This is the first feature-length Tom and Jerry film. It also received a wide theatrical release and marked their return to theatrical releases after 25 years. Although largely mute in the original cartoons, the pair talk extensively in this film. Joseph Barbera, co-founder of Hanna-Barbera and co-creator of Tom and Jerry, served as creative consultant.
This was Dana Hill's last film before her death on July 15, 1996. It was released on July 30, 1993, in the United States, after having its world premiere on October 1, 1992 in Germany, and grossed $3.6 million. It was filmed in 1991, received average reviews from critics and extreme negative reviews from fans and audiences who compared it to The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers.
While moving house with their owners, Tom and Jerry get into a chase, and Tom nails Jerry inside his mousehole with floorboards, and is pleased to have kept the mouse from coming with him, but misses the moving van and is forced to stay in the house after angering a nearby bulldog. The house is demolished the next morning with Tom going back inside to rescue Jerry, leaving them both homeless. Wandering through the city, they meet a dog, Puggsy, and his flea friend, Frankie, when Tom and Jerry introduce themselves they are both surprised at the fact that the other can talk. Puggsy and Frankie try to persuade them to be friends. While finding food from some nearby bins for a feast, Puggsy and Frankie are captured by two dogcatchers, while Tom and Jerry end up in a tussle with some alley cats. They escape after Jerry fools them into falling into the sewer.
They then cross paths with an eight-year-old girl, Robyn Starling, who has run away from home. She tells them that since her mother died in childbirth and her father was apparently killed in a recent avalanche, she has been living with her evil guardian, "Aunt" Pristine Figg, her scheming lawyer and boyfriend, Lickboot, and her overweight skateboarding dog, Ferdinand, but ran away after Figg threw Robyn's locket out of the window. Despite Robyn's misgivings, Tom and Jerry persuade her to return home and they are taken in as pets. Tom and Jerry, end up in a massive food fight with Ferdinand, and stumble across a telegram confirming that Robyn's father is still alive which Figg hides from Robyn. Figg sends them to an animal shelter run by Dr. Applecheek, who turns out to be a cruel animal kidnapper, and the true employer of the two dogcatchers who caught Puggsy. Reuniting with Puggsy and Frankie in the cells, Tom and Jerry tell them all that has happened, then stage an escape and free all of Applecheek's captured animals, among them Droopy, and rush to tell Robyn the news. Elated, Robyn becomes determined to find her father in Tibet and they escape the city on a raft in the river, but the raft is struck by a ship and they end up separated. Figg places a $1 million bounty on Robyn without even planning to give that kind of money, while Mr. Starling is alerted of his daughter's situation and rushes back to America to find her.
Robyn is found by Captain Kiddie, the owner of a failing amusement park, and he houses her until seeing an ad for the reward on a milk cardboard with the help of his parrot puppet Squawk, upon which he traps Robyn on the ferris wheel and contacts Figg. Tom and Jerry also find Robyn and they flee in a paddle boat as Figg, Lickboot, Applecheek and the dogcatchers arrive. A long chase ensues, in which the dogcatchers end up trapped in the ferris wheel and Kiddie and Applecheek are left stranded in the river. Following the river, Tom, Jerry and Robyn arrive at Robyn's summer cabin (Build by her father), but Figg, Lickboot, and Ferdinand have arrived first. In the ensuing scuffle, a lantern is knocked over and the cabin is set on fire. As Figg, Lickboot, and Ferdinand end up stuck on Robyn's boat which goes off out of control, Tom and Jerry manage to get Robyn to the roof just as Mr. Starling arrives in his helicopter. Robyn is saved, but Mr. Starling is unable to reach Tom and Jerry in time before the cabin collapses. They only barely survive and are reunited with Robyn.
In the aftermath, Robyn takes Tom and Jerry in as her pets. Just when it appears that they have found friendship, old habits die hard and the duo resume their antics. The film closes as Tom chases Jerry once again.Richard Kind as Tom
Dana Hill as Jerry
Anndi McAfee as Robyn Starling
Charlotte Rae as Aunt Pristine Figg
Tony Jay as Lickboot
Ed Gilbert as Puggsy, Mr. Starling
David Lander as Frankie Da Flea
Rip Taylor as Captain Kiddie
Howard Morris as Squawk
Henry Gibson as Dr. J. Sweetface Applecheek
Michael Bell as Ferdinand, Straycatcher #1
Sydney Lassick as Straycatcher #2
B. J. Ward as Tom's owner
Greg Burson as Moving man
Don Messick as Droopy
Raymond McLeod as Bulldog
Tom and Jerry: The Movie received negative reviews from critics. Although the animation was praised, criticism focused on the musical numbers, sub-par voice acting, dark content, and poor plot which doesn't focus on the titular characters. The fact that Tom and Jerry have full dialogue and become allies instead of chasing each other was hated by fans of the original cartoons. One critic from the Los Angeles Times said the movie was unoriginal, noting the similarities between it and the Disney movies The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers.
Joseph McBride of Variety remarked, "Tom and Jerry Talk won't go down in film history as a slogan to rival 'Garbo Talks'." Charles Solomon of the Los Angeles Times criticized the film's songs. Solomon also criticized Phil Roman for his direction. Hal Hinson of The Washington Post complained about the dialogue between the cat and mouse, and said that the voices "don't fit the characters". Hinson also said that the musical numbers are "forgettable as they are intolerably bouncy and upbeat".
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, on their show Siskel & Ebert gave the movie "Two Thumbs Down", though praising the animation, look and the truthful art design of the animated shorts, neither thought that it was a good idea to give dialogue to the two characters, giving lack of more slapstick action from past cartoons and that the story was silly, even considering that the character of Robyn Starling takes most of the attention than the cat and mouse themselves.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times gave a positive review of the film. Canby praised Henry Mancini's score to the movie and musical numbers. Canby later went on to say, "[the characters of] Tom and Jerry have charm." As of June 2016, review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 18% of critics gave positive reviews on the film, based on 11 reviews.
The film opened in the United States and Canada on July 30, 1993, the same weekend as Rising Sun, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and So I Married an Axe Murderer. Opening at #14 on its opening weekend, the film made $3,560,469 at the North American box office, making it financially unsuccessful.
A video game based on the movie was released for the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear in 1993 followed by a hand held game by Tiger Electronics released that same year.
- "Friends to the End" - Pugsy, Frankie, Tom, Jerry
- "What Do We Care? (The Alley Cats Song)" - The Alley Cats
- "Money Is Such a Beautiful Word" - Aunt Figg, Lickboot
- "God's Little Creatures" - Dr. Applecheek
- "I Miss You (Robyn's Song)" - Robyn
- "I've Done It All" - Captain Kiddie, Squawk
- "Finale (Friends to the End)"
- "I Miss You" (End Title) - Stephanie Mills
- "All in How Much We Give" - Stephanie Mills
A soundtrack album was released by MCA Records in 1992 and included both the songs and score from the film, composed by Henry Mancini.
All tracks written by Henry Mancini.
The movie was first released on VHS and Laserdisc on October 26, 1993 by Family Home Entertainment. Then it was re-released on VHS on March 2, 1999 and the first time made its DVD debut on March 26, 2002 by Warner Home Video, although despite receiving a UK VHS release from First Independent Films, no Region 2 DVD release is as of yet currently available.