Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: "Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest" is Good Jonny Quest

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 41 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest (2014) – straight-to-video
Running time:  73 minutes (1 hour, 13 minutes)
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS:  Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone
WRITERS:  James Krieg and Heath Corson; from a story by James Krieg
EDITOR:  Kyle Stafford
COMPOSER: Michael Tavera
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Yearim Productions Co., LTD


Starring:  (voices) Reese Hartwig, Arnie Pantoja, James Hong, Eric Bauza, Michael Hanks, Tia Carrere, and Tim Matheson, Joe Alaskey, Spike Brandt, Grey Griffin, Jess Harnell, Richard McGonagle, and Jonny Rees

Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest is a 2015 direct-to-video animated film starring the famous cartoon cat and mouse duo, Tom and Jerry.  Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Spy Quest is a crossover film that teams Tom and Jerry with the characters from the mid-1960s animated series, “Jonny Quest.”

Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, “Jonny Quest” was an animated science fiction adventure television series that was originally broadcast on ABC in prime time.  Created and designed by Doug Wildey, the series lasted one season (1964-1965) for a total of 26 episodes.  “Jonny Quest” focused on Jonathan “Jonny” Quest, an 11-year-old boy who accompanies his genius scientist father on extraordinary adventures.

Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest opens on a beach in “sunny South Florida.”  Tom and Jerry are having a relaxing day at the beach, which means they are harassing each other.  Then, the duo encounters Jonny Quest (Reese Hartwig) and his best pal, Hadji (Arnie Pantoja), accompanied by their canine companion, Bandit, of course.  It seems that a trio of cyborg cats are trying to kidnap the trio, until Tom inadvertently saves them.

Jonny and Hadji take their new friends, Tom and Jerry, to Quest Key, the location of their home and also of Quest Labs.  Tom and Jerry are introduced to Jonny's father, Dr. Benton Quest (Eric Bauza), and Jonny's bodyguard, Race Bannon (Michael Hanks).  Why does Jonny need a bodyguard?  Dr. Quest is a world-renowned genius scientist and inventor, and bad people try to kidnap Jonny to use him as leverage to force Dr. Quest to give them his inventions.

In fact, longtime Quest family nemesis, Dr. Zin (James Hong), wants Dr. Quest's latest invention, the “Q Sphere,” a device that will solve the world's energy problems.  After Zin kidnaps Dr. Quest and Race, Tom and Jerry join Jonny, Hadji, and Bandit on a trip to “Zin Automated Battle Island,” on a rescue mission, where an evil cat army and powerful robots await them.

Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest can be described as “The Adventures of Jonny Quest” with Tom and Jerry as, at best, supporting characters, or, in actuality, guest stars.  That is not a bad thing.  James Krieg and Heath Corson have written a Jonny Quest story that recalls the classic, original 1960s series, while maintaining the general wackiness that is Tom and Jerry.

Yeah, the appearance of Jonny Quest recurring character, Jezebel Jade (Tia Carrere), seems obligatory, but the appearance of the bumbling Tom and Jerry adversaries, Tin, Pan, and Alley, balances that.  Corson and especially Krieg seem to know what made classic Hanna-Barbera animated series successful and also have a knack for reviving those elements that made them classics.

Kudos to the art direction.  Quest Key, the Quest Lab interiors, and the island location of Dr. Zin's base of operations, including its interiors, recall Hanna-Barbera's animated science fiction adventure television series of the 1960s and 1970s.

Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, the producing and directing team behind the Tom and Jerry direct-to-DVD films, always seem to have a way to keep this series going.  Just when I think that it is time to stop, they produce an entry that leaves me awaiting the next.  And with Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest, they also made a good Jonny Quest direct-to-DVD film.

8 of 10

Friday, October 23, 2015

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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