Tom and Jerry join Willy Wonka in Latest Warner Bros Home Video Original Release

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Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory DVD

Warner Bros. turned in a musical delight when they released TOM AND JERRY: BACK TO OZ, a tale that inserted the cat and mouse duo into a Warner classic story.

So I was particularly keen to see how well an animated version of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY would pan out with Tom and Jerry thrown into the mix.

The result: Good in some places, but otherwise closer to what you might expect when mixing a cat and a mouse with your chocolate.

The larger story is familiar -- good-hearted Charlie Bucket (voiced by LINCOLN MELCHER of NICKY, RICKY, DICKY & DAWN) lives with his poor family and holds out hope for a Golden Ticket to the Wonka Chocolate Factory. His kindness to a hungry Tom and Jerry earns him their friendship, and they do what they can to get him a ticket (which largely revolves around trying to steal a crate of chocolate bars from Spike, who is a delivery truck driver to the candy store). Ultimately, Charlie buys his own Wonka Bar with found money (earned by Tom and Jerry returning glass bottles for deposits), and ends up with the Golden Ticket.

From there, he joins the other four children -- Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Augustus Gloop and Mike Teevee -- at the factory on the assigned day. Again, Tom and Jerry are on hand to get the Golden Ticket back into Grandpa Joe's pocket, since he dropped it at the house.

This sort of thing happens a lot: we see the story play out almost verbatim to the film, with JP KARLIAK turning in a fairly decent imitation of GENE WILDER as Willy Wonka and EMILY O'BRIEN (who also voices Gamora in the videogame GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE TELLTALE SERIES) excellently captures the petulance of Veruca Salt. But behind all that, Tom and Jerry have snuck into the factory because they want to stop Wonka's competitor, Slugworth, from stealing an Everlasting Gobstopper. Slugworth, paired with Spike, end up chasing the two throughout the background, and between the scenes, with Tom and Jerry making friends with an Oompa Loompa intern, Tuffy the Mouse (an exceptionally good performance from KATH SOUCIE).

Unfortunately, the story doesn't hold up as well with the slapstick bits shoehorned into it. We know that the person we see as Slugworth is actually testing the children, as an employee of Wonka. But his dialogue when he's alone, away from the kids at least, make this particular misdirect less believable, and the use of the Wonkavision gun just gets plain silly at the end.

If you like Tom and Jerry, then watch the bonus cartoon shorts included with this release. If you like Willy Wonka, then by all means put in the original Gene Wilder classic. But TOM AND JERRY: WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY doesn't rise above a curiosity that leaves the viewer feeling that someone's gotten cat in their chocolate--proof that sometimes two great things do not go great together.

Bonus episodes on this release include:

-- Here's Looking A-Choo Kid / Superfied
-- Joy Riding Jokers / Cat Got Your Luggage / City Dump Chumps
-- No Biz Like Snow Biz
-- The Maltese Poodle

Previews for this release include THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE and MAX 2: WHITE HOUSE HERO.

Grade: 
2.5 / 5.0