The popular cartoon cat and mouse are thrown into a feature film. The story has the twosome trying to help an orphan girl who is being berated and exploited by a greedy guardian.Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
For critical reasons, this movie is rarely broadcast on any network television in the United States and is only available for watching on any digital retailer (such as Vudu, Google Play, and YouTube) and streaming on HBO Max. However, it is available on Netflix in Australia. See more »
When Robyn is being pulled up on the rope by Tom and Jerry, there is excess rope hanging down, under her. In the next shot, there isn't. See more »
[looking for Jerry after the cabin burnt down]
Oh, Jerry, Jerry where are ya? Don't leave me little buddy, you just gotta be here.
[Jerry reveals to the viewers that he is standing behind him on a piece of the cabin]
What would I do without ya? You were the best pal a guy could ever have! Oh, please be alive! I promise ya... uh... uh...
All the cheese I can eat?
Yeah, all the cheese you can eat.
And no more traps?
No more traps.
And no tricks?
That's a promise?
[...] See more »
Charlotte Rae, who plays Aunt Figg, has bottom billing below every other actor. See more »
PAL printings retain the opening credits sequence from NTSC maters. See more »
Tom and Jerry's first feature outing is largely underwhelming; a footnote in an otherwise dynamic career.
How do you adapt two animated characters from 7-8 minute shorts into an 84 minute movie? There is never an easy solution. Typically it's easier to construct a narrative to entertain and occupy an audience's attention for a few minutes, but when the running time is much longer so must the narrative be. The importance when adapting short film characters for feature films is to keep the original spirit of the characterizations intact, while not forcing the characters far out of their element and having them deviate widely from the original source material. In other words Tom and Jerry: The Movie should not have been the talky, musical buddy-comedy it became. I can understand how the novelty of watching a cat and mouse fight for 84 minutes would eventually wear off; even watching several hours' worth of Tom and Jerry cartoons can eventually become routine, even if they are highly entertaining. This Film Roman production however made too many missteps in an attempt to be different, and instead became an underwhelming experience.
Tom and Jerry: The Movie marked the cat and mouse's first and only theatrically released film; made at a time when American traditional animation was rebounding from stagnation, experiencing a classical revival that lasted for most of the 1990s. Originally created for MGM theatrical shorts in the 1940s by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera, they have since gone through multiple iterations with other animation directors and studios, and spawned several spin-off shows and direct-to-DVD movies. Tom and Jerry typically shared a love/hate relationship; Tom would try to destroy Jerry, while Jerry would try and outwit (while painfully humiliating) Tom, though there were some situations where they would help each other if both could benefit from teamwork. What could have been a big hit in 1993 was instead soon forgotten. The movie opened at #14 at the U.S box office, was commercially unsuccessful and mostly a critical failure. Although the movie has some highlights with its 2D art and music score by Henry Mancini, they are largely overshadowed by poor choices in the script and direction, along with many unnecessary and unmemorable songs.
Tom and Jerry begin their movie in a suburban home not unlike the ones where they would wreck havoc in the original shorts. This time however, their antics cause their owners to accidentally forget them during their move to a new home. A wrecking ball demolishes the house and Tom and Jerry find themselves wandering the streets. Soon they encounter a dog and flea who are pals, and this is where the film introduces its first big mistake: giving Tom and Jerry voices.
Tom and Jerry were originally pantomimes. Up until this movie they had faithfully remained so, even when placed in situations where other characters were communicating with dialogue. Although some of the MGM shorts had Tom talking (though sparingly) in an exaggerated voice, the majority of the acting was done non-verbally, except with the occasional screams of pain emanating from Tom. Screenwriter Dennis Marks had previously worked on the series Tom and Jerry Kids (1990) which primarily led him to work on this movie, and it's unclear whether he or director Phil Roman decided to have Tom and Jerry talk. It's not that Richard Kind and Dana Hill's voice performances are bad, they just don't suit the characters, and giving the title characters voices significantly reduces their non-verbal dramatics. The musical numbers (for which virtually every character has one) further stretches the story which is too thin to last 84 minutes.
The biggest problem however comes later, when the movie introduces Tom and Jerry to a girl named Robyn Starling, and a plot that seems heavily inspired by Disney's The Rescuers. By this point Tom and Jerry are now friends thanks to earlier musical numbers, as they are mostly reduced to supporting roles for what unfolds as Robyn's movie. Robyn has run away from her nasty guardian Aunt Figg, who is keeping her as insurance, hoping that her adventuring father doesn't return from an accident in Tibet, so she and her lawyer Lickboot can keep squandering the Starling fortune. Tom and Jerry encounter Aunt Figg's dog, Ferdinand, whose excessive weight forces him to wheel about on a skateboard. This leads to mayhem in the kitchen, and one of the few times Tom and Jerry act like their natural selves. Their destruction leads to their incarceration with a veterinarian who is more of a prison warden than physician, and to a somewhat wasted cameo by another MGM character, that only older, astute animation enthusiasts would have recognized in the movie's initial run, and many kids today probably wouldn't identify him either. Robyn discovers her Aunt's deception and runs away again, and later winds up with a nautically-centric amusement park owner, Captain Kiddie, and his parrot puppet Squawk.
With all these supporting characters it's upsetting that none of them are more than mildly interesting, even with the capable voice performers behind them. Their development and motivations are quite shallow, especially the adult humans who are eventually driven by greed once a reward is offered for Robyn Starling's return. Even the quirky but friendly Captain Kiddie with his song about world travel, devolves into a greedy opportunist along with the rest. Once the main plot resolves itself, Tom and Jerry return to their traditional antics, and you wonder why they couldn't have been more like themselves in a shorter running time (as they later would be in direct-to-DVD movies). Instead they were made into supporting characters in their self titled movie, to support a musical buddy comedy, with a plot too reminiscent of a better developed plot from an older Disney title.
Tom and Jerry: The Movie has not affected the cat and mouse duo in the long run however, as their continued success on DVD and television has left the 1992 movie as more of a footnote in an otherwise dynamic career, which will likely continue for many years to come.
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