Monday, October 10, 2011

Tom and Jerry, Wizard of Oz a Twister of Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 80 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux


Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz (2011) – straight-to-video
Running time: 59 minutes
DIRECTORS: Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone
WRITER: Gene Grillo (based upon characters created by L. Frank Baum and William Hanna and Joseph Barbera)
PRODUCERS: Sam Register (executive) and Spike Brandt (supervising) and Tony Cervone (supervising)
EDITORS: Kyle Stafford and Damon P. Yoches
ANIMATION STUDIO: Yearim Productions Co. Ltd.

ANIMATION/FANTASY/COMEDY/
ADVENTURE/FAMILY

Starring: (voices) Grey DeLisle, Joe Alaskey, Michael Gough, Rob Paulsen, Todd Stashwick, Frances Conroy, Laraine Newman, Stephen Root, and Kath Soucie

Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz is a 2011 animated direct-to-video film starring the famous cartoon cat and mouse duo, Tom and Jerry, and produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz basically takes the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, and rewrites the movie so that Tom and Jerry (who began as MGM cartoon characters) are right along side Dorothy, Toto, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the rest of the characters from the beloved film.

Life is simple on the Gale farm. High-strung Dorothy (Grey DeLisle) lives with her Auntie Em (Frances Conroy) and Uncle Henry (Stephen Root), three farm hands, and her cute dog, Toto. Tom and Jerry are not only helpers on the farm, but they are also Dorothy’s companions. When Toto gets in trouble, Dorothy gets a little panicky, so Auntie Em asks Tom and Jerry to keep an eye on her.

Later, a terrible tornado transports Dorothy and Toto to the Land of Oz where they go on an adventure to the Emerald City. Tom and Jerry were also transported to Oz. Reminded of their promise to watch over Dorothy, Tom, Jerry, and the plucky Tuffy the Munchkin Mouse (Kath Soucie) race to protect Dorothy from The Wicked Witch of the West (Laraine Newman), who, of course, wants Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

Because of its repeated showings on television beginning in 1956, The Wizard of Oz is one of the most famous movies ever made. I frequently include it in my lists of the 10 best films ever made, so you might think that I would consider Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz practically sacrilegious. I don’t. This animated film is simply like a side story to the original film, except in this case, the original film has been transformed into animation.

Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz is funny, and the scenes with Tom and Jerry range from comical to surreal, and the surreal elements make this little movie really fit with the original. The animation is quite good, and the backgrounds, sets, and colors are even better; this is just a pretty film for start to finish.

The voice performances are excellent, especially Laraine Newman as the Wicked Witch of the West. Newman deftly channels Margaret Hamilton, who voiced the Witch in the 1939 film. In fact, the other actors who give voice to the cartoon versions of the original film’s characters come close to sounding like the actors who played them. Tuffy, a character from the original Tom and Jerry cartoon shorts, always annoyed me, but here, as Tuffy the Munchkin Mouse, he is delightful.

If you like Tom and Jerry or want a good animated movie for young viewers, you will not go wrong with Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz.

7 of 10
A-

Thursday, October 06, 2011

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