Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale Movie Poster Image
Classical music and magic add charm to usual comic mayhem.
  • NR
  • 2007
  • 49 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

A beautifully-executed orchestral version of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" plays throughout (with some additional music).

Positive Messages

By using teamwork and good sense, the heroes prevail over the villains.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mouse Jerry and his toy allies are smart, brave, and refuse to give up when the chips are down. The villains are all cats: foolish, headstrong, and inept. A cat, brought into the action presumably to "torture" a toy horse, has a German accent.

Violence & Scariness

Traditional Tom and Jerry cartoon action: chases, explosions, cannonballs, falls, a near-drowning; many characters are repeatedly smashed and pummeled (i.e., Tom's teeth get hammered; a pitchfork gouges his eye). It's all fast-paced cartoonish violence, with short-lived injuries, meant to be funny. A suspenseful sequence concerns a toy horse who loses consciousness, but is revived by magic after a few moments.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Tom and Jerry is a decades-old franchise of cartoons and products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this direct-to-DVD holiday movie, created as a comic tribute to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, is a departure from the traditional Tom and Jerry action-packed cartoons.  Music and magical toys take center stage. While there is still plenty of the usual animated mayhem (Tom and other cats are exploded, set on fire, fall, shot out of a cannon, and more), the music sets a lighthearted tone. It's a sweeter film than other Tom and Jerry offerings... not the classic Nutcracker story, but freely adapted to take advantage of the popular cartoon characters and their antics. Teamwork, resourcefulness, and derring-do, as always, win the day for Jerry and a colorful cast of his compatriots.

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What's the story?

TOM AND JERRY: A NUTCRACKER TALE is a humorous version of the traditional holiday story which uses Tchaikovsky's classical music throughout. The movie finds Jerry with an army of toys that have magically come to life in their ballet theatre "home." The little mouse, a fervent ballet fan, only wants to dance and the toys are there to help. But the company is rudely interrupted by Tom and a brigade of villainous alley cats who've snuck in to spoil their plans. Their aim: to storm the theatre-castle, capture the toys, and rule the domain. What follows are the usual cat-and-mouse battles. The villains almost succeed, but they haven't counted upon Jerry and his band following a brilliant evening star to the workshop of the Great Toy Maker in the sky. The Toymaker (who looks an awful lot like Santa Claus and sounds like him, too!) joins forces with the heroes to face their adversaries. The climactic "The March of The Toy Soldiers" has never felt so fitting.

Is it any good?

It's not classic Nutcracker, and it's not classic Tom and Jerry, but the movie works. The toys who come to life, including a ballerina, a little horse, and an adorable elf ornament, bring a special charm to the traditional cutthroat relationship of the clever mouse and the accident-prone cat. Those toys, their quest, and the iconic musical score carry the story forward, forcing the usual violent antics into the background. Of course, Tom and his cat friends still explode, burn, get hammered, etc. It wouldn't be Tom and Jerry without those moments. But, especially at holiday time, for kids who understand cartoon action, it's a delightful entertainment. Teens and grown-ups might like it, too. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss the cartoon violence in Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale. It's supposed to be funny, and it often is, but is real violence ever funny? Think and talk about why seeing characters get smashed and exploded makes us laugh.

  • The most famous holiday Nutcracker is a ballet, based on an original story called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by E.T.A. Hoffman. Read the original story and/or watch a beautiful filmed version of the ballet, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.

  • This Nutcracker Tale is a parody -- a humorous version of a serious work. Try to write or act out a parody of one of your favorite books, movies, or TV shows.

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