Tom and Jerry: The Movie
Tom and Jerry: The Movie (or Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992)) is a 1992 German-American animated musical buddy comedy film produced and directed by Phil Roman and released in Germany by Turner Pictures and in the 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 one to receive a wide theatrical release.
A live-action/animated film in the veins of Who Framed Roger Rabbit titled Tom & Jerry was released on February 26, 2021.
The famous 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. Both are looking for her to get the $1 million bounties on her.
- Poor grasp on the source material for most of its runtime. With Robyn getting more screen time and focus combined than Tom and Jerry and no characters from the original shorts (except for Droopy) appearing, nothing much in this movie feels like it's canon to Tom and Jerry. It instead feels more like a generic animated movie about a pair of talking animals trying to help Robyn find her father. You could replace Tom and Jerry with Bernard and Bianca and nothing would change, with the result being a weaker clone of The Rescuers.
- One of the main criticisms with this film is that the titular characters, Tom and Jerry, actually talk fluently, despite being famous for having little to no dialogue in the classic shorts and having them talk regularly makes them feel like just another cartoon duo.
- 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).
- It should also be noted that co-creator Joseph Barbera, who was involved as the film's creative consultant, wanted the titular protagonists to remain silent, but just about everyone else involved in the making of the film down-voted his idea.
- Richard Kind and Dana Hill's voices for Tom and Jerry respectively are also rather unfitting.
- False advertising: Instead of being focused on Tom and Jerry who are the main characters and get a fair amount of screen time, the film mainly focuses on Robyn Starling, an orphan who's looking for her father while trying to escape from her guardian (Aunt Figg) and lawyer (Mr. Lickboot), who are looking for her because she's worth a lot of money. For this reason, Tom and Jerry feel like they are portrayed more as supporting characters than titular characters.
- Ironically, during the first couple of minutes in the film (including the ending), the plot does focus on giving Tom and Jerry screen time throughout, involving them being lost and homeless while debating whether they should help each other out or not to survive and make their way back home. It gives it the potential of being a silent buddy comedy with numerous hilarious slapstick and chase scenes to match as they also face numerous obstacles antagonizing them, including Dr. Applecheek, who could have been the antagonist. His goal could have been to kidnap, enslave and sell the titular protagonists for a million dollars as he generally does with homeless animals, which the film itself could have easily been about. What's worse is the fact that Tom's owner never bothered to look up after him on her way to the new house while even attempting to rescue him from danger.
- Despite what the movie poster shows, Tom and Jerry don't chase each other that much, and the slapstick itself occurs in rare moments. Mostly during the opening and ending is when they actually do chase each other, despite some scenes of conflict that the writers supposedly attempted to add more of to the plot, despite barely being relevant to the story.
- Most of the characters are bland, poorly written, and don't contribute much value to the movie.
- Robyn is a generic one-dimensional protagonist who not only takes away the spotlight from Tom and Jerry, but has very little personality apart from just being the typical (and also naive) orphan girl who wishes to reunite with her father only so that the film can have a story regardless of who it should focus on.
- Puggsy the dog and Frankie the flea, 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.
- After the scene where Tom and Jerry meet Puggsy and Frankie, there's a gang of alley cats that yell at Tom for being friends with Jerry, who is a mouse. They think that cats and mice should be enemies. Other than being there for another musical number (which keep in mind, the scene with Puggsy and Frankie earlier already has a musical number), they too don't serve any real purpose other than being filler. After Jerry saves Tom by opening a sewer pipe that causes the alley cat gang to fall in, they are never seen or heard from again.
- Most of the human characters have very flat characterization, as literally everyone tries to kidnap Robyn to get money off of her. It's mainly by Aunt Figg and Mr. Lickboot, which is understandable since they're the antagonists, but still. There's also a captain with a parrot sailor puppet who saves Robyn from a boat accident, cares for her and even helps her find her father, only then to trap her in a freaking Ferris Wheel because he sees the reward Aunt Figg offers for Robyn's return (Lickboot himself pointed out that people will do anything for money).
