direct-to-video animation quality. The film has proven to be divisive within the fandom. Many fans appreciate that most of the voice cast from the first film returned and that it was closer in tone to the original, and some praise it for including more mature themes than many DTV films of the time. However, Fievel Goes West was the better-received film with most audiences, and this movie's attempt to retcon that film into a dream angered some fans. Also, some fans take issue with Tony Toponi's unrequited crush on Cholena in favor of his pairing with Bridget from the original film, as well as taking issue with Tanya's characterization. Some of the new characters, such as Cholena, were considered among the highlights of the film, and Elaine Bilstad was praised for her voice performance. The villains of the film received mixed reviews. They were considered racist and too mature for a kid's film, however, the voice actors were praised for their performances (most especially Tony Jay and Ron Perlman).
- This is the first and only movie that shows some mice as villains. The previous movies had depicted cats as the villains, and the main villain of the fourth film was a dog.
- Scuttlebutt and Chief McBrusque are the only villains to be killed off from the franchise.
- This film is thematically similar to Pocahontas. Both films involve a European developing a friendship with a Native American and attempting to prevent violence between the Natives and the Europeans.
- This is the first and only film in the franchise Fievel has a love interest.
- This is the first and only film Tony mentions his family and that he's from Sicily, along with speaking Italian and shedding a tear.
- This is the only American Tail film not to air on Freeform, assuming due to racial controversy and the involved thematic material, which is highly eligible enough to earn a TV-PG rating, although the movie did air on Universal Kids, Cartoon Network, Starz Encore, Starz Kids and Family, and Toon Disney (now Disney XD)
- None of the characters mention about the concept that happened during this movie in the finale, assuming due to the creators decided to depart the third film's concepts from the fourth movie to avoid further controversy within the franchise by giving the fourth movie much safer plotline.
- However, there are possible references that can be found in the next movie.
- The opening title of the movie is different at the beginning of the VHS and the DVD. At the beginning of the VHS, the opening title is An American Tail III: The Treasure of Manhattan Island, where on the DVD, the opening title is simply An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island.
- Notably possible censorship were made on the home media covers, to make it less offensive to the buyers. For instance, Cholena's fur is given a rather cream color to oppose the original reddish color which reflects the skin color of an actual Native American maiden. Every villain in this movie, along with Tankho and Dr. Dithering, are not shown on the cover. Chief Wulisso and some of the Lenape Mice appeared on the back of the VHS cover, but are dropped from the cover of the DVD releases.
Toon Disney (2001-2005)
Cartoon Network (2002)
Starz Kids and Family
Universal Kids (2017)
Unlike the previous films and the next film, this film's subplot has been viewed as a serious matter, and it's not because of being poorly written. According to Common Sense Media, they felt like it was more "out of place for the franchise", as one protester was beaten senselessly by Chief McBrusque and his police members, and the slang term for Indians was used by the antagonist. The group was also concerned about the Lenape Mice were depicted as stereotypes of actual Native Americans. Common Sense Media suggested that kids would have been better off to "stick with An American Tail."
|An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island|
|Characters||Papa Mousekewitz • Mama Mousekewitz • Tanya Mousekewitz • Fievel Mousekewitz • Yasha Mousekewitz • Tiger • Tony Toponi • Cholena • Chief Wulisso • Lenape Mice • Mr. Toplofty • Mr. Grasping • Mr. O'Bloat • Chief McBrusque • Scuttlebutt • Dr. Dithering|
|Locations||New York • Les Club Des Grands Fromages • Cheese Factory|
|Songs||We Live in Manhattan • Anywhere in Your Dreams • Friends of the Working Mouse|