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Tom and Jerry: The Movie

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This article is about the 1992 version. You may be looking for the 2021 version of the same name.
Tom and Jerry: The Movie
TOM AND JERRY THE MOVIE (1992) - Official Poster.jpg
Behold the film that wiped out the Hanna-Barbera era and the ill fated Miramax era to death.
Genre: Animated
Comedy
Musical
Buddy
Adventure
Directed By: Phil Roman
Produced By: Phil Roman
Written By: Dennis Marks
Starring: Richard Kind
Dana Hill
Anndi McAfee
Tony Jay
Rip Taylor
Henry Gibson
Michael Bell
Ed Gilbert
David L. Lander
Howard Morris
Charlotte Rae
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Miramax Films (Theatrical Release/United States)
Turner Pictures Worldwide Distribution (International)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Home Media)
Release Date: October 1, 1992 (Germany)
July 30, 1993 (United States)
Runtime: 84 Minutes
Country: United States
Germany
Language: English
German
Budget: $3.5 million
Box Office: $3.6 million

Tom and Jerry: The Movie (also referred to as Tom and Jerry (1992)) is a 1992 American animated musical buddy adventure 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. After having its world premiere in Germany on October 1, 1992, Tom and Jerry: The Movie was released theatrically in the United States on July 30, 1993, by Miramax Films.

A live-action/animated film in the veins of Who Framed Roger Rabbit titled Tom & Jerry was released on February 26, 2021 by Tim Story.

Plot

The famous cartoon cat and mouse are thrown into a feature film. The story starts with Tom's owners are moving to a new house, but he is distracted by his pursuit of Jerry and is left behind by the moving van as a result. Tom chases the van, but is scared away by a bulldog and is forced to stay in the house. The next morning, the house is destroyed by the old fashioned pear-shaped wrecking ball, leaving both Tom and Jerry homeless. After having much more spend time, the twosome trying to help an runaway orphan girl named Robyn Starling 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.

