Tom and Jerry: The Movie
Tom and Jerry: The Movie is a 1992 American animated musical buddy comedy film produced and directed by Phil Roman and released in Germany by Turner Pictures and in United States by Miramax Films and LIVE Entertainment. It is a feature-length film starring the characters from the Tom and Jerry series and their first and (so far) only one to receive a wide theatrical release.
The popular cartoon cat and mouse are thrown into a feature film. The story has the twosome trying to help an orphan girl named Robyn find her father, who is being berated and exploited by a greedy guardian named Aunt Figg and a lawyer named Mr. Lickboot, who are looking for her to get the $1 million bounty on her.
Why It Sucks
- It's main criticism is the fact that that the titular characters, Tom and Jerry actually talk, despite being famous for not having any dialogue in the classic shorts. To say fans were angered by this is the understatement of the century. It should be noted that while Tom and Jerry did have speaking lines in the shorts, they were usually few and far between and mostly used as a gag (especially in Jerry's case, as he rarely has any speaking lines). But to be fair, some fans did root for Tom and Jerry to have full dialog for the first time in Tom and Jerry history.
- Worse still, both Richard Kind and Dana Hill were seriously miscast as Tom and Jerry respectively, since both their voices do not fit the cat and mouse duo, unlike the original shorts.
- Somewhat misleading title. While Tom and Jerry are the main characters and do get a fair amount of screen time, the film mainly focuses on Robyn Starling, an orphan girl who is looking for her father while trying to escape from her guardian (Aunt Figg) and lawyer (Mr. Lickboot), who are looking for her because she is worth a lot of money. It seems like Tom and Jerry are portrayed more as supporters than titular characters.
- Despite what the movie poster shows, Tom and Jerry don't really chase each other that much, as after the first musical number, they become "friends". Mostly during the opening and ending do we actually see them chasing each other.
- There's a dog named Pugsy and a little flea named Frankie, who (apart from helping Tom and Jerry talk, setting up the first musical number, and helping them become friends) are both pointless as they don't do much other than being filler.
- Also after that scene, there's a gang of alley cats that yell at Tom for being friends with Jerry, who is a mouse. They think that cat and mouse should be enemies. Other than being there for another musical number (which keep in mind, that scene with Pugsy and Frankie earlier already had a musical number), they too don't serve any real purpose other than being filler. After Jerry saves Tom by opening a sewer pip that causes the ally cat gang to fall in, they are never seen or heard from again.
- Numerous bad musical numbers, which are heavily derivative of those from Disney movies, (There are a total of 6 musical numbers), most of which come out of nowhere with no real purpose and just drag on and on (though Robyn's song is pretty well done).
- The villains have some pretty strange names. For example, Aunt Figg, Mr. Lickboot and Doctor Applecheeks.
- Laughable dialogue from most of the characters (Most notably Mr. Lickboot's line: "We've got to have... money!", which is definitely what was going through the film maker's heads when they green-lit this movie).
- Extremely flat characterization, as EVERYONE tries to kidnap Robyn to get money. There's even a scene were a captain with a parrot sailor puppet saves Robyn from a boat accident, cares for her and even helps her find her father, only for for him to trap her in a freaking Ferris Wheel because he saw the reward Aunt Figg offered for Robyn's return (Lickboot himself pointed out that people will do anything for money). Poor Robyn. She just wants to find her father for crying out loud.
- Despite this being a Tom and Jerry movie, none of the other characters from the original Tom and Jerry show (like Spike, Butch, Nibbles, etc.) appear in this film at all. While Droopy does appear in the film (you can clearly see him on the VHS and DVD box art), he only has one line of dialogue, is only shown once in Dr. Applecheek's lab, and is never seen or heard from again, possibly due to budget cuts or something.
- It has a very poor grasp on the original source material. With Tom and Jerry being friends instead of chasing each other, Robyn getting somewhat more screen time than Tom and Jerry and no characters from the original series (except for Droopy) appearing, nothing in this movie really feels like Tom and Jerry. It feels more like a generic animated movie about a cat and a mouse trying to help Robyn find her father. Heck. You could replace Tom and Jerry with characters like Sylvester and Tweety and Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner and nothing would change.
- Minor plothole: When Tom walks out the front door to his old house only to find his owners have left without him, he takes off after them but is chased back home by a bulldog moments later. Yet he can't back in the front door because it's locked despite the fact that he didn't even bother to close it in the first place and everyone else had already vacated the premises.
- Awful writing which doesn't stay true to the original cartoons it was based on, and more like rip-offs of Disney's The Rescuers and Don Bluth's All Dogs Go To Heaven.
- Well done animation.
- Tom and Jerry are silent for the first few minutes of the film, including the ending.
- A clever in-joke referencing Tom and Jerry's creators.
- Very good voice acting, despite the fact that Tom and Jerry talk in the film.
- While nowhere near as good as the original series, there are some funny moments here and there.
- There are also a lot of touching or heartwarming moments.
- It spawned the "We've got to have... money!" meme.
- As brief as Droopy's appearance is, it's arguably the funniest moment in the film.
- The discovered Icelandic version makes the songs catchier.
- It was the first Tom and Jerry film, even though it was the only one made for theaters to date.
- Some Tom and Jerry fans like it.
- It's at least better than Thomas and the Magic Railroad, with better writing and acting and having a more understandable plot.
- The Tom and Jerry direct-to-video films succeeding this film beginning with Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring, for the most part, are huge improvements over this film, due to being more faithful to the original Tom and Jerry cartoons than this film.
The movie received very poor reactions and negative reviews from fans, critics and audiences alike, with criticisms mostly revolving around it feeling like a generic animated movie with barely anything in common with the original cartoons. The movie was quickly pulled from cinemas in less than a month, earning only $3.5M at the box office, likely because it was released directly opposite the massively successful Jurassic Park.
- The director, Phil Roman, had previously worked as an animator on the Chuck Jones-directed Tom and Jerry cartoons from the 1960s. Jones had actually looked into producing a Tom and Jerry movie of his own after his shorts ended, but decided to instead make the film The Phantom Tollbooth after not being able to work out how to make the format work in a feature-length movie; something that should probably have indicated this project was a bad idea from the get-go.