×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tom and Jerry: The Movie

"Tom and Jerry Talk" won't go down in film history as a slogan to rival "Garbo Talks." Though slickly animated, this first full-length pic featuring the vintage cat and mouse characters is misconceived from start to finish, full of gooey sentimentality and relegating Tom and Jerry to supporting characters in a banal melodramatic plot. It's serviceable fare for TV and homevideo, but theatrical potential is limited.

With:
With voices of: Tom - Richard Kind
Jerry - Dana Hill
Robyn Starling - Anndi McAfee
Aunt Pristine Figg - Charlotte Rae
Lickboot - Tony Jay
Captain Kiddie - Rip Taylor
Dr. Applecheek - Henry Gibson
Squawk - Howard Morris

“Tom and Jerry Talk” won’t go down in film history as a slogan to rival “Garbo Talks.” Though slickly animated, this first full-length pic featuring the vintage cat and mouse characters is misconceived from start to finish, full of gooey sentimentality and relegating Tom and Jerry to supporting characters in a banal melodramatic plot. It’s serviceable fare for TV and homevideo, but theatrical potential is limited. The pic opened yesterday in Germany and doesn’t yet have a U.S. distrib (Live Entertainment has domestic theatrical rights).

The essence of the Tom and Jerry characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in 1940 was their endless cycle of conflict, their archetypal battle between malevolence and innocence. The most egregiously bad idea in “Tom and Jerry: The Movie” is to turn them into buddies singing, dancing and doing battle together against the world.

There’s always been a symbiotic relationship between Tom and Jerry that could have served as the basis for an extended plot–their compulsive need for each other’s antagonism–but changing their feud into a plea for fellowship is ridiculous. What’s next, a “Roadrunner Movie” in which the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cuddle and start housekeeping?

The decision to make a full-length movie about Tom and Jerry was fraught with unusual creative perils. Having a cat simply chase a mouse for 80 minutes would get numbingly repetitive. And keeping them mute, as they have been for more than half a century, could mean making a silent movie. Even Chaplin had second thoughts about that issue.

Following an enjoyable, fast-paced 10-minute opening that recalls the best of the old cartoons, the movie does a screeching about-face when Tom and Jerry suddenly burst into words, surprising even each other. Though Tom is given the requisite wiseguy voice by Richard Kind and Jerry is sweetly vocalized by Dana Hill, the feeling persists that the chatter should have been left to the human characters.

But the baddies in Dennis Marks’ homiletic script are gratingly villainous, and their grasping designs on a child heiress friend of Tom and Jerry are cornball Saturday ayem cartoon stuff. Evil Miss Figg (voiced by Charlotte Rae) is a shameless knockoff of the villainous octopus Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” but without the wit and panache Pat Carrollbrought to that character.

Director Phil Roman has kept the animal sections supple and lively, and the art direction by Michael Peraza Jr. and Michael Humphries is attractive, but the human characters tend to look wooden. Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse contributed an energetic but mostly unmemorable score, aside from an amusing ditty about greed.

Tom and Jerry: The Movie

Production: A Turner Pictures Worldwide release (German distrib, Jugendfilm; U.S. distrib rights, Live Entertainment) of a Turner Entertainment Co. presentation in association with WMG of a Film Roman production. Produced by Phil Roman. Co-producer, Bill Schultz. Executive producers, Roger Mayer, Jack Petrik, Hans Brockmann, Justin Ackerman. Directed by Roman. Sequence directors, John Sparey, Monte Young, Bob Nesler, Adam Kuhlman, Eric Daniels, Jay Jackson, Skip Jones. Screenplay, Dennis Marks, based on the cartoon characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Creative consultants, Barbera, David Simone.

Crew: CFI Color; Supervising editor, Sam Horta; editor, Julie Ann Gustafson; music, Henry Mancini; songs, Mancini, Leslie Bricusse; art direction, Michael Peraza Jr., Michael Humphries; sound recording director (Dolby), Gordon Hunt; associate producer, James Wang; casting, Janet Hirshenson, Jane Jenkins, Roger Mussenden. Reviewed at Sunset Towers screening room, Sept. 30, 1992. No MPAA rating. Running time: 80 min.

With: With voices of: Tom - Richard Kind
Jerry - Dana Hill
Robyn Starling - Anndi McAfee
Aunt Pristine Figg - Charlotte Rae
Lickboot - Tony Jay
Captain Kiddie - Rip Taylor
Dr. Applecheek - Henry Gibson
Squawk - Howard Morris

More Film

  • Game of Thrones Cast

    What's Next for 'Game of Thrones'' Cast Members

    Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling

    Cannes: Challenges Still Keep Content From Traveling to and From China

    Challenges still remain when it comes to buying, distributing and producing content that can travel between China and the West, attendees of a panel organized by the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival on the sidelines of Cannes said. Cai Gongming, president of Road Pictures, has hit box office gold in China with Cannes art-house titles such [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Cannes Film Review: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in 'The Lighthouse'

    “The Lighthouse,” the second feature directed by Robert Eggers (“The Witch”), is a gripping and turbulent drama that draws on a number of influences, though it merges them into its own fluky gothic historical ominoso art-thriller thing. Set in the 1890s, and suffused with foghorns and epic gusts of wind, as well as a powerfully [...]

  • Cannes: Diao Yinan Explains His Artistic

    Diao Yinan on Cannes Pic 'Wild Goose Lake': 'I Try to Portray the Opposite of a Utopia'

    In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson: 'The Lighthouse' Rehearsal Was a 'Pressure Cooker'

    Rehearsal for director Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” wasn’t as long as Robert Pattinson remembers. “I’ve never rehearsed like I rehearsed with Robert before,” Pattinson said at the first screening of the period thriller on Sunday morning. “We rehearsed for what, three weeks?” Actually, no — it was only one week! “One, but it felt like [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content