Tom and Jerry: The Movie

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Tom and Jerry: The Movie
Tom and Jerry - The Movie Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phil Roman
Produced byPhil Roman
Written by Dennis Marks
Based on
Starring
Music by Henry Mancini
Edited byTim J. Borquez
Timothy Mertens
Production
companies
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date
  • October 1, 1992 (1992-10-01)(Germany)
  • July 30, 1993 (1993-07-30)(United States)
Running time
84 minutes
CountriesUnited States
Germany
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3.5 million
Box office$3.6 million [1]

Tom and Jerry: The Movie is a 1992 German animated musical adventure comedy film based on the characters Tom and Jerry created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Produced and directed by Phil Roman from a screenplay by Dennis Marks (who also scripted some episodes of Tom & Jerry Kids at the time), the film stars the voices of Richard Kind, Dana Hill (in her final film role), Anndi McAfee, Tony Jay, Rip Taylor, Henry Gibson, Michael Bell, Ed Gilbert, David L. Lander, Howard Morris and Charlotte Rae.

Contents

It is the first theatrical feature-length animated film featuring the cat-and-mouse pair [2] as well as their return to the big screen after 25 years. Although largely mute in the original cartoons, the duo speaks throughout this film. Joseph Barbera, co-founder of Hanna-Barbera and co-creator of Tom and Jerry, served as creative consultant for the film. [2] The film tells the story about a little girl named Robyn Starling, who enlists Tom and Jerry's help (to which they put their differences aside after their home is wrecked) to escape from her evil abusive aunt and reunite with her lost and presumed-dead father.

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. The film received negative reviews from critics for its animation, story, lack of focus on the titular duo with their given dialogue, characters, direction, musical numbers, attempts to cash in on the Disney Renaissance, and its unfaithfulness to its source material. It was also a box office failure, earning $3.6 million on a $3.5 million budget.

Plot

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 demolished, leaving both Tom and Jerry homeless.

The pair wander the streets for shelter until they meet a stray dog named Puggsy and his flea companion, Frankie. Upon introducing themselves, Tom and Jerry are persuaded to befriend each other to survive. While Tom and Jerry are sidetracked with searching for food, Puggsy and Frankie are captured by dogcatchers while Tom is apprehended by a group of hostile alley cats, until Jerry traps them in the sewer. Afterwards, Tom and Jerry meet Robyn Starling, a runaway 8-year-old girl whose mother died when she was a baby and her father supposedly died in an avalanche during an expedition in Tibet. Robyn and her family's fortune as a result are currently in the custody of her abusive guardian Aunt Pristine Figg and her lawyer Lickboot, who see Robyn only as a way to keep their obtained wealth. A local police officer brings Robyn home along with Tom and Jerry.

Figg reluctantly allows Tom and Jerry to stay. However, after a food fight between Tom, Jerry and Figg's obese dog Ferdinand, Figg suggests taking them to a kind man named Dr. Applecheek who loves animals, which Robyn thinks about. Jerry overhears Figg and Lickboot discussing a telegram that reveals that Robyn's father is alive and running his company in Tibet. Jerry tells Tom about this and they attempt to tell Robyn about it, but Figg locks Robyn in her room and takes Tom and Jerry to Dr. Applecheek, who is revealed to be a cruel animal kidnapper and the employer of the dogcatchers who captured Puggsy and Frankie. Applecheeck reveals that Figg paid him to kill Tom and Jerry.

Tom and Jerry reunite with Puggsy and Frankie, who suggest using a nearby control panel to open the cages. Tom and Jerry free the captured animals including Droopy and return to Robyn's home to inform her of her father's survival. Tom, Jerry and Robyn set out to find Robyn's father on a raft, but the raft is suddenly struck by a ship and they end up separated. Meanwhile, in Tibet, Robyn's father becomes alarmed by his daughter's predicament and flies back to America to rescue her.

