A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest unites the combative cat and mouse with another of Hanna Barbera's cartoon mainstays: Jonny Quest and his entourage, which includes Jonny's scientist dad, Dr. Benton Quest, hero Race Bannon, and sidekicks Hadji and Bandit the dog. Though some of the Tom and Jerry movies are comic parodies of fairy tales and other cultural phenomena, this movie is strictly "good versus evil," moving its characters from one action sequence to another. Tom and Jerry stop tormenting and smashing each other just long enough to assist Jonny and company in their efforts to stop the ever-evil Dr. Zin from taking over the world. There are enough exaggerated cartoon explosions, falls, hits, battles, narrow escapes, and scary creatures to completely fill the 73-minute viewing time. It's all meant to be funny, with a few jokey stereotypes (villainous Asian scientist, wily and flirtatious temptress) included as well. The movie is best for kids who are comfortably able to distinguish real peril versus comic-cartoon jeopardy.
What's the story?
In TOM AND JERRY: SPY QUEST, the two comic foes, hoping for a relaxing day at the beach, find themselves in a raging battle for the survival of the world when they meet Jonny Quest (voiced by Reese Hartwig) and Hadji (Arnie Pantoja). The boy and his sidekick are under attack from three alien-looking baddies intent on capturing them. Tom and Jerry, along with the heroic Race Bannon (Michael Hanks), intervene, and together the team sets out on a mission to rescue Jonny's dad from a maniacal scientist. The evil Dr. Zin (James Hong) wants to wrest the Q Sphere, an ingenious energy-producing device, from its inventor, Dr. Quest (Eric Bauza), whom he's taken hostage. With an array of villains at hand, it's only a matter of time before Zin can use the Q Sphere for his own devious plan to threaten the planet, starting with the U.S.A. That is, unless Tom, Jerry, Jonny, Hadji, Race, and the faithful dog Bandit can stop him.
Is it any good?
The obvious intent here was to join two prized Hanna Barbera brands, keeping both alive, well, and in the public eye, and it mostly works. Each of the seven main characters is able to exhibit his special aptitudes for the good of the team. And though it's heavily populated with both good guys and bad guys, it's pretty simple to follow the dots. For kids who love to laugh at their favorite characters being pummeled, pulverized, smashed, set on fire, and falling into space, this DVD is a good bet. The filmmaking team has outdone itself on new and original ways to blast, crash, chase, cremate, and scare the heroes and for the heroes to retaliate in kind. It's a free-for-all of cartoon jeopardy, narrow escapes, and mustache-twirling threats, which gets repetitive as the story progresses. For those who like Tom and Jerry better when they're spoofing traditional tales (such as The Wizard of Oz) and finding humor in the follies of popular icons (Sherlock Holmes), it won't have as much appeal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about "crossover" movies. What does the term mean? How do crossover movies help boost sales for more than one franchise?
Dr. Zin has often been the nemesis for Jonny Quest and his dad. Is it helpful to understand the history between Dr. Benton Quest and Dr. Zin? Name some other cartoon characters that have enemies they must battle again and again.
Dr. Quest says, "Fear can't stand in the way of science." Do you agree with him? Why, or why not?
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