Entertainment :: Television

Tom And Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale

by Phil Hall
Saturday Oct 20, 2007
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There’s a dreadful sense of been-there/done-that in watching this straight-to-DVD holiday offering. Although it is supposedly a Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom And Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale seems to borrow more than a few plot elements from Monsters Inc., March of the Wooden Soldiers the Road Runner cartoons, The Little Drummer Boy and even Broadway’s Les Miserables (with a tune that bears more than a passing resemblance to the show’s Master of the House number).

The plot, however, is original to the point of being ridiculous: late on Christmas Eve, a theater that was home to a production of The Nutcracker becomes enchanted with magic from an unexplained source. The toys from the show’s stage decorations come to life, while Jerry the Mouse suddenly achieves balletic skills worthy of the Bolshoi. Another mouse, the French-accented Tuffy, tags along to provide running commentary on the action.

Meanwhile, a group of alley cats invade the theater and capture most of the toys. Jerry, Tuffy, a talking horse on wheels and a collapsing elf escape and follow a mysterious star in the sky with the hope of locating the Toy Maker who can save the day. However, the villainous feline Tom leads a brigade of cats to stop the wee heroes from achieving their goals.

It is hard to determine the exact audience for the film. Older fans of the Tom and Jerry series will probably be bored witless with the verbosity and saccharine elements of the production, while younger viewers should not be exposed to the film’s occasionally abrupt lapses into sadistic violence (Tom gets a hammer in the teeth, a miniature pitchfork in his eye and a one-way trip into a wood chip processing machine).

As for the Christmas spirit, the plotline involving the pursuit of a heavenly star gets an icky solution when a certain fat man in a red suit winds up in the spot once reserved for an infant in the manger. One should not expect an ecumenical pageant from Tom and Jerry, of course, but this holiday switcheroo leaves a decidedly uncomfortable residue that confirms the triumph of the wholesale over the holy.

Interactive computer game, trailers.

Phil Hall is the author of "The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time


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