Like many folks, I grew up watching various Tom and Jerry cartoons. Sure the cartoons were repetitive and often involved endless chases, but they always managed to entertain. As of 2007, Tom and Jerry continues to live on with a new movie titled "Tom And Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale." Unfortunately, this feature is not the two character's finest moment.
In a nutshell (har-har), the story revolves around Jerry wishing he could perform in the Nutcracker opera. Within moments, Jerry's wish is granted as he is transported to a magical land of walking and talking toys, snowy landscapes, a towering castle, and a ballerina. Much to Jerry's dismay, Tom and his fellow troublesome cat friends are whisked away to this land as well. Almost immediately, the cats take over the land and capture the ballerina. In need of help, Jerry seeks out the Toymaker to help him regain control of his Fantasy Land.
"Tom And Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale" is the most rushed animated project I have ever seen. From the opening minutes, the film seems to be in a hurry to reach the conclusion with its Michael Bay style of editing. Of course, since the running time is only a scant 49 minutes, the story doesn't take long to reach the conclusion. As a result, characterization, plot, and well thought out gags are virtually non-existent and are replaced by clumsy narration (to speed up the film) and two agonizing songs.
I also felt the film was far too violent for a holiday themed animated children's film. Let's face it, Tom and Jerry aren't Itchy and Scratchy, but there are scenes in this film where it felt like the writers were trying to emulate the famous "Simpsons" characters. Throughout the film, a character gets a poker in the eye, Tom is flattened and blown up, and a character goes through a woodchipper. That's the holiday spirit!
The movie is not without merit. A few gags involving squirrels and baseball had me chuckling, plus the story's moral of friendship and working together is a positive influence for children.
The fullscreen picture looks crisp and clean. I was pleased the animation had a mixture of 3D and classic Tom and Jerry hand drawn animation.
The English Dolby Surround 5.1 is solid. The Nutcracker music if often blasting loudly over the faint dialogue. Quite frankly, this film made me NOT want to hear the Nutcracker music again for the rest of the year.
* Previews for "Christmas Television Favorites," "Dennis The Menace," "Chill-Out Scooby-Doo," "Tom And Jerry Tales Vol. 3," and "Christmas With Tom And Jerry And The Flinstones."
* A fun interactive maze game for the kids titled "Journey To The Toymaker."
* Another creative activity for the kids titled "Tom And Jerry's Holiday Story Factory." This extra is on DVD-ROM.
"Tom And Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale" is a rushed animated feature that was simply made to cash in on the Christmas holiday. Avoid this one and rent or buy a holiday classic like the animated Grinch.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.