Saturday, June 27, 2015

'Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest' Is Shallow, Nostalgic Fun

As a kid, Tom and Jerry – a property that has been universally beloved by children for generations –  and The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest (as well as the re-runs of the original show) are among the cartoons I enjoyed in Cartoon Network (which heavily featured Hanna-Barbera properties back then).  So it’s understandable that I was easily intrigued by this crossover.  The plot is pretty simple: Tom and Jerry, while having another episode of their cat-and-mouse rivalry, meet Johnny Quest and co. and found themselves entangled in one of their adventures.

I like the old-school animation, and the details of its production – music, action scenes, opening credits, stereotypes (that are borderline racist in today’s standards), etc. – delivers an overall throwback appeal.  The story is predictable and one-dimensional, but it’s not really a disappointment since I wasn’t expecting the quality of the story to be smart.  This is intended to be for kids after all (I showed this movie to my elementary students, and they were enthralled).  However, I still hope there was an effort to put some sophistication since the original fans are – like me – adults already.

This movie has plenty of the usual slapstick fighting between Tom and Jerry (this is their direct-to-video feature after all).  As a kid, I remember these two making me laugh out loud.  Now, it felt that it’s just stale and stupid.  And just like other adults who enjoyed Tom and Jerry as a kid, I’m now capable to notice that Jerry is much of a jerk – if not more so – as Tom.  This makes Tom and Jerry’s style of humor no longer as funny as it was thought to be.  The only part where I chuckled was when Johnny asked Tom and Jerry, “Have you ever been in a chase before?”, and the duo gave each other fleeting glances that seem to mean, “All the time.  We made our career out of it.”

Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest offers nothing of substance and importance.  I felt that if it was longer, it would have become tediously unbearable to watch.  Thankfully, it’s only around an hour long, ensuring an overall fun time.

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