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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz is a sequel to 2011's Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz. The new story takes place just after Dorothy has returned to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry Gale's farm. Many songs from the classic movie score are included, along with some bright new musical numbers. Tom and Jerry are mostly adjunct players in this action adventure but still provide fun and farcical pratfalls (for example, Tom roasts on a spit and is captured by flying horseshoes) for fans' delight. The bulk of the story belongs to perennial favorites: Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and so on. It's important that the youngest viewers are comfortable with cartoon mayhem as opposed to real scares as it's an action-packed story with a preening, cackling villain, armies of flying monkeys and gnomes, a twister, an earthquake, and tumbles, crashes, wild rides, and heroes often in jeopardy.
What's the story?
The big Kansas tornado has left the Gale farm in shambles in TOM AND JERRY: BACK TO OZ. Dorothy (voiced by Grey Griffin, sung beautifully by Amy Pemberton), Toto, and their friends are worried, too. Auntie Em and Uncle Henry owe a lot of money to BBQ sauce tycoon Mr. Bibb (voiced by Jason Alexander), who's threatening to take all their animals as payment in 24 hours. If that weren't enough, a new adventure begins when Dorothy, along with Toto, Tom, and Jerry, is confronted by the flying monkeys who've come to retrieve the precious ruby slippers, and they're all transported "back to Oz." Certainly, the Wicked Witch is dead! But a new villain threatens the Emerald City. The evil Gnome King (also Jason Alexander) needs the ruby slippers to gain control of Oz, and he'll stop at nothing to get them. It's almost more than Dorothy and her faithful band, including the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, can handle. Will Dorothy escape and save the magical ruby slippers? Will the Gnome King and his armies of monkeys and gnomes be vanquished before he can rule the land? Will Dorothy find a way to save her beloved home from the barbeque man? It's nonstop action and music as the heroes fight back on all fronts, aided by an assortment of other brave (and funny) souls who join their quest.
Is it any good?
By blending solid new musical numbers with the old Oz favorites and including inventive new characters, Spike Brandt, Tony Cerone, and company have made this sequel funny and original. The iconic personalities are back, with fine performances by Joe Alaskey, Michael J. Gough, Rob Paulsen, and Todd Stashwick. They've been joined by Jason Alexander and the wonderful Andrea Martin as Tiger, Queen of the Forest. Even actors in smaller roles, sometimes on-screen only for a few moments, are distinctive. It's all predictable, of course. And filled with cartoon jeopardy. It is, after all, Tom and Jerry. A fun adventure for kids who are comfortable with slapstick violence and cats and mice smashed to smithereens with regularity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about movies for young kids that contain lots of cartoon violence like Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz. In your family, how do you decide when a child is comfortable enough to watch the antics of characters such as Tom and Jerry? Are you aware of how watching violence too early affects a child?
If you've seen Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz, does this sequel measure up to the earlier one? Why, or why not? What do you think makes a sequel successful?
How do you feel about other brands (the Muppets, VeggieTales, Barbie, and so on) making classic stories their own? What do you like about them? How does it make a new version of an old tale more marketable?
- On DVD or streaming: June 21, 2016
- Cast: Grey Griffin, Jason Alexander, Frances Conroy
- Directors: Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone
- Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Wild Animals
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 81 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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