Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz (2011)

Starring: Grey DeLisleKath SoucieLaraine NewmanRob Paulsen

Watching the original “Wizard of Oz” as a kid I was able to just watch and enjoy the story. As I grew older, the internet and school began to warp my perceptions and make me more critical of unimportant details (fun fact kids: don’t go to art school–EVER). So after re-watching the MGM classic for this monthly-themed review, I began to notice some things that didn’t quite make sense. Was it just easier for the production crew to skip over some details or was their something else in play? Perhaps something… furry?

Enter Tom and Jerry, the timeless cat and mouse duo intent on slapping each other silly. On a distant Kansas farm these two mortal enemies can only agree on one thing: the well-being of Dorothy (DeLisle). When the tornado strikes, they helplessly get carried along to the Land of Oz.  There they meet a munchkin mouse who takes them on a parallel path to Dorothy, allowing them to protect her from the evil machinations of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Acknowledging that the source material is the 1939 movie instead of the book doesn’t get more extreme than recreating scenes from said film to the letter. No joke. With the exception of Tom and Jerry and their antics being added, each shot is a faithful construct of the original. And those extra shots? Well, they uncover new truths to those questionable moments. I love the parallel play.

Not knowing how that dress remained spotless has bothered me for years.

We’re given the additional character of Tuffy, the Munchkin mouse. He’s not really a new character as he’s often enough seen as the gray mouse in the old cartoons. Tuffy acts as more of a catalyst, seemingly making himself the only reason some events progress or how situations make themselves worse. And while other characters from the series do make appearances, they aren’t companions to Tom and Jerry the way that Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion are to Dorothy. I must admit that I’m a little disappointed they didn’t try to add in a flying monkey, porcelain doll, or kalidah as sidekicks, but I can see how having that many characters involved would make things messy.

Other characters from the MGM universe make appearances in this movie. I’m always happy to see Droopy do his routine where he’s in every room, but I am disappointed that Spike the bulldog didn’t make an appearance. He would have easily fit as a protector for Dorothy, but instead he is replaced by Butch who turns out to be more of a villain. And as annoying as I’m sure some people find him, I do have a soft spot for Quacker. I guess that means I wanted more characters than I was given. Does that make me spoiled?

That hat would never fit a talking mouse! This is so unrealistic!

Something that really disappointed me was the presentation. From the beginning we’re given scenes entirely in color. I was enthralled by the frame for frame shots, but once they arrive in Oz I suddenly realized the shock of adding color like the MGM film was missing. This is even more disappointing as one of the special features allows you to watch the movie with the beginning and end in sepia. I really wish this had been the original presentation, but they probably figured modern audiences would find it bland and boring and turn it off. Stupid educational system…

This little movie is silly and pretty much everything you’d expect from a Tom and Jerry cartoon made by Warner Bros. There’s nothing truly wrong with it and it’s great that it follows the famous film so closely. The classic slapstick of this duo always gets a thumbs up in my book.

Rating: Watch it. Own it if you’re a fan of the 1939 film.

Watch: Parallel play to the Judy Garland movie.
Don’t watch: Because you’re a boring, gray individual and a victim of the education system.

Images © Time Warner

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