A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this crossover movie between Tom and Jerry and The Wizard of Oz plops the classic Hanna-Barbera duo into the story of Dorothy's landing over the rainbow. Like all Tom and Jerry cartoons, you can expect loads of slapstick, cartoonish violence, here with a bit of added creepiness thanks to the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys. But because Tom and Jerry have to band together to rescue Dorothy, there's slightly less antagonism than in their other cartoons -- plus more musical numbers to lighten the mood.
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What's the story?
The story of TOM AND JERRY & THE WIZARD OF OZ is basically the same as the original Wizard of Oz, with the legendary cat-and-mouse duo along for the ride. They're swept into Oz right along with their friends Dorothy (voiced by teen jazz singer Nikki Yanofksy) and Toto after a twister drops her house on the Wicked Witch of the East. Tom and Jerry follow Dorothy, who has skipped ahead on the Yellow Brick Road, and find their own young friend, Tuffy, who'd like the gift of height from the Wizard. As they catch up to Dorothy and her three new friends, Tom and Jerry find themselves having to put their differences aside to save everyone from the evil Wicked Witch of the West, so they can all get back home to Kansas.
Is it any good?
As iffy an idea as it might originally seem, this crossover is actually quite entertaining. Yanofsky has an amazing voice, which -- while not Judy Garland's brand of perfection -- sparkles with the same depth and vulnerability. Of course, Dorothy isn't in the story as much as Tom and Jerry, but when she sings, she soars, and it makes the whole production much more palatable. Tom and Jerry still fight, as always, but they're also partners in this adaptation, and as such, the slapstick is slightly less over-the-top than it often is in the cartoon.
There are families for whom Tom and Jerry are strictly on the do-not-watch list, and it's doubtful that this addition in their filmography will make any difference. But for those who are willing to give the classic Hanna-Barbera duo a try, this is a good entry point, since so many children know The Wizard of Oz. With its familiar story, surprisingly good animation (the Kansas bits are sepia-toned and the Oz sequences in vivid colors), and memorable songs, families could do loads worse on a rainy afternoon than revisit Dorothy through the eyes of Tom and Jerry.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of crossover stories. Why it funny to watch Tom and Jerry enter the story of the Wizard of Oz? What other movies might make good crossovers for the cat and mouse?
Critics of Tom and Jerry have complained about their persistent violence toward each other. Do you think the violence has less impact because it's animated?
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