- The antagonists' pet dog, Ferdinand is a very unfunny and pointless comic relief character who has zero personality and purely exists just to get a cheap laugh to bring slapstick to the audience, instead of the slapstick normally coming from Tom and Jerry themselves.
- Tom and Jerry themselves, while still likable, feel more like afterthoughts in their own movie and serve more as decoy protagonists.
- 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).
- To add insult to the wound, the crew decided to make the film a musical during production just to cash-in on the success of the Disney Renaissance.
- It should be noted too that by using musical numbers and its clichéd plot, the film looks more like a Disney animated feature than a film adaptation of Tom & Jerry. That said, you can take Tom and Jerry out of this film, replace them with a generic cat and a generic mouse, and the film still is the same.
- 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).
- Despite this being a Tom and Jerry movie, none of the other characters from the original Tom and Jerry shorts (like Spike, Butch, Nibbles, etc.) appear in this film at all. While Droopy does appear (you can 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.
- 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, even though he didn't even bother to close it in the first place and everyone else has already vacated the premises.
- Awful writing, which doesn't stay true to the original shorts it is based on, and feels more like rip-offs of Disney's The Rescuers and Don Bluth's All Dogs Go To Heaven.
- It can be very disturbing and somewhat dark at times for young children despite its G rating, like when Doctor Applecheek is getting the ice-cream cart where he walk slowly with an smile like a pedophile, in the climax were it looked like Tom and Jerry fell and got killed in the fiery cabin when they saved Robyn (though, luckily, both Tom and Jerry survived), and in the opening when Tom gets cut into pieces, there is red inside which resembles blood.
- Low-budget animation that doesn't suit the standards of a big-budget theatrical animated film, even for the 1990s, and, has its quality that is more suited for a Made-For-TV film that's trying to capitalize off the standards of Disney.
- The first 10 minutes of the movie started off as good, with additional highlights:
- During those moments of the film and the ending, Tom and Jerry are at least silent with the story focusing on them.
- There is a clever in-joke referencing Tom and Jerry's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
- Speaking of which, the opening titles do contain reanimated versions of a few gags. Such as the golf ball hitting Tom's teeth (a reference to the short "Tee for Two") and where Tom gets cut in half (a partial reference to Touché, Pussy Cat!).
- Decent soundtrack, such as a catchy jazz remix of the classic Tom & Jerry theme song.
- Despite most of the songs being poorly made, Robin's song is pretty good and well done.
- The discovered Icelandic version makes the songs catchier.
- Excellent voice acting, even though Tom and Jerry talk in the film.
- While Dana Hill's voice acting for Jerry isn't the best, Richard Kind did a decent job voicing Tom, despite criticisms of giving dialogue to the titular protagonists, to begin with.
- Also, some fans did root for Tom and Jerry to have full dialogue for the first time in history.
- Having Tom and Jerry speak fluently is somewhat interesting concept, but poorly executed.
- While nowhere near as good or funny as the original shorts, there are some funny moments here and there, with some slapstick being in the film.
- Speaking of which, as brief as Droopy's cameo appearance is, it's arguably the funniest moment in the film.
- There are some touching and heartwarming moments.
Tom and Jerry: The Movie was not well-received by critics, audiences, or fans alike, with criticisms mostly revolving around the film feeling like a generic animated movie with barely anything in common with the original cartoons. The film 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. On Rotten Tomatoes, it had a 14% rating and a 40% audience score rating on the same site.
- The director, Phil Roman, had previously worked as an animator on the Chuck Jones-directed Tom and Jerry cartoons from the 1960s. Jones had previously became interested in producing a Tom and Jerry movie of his own after his shorts ended, but decided against it after being unable to work out how to make the format work in a feature-length film; something that should probably have indicated this project was a bad idea from the get-go.
- This was the last film role for Dana Hill (the voice of Jerry in the movie) before her death on July 15, 1996.
- New Line Cinema originally were going to distribute the film.
- It spawned the "We've got to have... money!" meme.
- Since then, it spawned many direct-to-video movies and a live action movie adaptation (of the franchise as a whole, not of this movie).
- The live action Tom and Jerry movie was received better by the fans than the fully animated movie.