In an era of direct-to-DVD mashups that’s seen Scooby-Doo visit Wrestlemania and the Flintstones team up with WWE wrestlers, it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising to see Tom and Jerry team up with Jonny Quest.
But it is. These are characters that I never once thought inhabited (or should inhabit) the same world.
In fact, I can’t seem to grasp who the target audience is here. Although my daughter enjoys classic Jonny Quest, neither of these franchises is incredibly popular with today’s kids. While there’s at least a current incarnation of The Tom and Jerry Show on Cartoon Network, Jonny Quest hasn’t been on TV in 13 years. And the original show, which Spy Quest bases its character designs on, dates back to 1965.
So kids might be drawn to Tom and Jerry, but are they interested in Jonny Quest? Nostalgia for Jonny Quest might draw in some adults, but will they bother to look further once they see the cat and mouse?
Curious. However, a live-action Jonny Quest movie is in the works, so maybe that’s the catalyst here.
In any case, Tom & Jerry: Spy Quest exists as a thing you can buy and watch. So how is it?
Let me put all my cards on the table. I love me some Jonny Quest. Old-school, 1960s Jonny Quest. Tom and Jerry? I was never much of a fan, even as a kid. I went into this one (with my kids) hopeful, as a fan of Jonny, Hadji, Bandit, Race Bannon, and Dr. Quest.
The movie starts out strong, I’ll give it that. The opening credit sequence is lifted straight from the original Jonny Quest series. It’s the classic opening… with Tom and Jerry inserted into almost every scene. It’s actually pretty great.
You might be curious how these two worlds collide. I’ll tell you: it’s on a Florida beach–where all great stories begin. Tom and Jerry are doing what they do, and they run into Bandit. Of course.
You might also be curious which incarnations of the characters appear. I’ve already told you that this is the classic Jonny Quest gang (no New Adventures or Real Adventures nonsense here). It’s also classic Tom and Jerry. In other words, they don’t talk. Tom screams a whole lot, but neither of them utters a word. Thankfully.
What’s it about? Let me just put the official synopsis here and let that do the dirty work:
When longtime Quest family nemesis Dr. Zin discovers that Jonny‘s father, Dr. Benton Quest, has a device to solve the world’s energy problems, he sends his evil cat army to steal it and capture him and his bodyguard, Race Bannon. Jonny and his new furry friends set out on an action-packed quest to find his father and save the world from the malicious Dr. Zin.
Yep, evil cat army.
In terms of story, it’s fairly cookie cutter. But there’s some brilliant dialogue, including these gems:
- Race Bannon punches a giant, man-eating crab and says, “Not on my watch!”
- After Tom blows himself up to a blackened crispy cat, the Quest gang quip, “Well, I’m definitely not in the mood for barbecue! Hahahahahaha.”
- As the evil cat army tracks down Tom, Jerry, Jonny, and Hadji, the leader shouts, “You take care of the cats, and I’ll take care of the brats.”
Somebody start polishing some awards.
The movie is essentially a long Jonny Quest episode interspersed with Tom and Jerry chase scenes and fighting. Sure, I guess they all work together to rescue Dr. Quest and Race, but the plot is razor thin, and it basically just moves from one gag to the next.
Alas, poor Hadji is still relegated to a supporting and stereotypical role, which is unfortunate on several levels. And not worth expounding on further. I think you can draw your own conclusions.
Positives? It was nice to see Jezebel Jade (one of the few female characters from classic Quest) factor prominently in the story. Veteran actor James Hong turns in a great performance as the villain Dr. Zin. All of the other main actors do an admirable job in mimicking the sound of the Quest gang.
And the climax of the movie does something with the Washington Monument that I’ve never seen before. Which maybe made the whole thing worth the 73-minute investment.
Special features include a few episodes from The Tom and Jerry Show, Jonny Quest, and New Adventures of Jonny Quest.
(Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD for review purposes. All opinions remain my own.)