TOM AND JERRY: A NUTCRACKER TALE
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
Directed by: Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone
Studio: Warner Bros.
BY KEVIN CARR
Ever since I was a child watching the old “Tom and Jerry” cartoons on our local affiliate after school, I have recognized that the old Hanna-Barbera episodes are the best. By the 1960s, the flair had fizzled, giving us bizarre Gene Deitch drug trips. Chuck Jones revitalized the franchise in the late 60s, but they never reached their former glory – or the glory of Jones’ Looney Tunes shorts.
Any time there’s been a new attempt at “Tom and Jerry,” I have looked upon it with skepticism, partly because I know they’ll never be made with all the old politically-incorrect glory, and partly because I’m a purist at heart. So, I came to “Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale” with some trepidation.
However, after watching the 50-minute original movie, I found myself warming up to it. Sure, it’s not the same as the old Hanna-Barbera days, but I’ve accepted that it will never be. This new original movie has a lot of charm, though.
It tells the story of Jerry, who is a ballet fan and lives in a theatre with his pal Tuffy (who continues to speak in a French accent, a throw-back to the old Hanna-Barbera shorts). The theatre is enchanted, which brings the Nutcracker props to life. Jerry takes the role as the prince and must save a captured ballerina from the Cat King. Tom, as one of the King’s henchmen, is pitted against the mice in an ironic role reversal from the original story.
What gives this show life is its deft use of the classical music, much in the way the old Warner Bros. cartoons would do. Even if you aren’t familiar with the Nutcracker music, you’ll enjoy how things fit together. The filmmakers are true to the spirit of Tom and Jerry while updating the image for a modern animation style.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film, and my young children did as well. This DVD offers a fine choice for holiday family fun.