Sunday, December 11, 2011

Video Review: Tom And Jerry & The Wizard Of Oz

Two of MGM's most enduring properties have been the Tom And Jerry cartoons, and the 1939 movie of The Wizard Of Oz. So it was possibly only a matter of time when it was decided to merge both of them in one production. Tom And Jerry And The Wizard Of Oz is a new title from Warner Home Video in their ongoing series of Tom And Jerry animated flicks that takes a cue from Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead where this story takes place in the context of the original movie story, but Tom and Jerry could've been seen as secondary characters who get taken along for the ride along, with a few of the other regular Tom And Jerry characters making cameos.

In this storyline Tom and Jerry are workers on the Gale farm(but not farm animals!), and promise Aunt Em to stop fighting to watch after Dorothy(apparently Toto isn't smart enough to do that!). But then, the twister carries them along with Dorothy and Toto to Oz, where Tom And Jerry are informed by a Munchkin mouse named Tuffy about Dorothy's arrival. The three of them head down the Yellow Brick Road, and get into a situation at a bridge similar to the Kalidah scene from the book. After getting hassled by some crows come, they across the Wicked Witch of the West(convincingly voiced Laraine Newman), who gets her wand broken for her troubles. After getting reunited with Dorothy and her three new friends, they go to the Emerald City. They get into the usual schpeel of touring the city while meeting the Wizard, and revieve their marching orders to go get the Witch's broom. Dorothy gets captured by the flying monkeys, so Tom and Jerry disguise themselves as Winkie guards to sneak in the Witch's castle. They discover Droopy working there as an instructor, and get chased all over the place only to find him wherever they hide at, but eventually find out the Witch's weakness to water. Tom, Jerry, and Tuffy then go through an exuberantly long routine to get a bucket of water, and then finally splash it on the Witch. They then return to the E.C. to reveal that the Wizard's a fake. He agrees to take Dorothy back home by balloon, although she misses her flight. Glinda shows up to give the deus ex machina of getting everyone back to Kansas.

I have to admit I did like this to an extent. They managed to make it a good balance between one of the numerous Tom And Jerry made-for-video animated movies and the original Wizard Of Oz. The film also gives the Oz regulars a good look, although I thought Dorothy might've looked a little too much like a Disney princess. It was directed by Spike Bradt who has done other Tom And Jerry features as well as some of the current Looney Tunes shows, and his appreciation for classic 50s-60s cartoons shows in this production. It's a good watch at least for a rental or whenever its on TV for regular Oz fans, although most modern day youngins might not totally appreciate it.

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