The next day, Figg and Lickboot decide to put a $1,000,000 bounty on Robyn to anyone who can find her, with no promise on paying. Robyn is found and hosted by amusement park manager Captain Kiddie and his first mate Squawk, a parrot puppet; Kiddie is initially friendly with Robyn until he sees Figg's bounty on a milk carton, whereupon he traps Robyn on a Ferris wheel 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. Tom and Jerry find and free Robyn, and trap the dogcatchers on the Ferris wheel right when Figg and Lickboot arrive. They escape in a paddle steamer while Figg, Lickboot, Kiddie and Applecheek give chase. In the ensuing chase, Applecheek falls from a bridge and sinks Kiddie's dinghy, while Figg and Lickboot head to "Robyn's Nest" – a small cabin where Robyn and her father spent their summers – predicting she will be there.

Tom, Jerry and Robyn arrive at the cabin where Robyn is accosted by Figg and Lickboot, who locks Tom and Jerry outside with Ferdinand. During a tussle, an oil lamp is knocked over and starts a fire that engulfs the cabin. While Figg and Lickboot attempt to escape, Tom and Jerry manage to get Robyn safely on the roof. Figg and Lickboot manage to vacate the cabin, but stumble on Ferdinand's skateboard and crash onto the paddle steamer, which sails out of control and sends them away. Robyn's father then arrives in his helicopter and rescues her, but fails to rescue Tom and Jerry in time before the cabin collapses, though they barely survive.

After the rescue, Robyn's father promises to never leave her again, and Tom and Jerry's heroics make the newspaper, which is read by Puggsy and Frankie, who are proud of Tom and Jerry for learning how to be friends. Sometime later, the pair begin a new life in Robyn's luxurious villa and revert to their old habits.

Voice Cast

Production

Development

There were numerous attempts to make a Tom and Jerry feature film, mainly in the 1970s after the successful reruns of the original cartoons and the airings of the new TV animated versions (although there has been debatable possibilities of making attempts in the golden age of cartoons). Chuck Jones, who previously worked on his take on the characters in his studio MGM Animation/Visual Arts, wanted to make a Tom and Jerry film but later pulled the plug on the idea due to not finding a suitable script to work with.

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. [3]

In the late 1980s, Phil Roman and his company Film Roman managed to revive the attempts of making an animated film featuring the duo after his experience in directing the animated specials featuring another popular cartoon cat Garfield, as well as his love for the original Tom and Jerry cartoons. This gave the opportunity of making it the first theatrical animated film for Film Roman and his first (and only) directorial role for a theatrical animated film after directing the TV movie Garfield: His 9 Lives , with Joseph Barbera aboard as a consultant. One of the rare options the crew decided to take is going in a different direction and something new on the portrayal of the duo by giving them fluent dialogue, because they considered that most of the audience would feel bored or uninterested in the repetitively mute aspect.

In the early development of the script by Dennis Marks, some of its dialogue and actions in other scenes, including the main characters talking throughout at the beginning before encountering Puggsy and Frankie, had to be taken out. Originally, a comedic sequence before the further events of the duo talking was drafted as a prologue and homage to the original cartoons before the credits, but it was later decided to drop the idea and partially replaced by the animated slapstick scenes during the credits for the sake moving forward on the situations for the story. [4]

Animation

Animators on Tom and Jerry: The Movie include Eric Thomas, Art Roman, Doug Frankel, Tony Fucile, Steven E. Gordon, Leslie Gorin, Dan Haskett, Brian Robert Hogan, Gabi Payn, Irven Spence and Arnie Wong. Some animation was outsourced to Wang Film Productions in Taiwan, where James Miko and Aundre Knutson served as supervising directors. Additional animation was provided by The Baer Animation Company and Creative Capers Cartoons. The computer animation for the vehicles was provided by Kroyer Films.

For the film itself, the animators used key frames, an old technique used in Hyperion's films The Brave Little Toaster and Rover Dangerfield , Don Bluth's All Dogs Go To Heaven and Disney's The Black Cauldron , The Great Mouse Detective , Who Framed Roger Rabbit , Oliver & Company , The Little Mermaid , DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp and The Rescuers Down Under .