Why It Doesn't Deserve a Custard Pie

  1. Horrible grasp on the source material. With Robyn getting more screen time and focus combined than Tom and Jerry (the duo are, at best, treated as supporting characters) and no characters from the original shorts (except for Droopy) appearing, very little slapstick, Tom and Jerry fluently speaking for the majority of the film, and with musical numbers thrown in to cash in on the Disney Renaissance, barely anything 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.
  2. One of the main problems 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 downvoted his idea.
    • Richard Kind and Dana Hill's voices for Tom and Jerry respectively are also rather unfitting casting choices.
  3. Misleading title: Although Tom and Jerry are the titular characters and get a fair amount of screen time, the film mainly focuses on Robyn Starling, a runaway orphan who is looking for her father while trying to escape from her abusive guardian (Aunt Figg) and lawyer (Mr. Lickboot), who are looking for her because she's worth a lot of money and only as a way to keep their obtained wealth. For this reason, Tom and Jerry feel like they are portrayed more as supporting characters than titular characters.
  4. The film's overall concept is not only misleading and confusing, yet it is also a huge waste of potential. 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. Not only that, but what's also 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 and is largely forgotten for the rest of the film.
  5. False advertising: 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.
  6. A lot of the characters are clichéd, bland, poorly written, and don't contribute much value to the movie.
    • The protagonist, Robyn Starling (while somewhat likeable) is a generic and bland one-dimensional runaway orphan character protagonist who not only steals the spotlight from Tom and Jerry (despite getting a fair amount of screen time), but also has very little personality apart from just being the typical (and also naive) runaway 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. In fact, she herself is a pale rip-off of Penny from Disney's The Rescuers and Ann-Marie from Don Bluth's All Dogs Go to Heaven.
    • 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, since both got caught by animal control net.
    • After the scene where Tom and Jerry meet Puggsy and Frankie with the latter being captured by animal control after the musical number, 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 that since the scene with Puggsy and Frankie earlier already has a musical number), they too don't serve any real purpose other than being filler, have no exposition and just come out of nowhere, and feels more like plot device rather than an actual character. After the musical number ends with 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 antagonist characters have very flat characterization, as literally everyone tries to kidnap Robyn to get money off of her. It is mainly by Aunt Figg and Mr. Lickboot, which is understandable since they're the antagonists, but still. There's also Captain Kiddie, a captain with Squawk, a parrot sailor puppet first mate who saves Robyn from a boat accident for separated, cares for her and even helps her find her father, only then to trap her in a freaking Ferris Wheel because he realized that he sees Aunt Figg offers for Robyn's return for $1 million reward bounty for the milk carton with no promise on paying and contacts Figg, who leaves with Lickboot and Ferdinand while Applecheek and the dogcatchers try to beat them there in order to collect the bounty (Lickboot himself pointed out that people will do anything for money).
    • While Tom and Jerry themselves are still likable, they feel more like afterthoughts in their own movie and serve more as decoy protagonists. They could be removed from the film without a trace and the plot would be largely unaffected and would still end with Robyn's father arriving to pick her up.
  7. 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 as well as feel like it was for massive amount of filler and padding (except "I Miss You (Robyn's Song)").
    • 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, notably The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
  8. The antagonists aren't very good, and they also have some pretty weird and strange names; Pristine Aunt Figg, Mr. Lickboot and Dr. Applecheek.
    • Their pet dog, Ferdinand, is very unfunny and pointless comic relief antagonist 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.
  9. By using musical numbers and its clichéd plot, the film looks more like a Disney animated feature than an actual 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.
  10. Despite being a Tom and Jerry movie, none of the other characters from the original Tom and Jerry shorts (like Spike, Butch, Nibbles/Tuffy, etc.) are appear or mentioned in this film at all. While Droopy does appear in this movie (you can see him on the VHS and DVD box art as well as theatrical and digital media poster), he only has one line of dialogue, is only shown once in Dr. Applecheek's lab, when the animals are ready to escape by Jerry who press the buttons, and is never seen or heard from again, possibly because of budget cuts, making him filler cameo.
  11. Minor plot hole: 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 its locked, even though he didn't even bother to close it in the first place and everyone else has already vacated the premises.
  12. Awful and clichéd writing, which doesn't stay true to the original shorts it is based on and feels more like huge rip-offs of Disney's The Rescuers and Don Bluth's All Dogs Go to Heaven.
  13. 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 credits when Tom gets cut into pieces, there is red inside which resembles blood.
  14. While the animation is decent, it looks rather low-budget for a big-budget theatrical animated film, even for 1990s standards, and, has looks more suited for a 1980s-1990s made-for-TV film that's trying to capitalize off the standards of Disney.
  15. This film itself has no real impact on the Tom and Jerry franchise as a whole since none of the events were mentioned ever again and that recently introduced characters from the movie like Robyn Starling and Puggsy are nowhere to be found in further Tom and Jerry revivals whatsoever. You can watch anything from other Tom and Jerry cartoons (yes, including the crappy Gene Deitch, Filmation, and 1970's cartoons, even though Gene Deitch also barely did impact the franchise) skipping this, and anything too important would not be missed.
  16. The pacing is very poor and felt rather rushed.
  17. The whole movie is just clichéd, at least as soon as Robyn is brought in anyway. From that point the movie turns into a generic Disney-esque musical about a girl trying to find her father, a plot already beaten into the ground by several past children's movies, all the while being pursued by a bunch of stock villains from every animated movie you've seen.
  18. It ended Dana Hill's career on a sour note, as she died in 1996 and this was one of her last roles.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. 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!).
  2. 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.
  3. Excellent voice acting, even though Tom and Jerry talk in the film.
    • Tony Jay and Charlotte Rae, in particular, does an great voice performance as Mr. Lickboot and Aunt Pristine Figg.
    • 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.
    • Despite criticisms given to Tom and Jerry's use of fluent dialogue, their personalities and the overall relationship still are one of the few aspects that remain faithful to the source material.
    • Though poorly executed, having Tom and Jerry talk fluently was surprisingly a great idea, and was considerably a nice touch to the franchise. In fact, it's considerably better for them to talk, and appeals more to young children.
  4. 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.
    • "We've got to have... money!"
  5. There are some touching and heartwarming moments, like the scene where Tom worries about Jerry presumably dead during the cabin fire, and it also delivers a very good message about family and friendship.
  6. Despite the movie focusing more on Robyn Starling, Tom and Jerry still do get a decent amount of screen time and conflict.
  7. The animation is decent as mentioned above.
  8. Fine direction from Phil Roman.

Reception

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, as well as the film's notable similarities in concept to that of Disney's The Rescuers and Don Bluth's All Dogs Go to Heaven. 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.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert awarded the film thumbs down ratings on their show Siskel & Ebert. Although they praised the animation, look and the truthful art design of the animated shorts, neither thought that it was a good idea to give dialogue to the two characters. Additionally, they felt that the film suffered from a lack of further slapstick action from past cartoons and that the story was silly, particularly because the character of Robyn Starling occupied more screen time than the titular characters.

Videos

Trailers

Reviews

Trivia

  • 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 is the first theatrical animated film for Film Roman and his second directorial role for a theatrical animated film since Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, though in this case as an individual director after directing the TV movie Garfield: His 9 Lives.
  • 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.
  • Despite receiving a UK VHS release from First Independent Films, no UK Region 2 DVD release is as of yet currently available. However, UK buyers can import the French, German, Dutch, or South African copies, as they are Region 2, and play in English.
  • The late Tino Insana (who played Patrol Officer) would later voiced Pig from Barnyard and Mr. Grouper from Bubble Guppies for seasons 1, 2 and 4, both projects were from Nickelodeon.
  • The reason why Tom and Jerry both talked in this film is because the crew felt like most of the audience would feel bored or uninterested in the mute aspect.
  • 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).
  • Among of the attempts (with Jones involved) was when MGM wanted to make the feature in live-action with David Newman (one of the writers who wrote Bonnie and Clyde) to write the screenplay and for Dustin Hoffman and Chevy Chase to star as the duo, but sometime later, the idea was shelved.
  • The Who Framed Roger Rabbit-esque live-action/animated Tom and Jerry movie was both well-received, and, was better received by fans than the fully-animated Tom and Jerry movie, despite the negative reception, mainly due to it's faithfulness to the original Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoons the film is based on.

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