Music

Tom and Jerry: The Movie – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedJuly 20, 1993
December 11, 2005 (reissued)
Recorded1991
Genre Film soundtrack
Label MCA Records (1993)
Geffen Records (2005)
Producer Henry Mancini
Leslie Bricusse

During production, after witnessing the successful start of Disney's musical Renaissance, the crew decided to make the film a musical and hired Oscar-winning composers Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse to write the musical numbers after working in another musical film together titled Victor/Victoria , with a touch of melodic structure reminiscent to the classic golden age of movie musicals, especially the ones from MGM like The Wizard of Oz and Singin' in the Rain , and with help from music students at Roger Williams University. Original songs composed for the film include "Friends to the End", "What Do We Care? (The Alley Cats' Song)", "Money Is Such a Beautiful Word", "God's Little Creatures", "I Miss You (Robyn's Song)", "I've Done It All", and "I Miss You" (End Title)".

A soundtrack album was released by MCA Records in 1993 (re-released by Geffen Records in 2005) and included both the songs and score from the film, composed by Henry Mancini. [5] The end credits pop song All in How Much We Give was written by Jody Davidson.

All lyrics are written by Leslie Bricusse; all music is composed by Henry Mancini.

No.TitleLength
1."All in How Much We Give" (Stephanie Mills) 
2."Friends to the End" (Richard Kind, Dana Hill, Ed Gilbert & David Lander) 
3."What Do We Care? (The Alley Cats' Song)" (Raymond McLeod, Michael D. Moore & Scott Wojahn) 
4."God's Little Creatures" (Henry Gibson) 
5."(Money is Such) A Beautiful Word" (Charlotte Rae & Tony Jay) 
6."I Miss You (Robyn's Song)" (Anndi McAfee) 
7."I've Done It All" (Rip Taylor & Howard Morris) 
8."Theme from Tom and Jerry (Main title)" 
9."Homeless" 
10."We Meet Robyn" 
11."Food Fight Polka" 
12."Meet Dr. Applecheek" 
13."Chase" 
14."Escape from the Fire" 
15."Friends to the End (Reprise)" 
16."Tom and Jerry Theme (Pop Version)" 

Reception

Critical response

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 14% approval rating based on 14 reviews, with an average score of 3.4/10. [6]

Joseph McBride of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying that "Tom and Jerry Talk won't go down in film history as a slogan to rival Garbo Talks ." [7] Charles Solomon of the Los Angeles Times panned the film's songs and Phil Roman's direction. [8] Hal Hinson of The Washington Post criticized the dialogue between the cat and mouse and said that the voices "don't fit the characters". Hinson also complained that the musical numbers are "as forgettable as they are intolerably bouncy and upbeat". [9]

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert awarded the film "Two Thumbs Down" 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, giving lack of more slapstick action from past cartoons and that the story was silly, even considering that the character of Robyn Starling takes most of the attention than the cat and mouse themselves. [10] Conversely, Vincent Canby of The New York Times was more positive in his review by praising Mancini's score and the musical numbers, to which he later went on to say that "[the characters of] Tom and Jerry have charm." [11]

Box office

Tom and Jerry: The Movie opened theatrically on July 30, 1993 in the United States and Canada alongside Rising Sun , Robin Hood: Men in Tights and So I Married an Axe Murderer . [1] Ranking number fourteen at the North American box office, the film grossed $3,560,469 worldwide, making it financially unsuccessful. [1] [12]

Video games

Home media

The film was released on VHS and LaserDisc on October 26, 1993 by Family Home Entertainment. [18] The VHS release of the film was reissued on March 2, 1999 and was released on DVD on March 26, 2002 in United States and on September 26, 2008 in Germany [19] by Warner Home Video. 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. [20] The film was available on HBO Max in a digitally-remastered widescreen format on July 1, 2020. [21]

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