At the Movies #2- Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes

Welcome back to the theatre!  Today we’re gonna take a look at Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes.  I wasn’t expecting much from this, but I was blown away.  Just a standard-ish review this time, so significantly less spoilers ahoy.

The first thing you will notice is this movie is pretty.  The animation is in the classic style, and it is awesome.  All it takes to see this is the badass opening scene, robbery performed by three cats with freakin’ jet packs.

In this movie, Jerry is cast as Sherlock Holmes’ little apparently super genius mouse buddy that performs dangerous experiments in his hole in the wall and who he trusts enough to go get his paper, although if it always goes so poorly (the only bit of paper he makes it back with is the main plot point of the film), one has to wonder why.  Being chased by Tom didn’t help though.  Speaking of Tom, he is cast as a maitre d’ (I guess) of the low class club Red sings and dances at (wolf cameos FTW!).  He was actually on his way to see Holmes when , sent by Red.  Droopy, Butch, Spike & Tyke, and Tuffy all play supporting roles of various import, the latter being the most.  There are several other cameos of old characters too.

I’m not sure how, but they manage to fit classic Tom and Jerry shenanigans and characters into an otherwise pretty serious plot by (UNSPOILER) Moriarty (Really, an animated Sherlock Holmes adaptation intended for a younger crowd and you were expecting someone other than his arch-foe?  Child please…).  It all works though.  Tom and Jerry are not bestest buddies as they usually seem to be in most of their movies.  Holmes explicity tells them they must learn to coexist if they are to help Red, but they really don’t work together well at all until things get serious.  The cat-and-mouse games are still there, and much like the old cartoons, Jerry doesn’t take the worst of it, but does get knocked around some.  That was always why I preferred Tom and Jerry of Looney Tunes, where no matter how much of a douchenozzle Bugs Bunny (or that heinous little bastard Tweety, just as egregiously) would be, he never got any comeuppance at all.  Ever.  So it was great to see things not being one-sided.  And Jerry really took a beating here, even in not getting the worst of it by a long shot.

Like I said, even with the characters involved (and the steampunkishness of the scheme), the story is played pretty straight. Unexpectedly to Holmes though, most of the work unexpectedly falls upon Tom, Jerry, Red, and later Tuffy (as a mouse of faith-contact of Jerry’s who offers to hide them in the church and gets caught up in the action) as they have to avoid the po-po (mainly Droopy and Butch when Red is implicated as the mastermind behind the jetpack cat heists.  Holmes and Watson end up on a literal wild goose chase and only come back into the main story just in time for the excellent climax, which of course leaves the bulk of the time for Tom and Jerry to work their misadventurous magic.  The movie just cuts to Holmes and Watson doing actual dull detective work occasionally while the stars of the show have all the excitement happen to them for the bulk of the movie, which makes the pacing fast and fun as it should be.  It never really drags at any point throughout.

The Good: The voice acting, OMG!  Michael York and John Rhys-Davies play Holmes and Watson, respectively, and Malcolm McDowell is Moriarty.  And they are all f***ing awesome!

The animation is stellar, as noted.  The pacing is good.  Spike and Tyke’s small parts are probably the funniest bits in the entire movie.  Good plot, great villainous scheme by Moriarty, fun climax.  Also good is there is no ugly to speak of here.

The Bad: Butch and Droopy.  I guess there was nothing wrong with them, I’ve just never have cared for them.  The very end of the movie annoyed me for some reason.  Everyone reverting back to form kinda bummed me out.

Fun Facts:

Several cameos by characters from classic shorts, mainly in the bar scene.

A few references to stars of fondly remembered Holmes portrayals.

Holy Hand Grenade sighting!  Presumably it’s supposed to be the Sovereign’s Orb, being the crown jewels & all, but it looked more like the Holy Hand Grenade to me.  Tom even double-takes at it when he has it in his hands briefly, if I recall correctly.

Final Score: I give it a 4/5.  Just a fantastic movie.  It’s a worthwhile entry as both a Holmes story and a Tom and Jerry tale, which is just mind-boggling.  If you are a fan of either or both, or just animation in general, SEE IT.

That’s all for this one, folks.  On the movie front, I may review Cop Out in the near future and also begin taking a look at the Father’s Day/Birthday present I picked up for my dad (if I’m feeling brave enough, because oh boy…), that being the 1943 Batman Serial!  On the card front, pictures of the cheese from my latest (and last for the foreseeable future) packs of cards, and maybe some scans of trades and group breaks and COMC orders and stuff if my lazy arse gets around to editing them.  Aside from all that, I also have Topless Robot contest winnins from a couple weeks ago to share, and more(i)art(y), of course.  Yaharr, that was a bad pun…

Until our next…

At the Movies #1- Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword

Yeah, let’s do this!  I totally failed to get any scanning done today, but I did watch a couple cartoon movies on Cartoon Network yesterday, released in the last couple years.  So I may as well quickly review them here while I’ve got a minute.  Going to try a little “Misunderstood Masterpieces” style for this one, so of course that means SPOILERS AHOY!

First the bad movie: Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword.  It was entertaining, but not usually for the right reasons.  My dad & me had fun riffing on all the nonsensical things going on though.  The story opens with museum curator Mr. Takagawa (Sab Shimono doing his Uncle voice from Jackie Chan Adventures, which we found absolutely hilarious) and pink haired janitor Kenji (Gedde Watanabe) running into trouble with The Black Samurai’s (Kevin Michael Richardson) ghost.  Meanwhile the Scooby gang arrives in Japan so Daphne can compete in a (presumably) prestigious martial arts tournament.  Along the way we meet one Daphne’s friend and the only character besides Daph that doesn’t come off as irritating and/or pointless in Miyumi (Kelly Hu).  Seriously, even Fred and Velma don’t really do anything of note in this movie, especially the former.  Scooby & Shaggy are pretty annoying too until they take a level in badass later on.

They take a badass looking AI controlled jet (that never once goes out of control or breaks down, surprisingly enough) to the island dojo.  Uncle Takagawa is already there trying to warn the head of the place, Miss Mirimoto (also Kelly Hu), of the Black Samurai’s reappearance.  Once there, Daphne tosses Miss Mirimoto’s giant assistant Sojo (Also Kevin Michael Richardson) like a ragdoll.  Then we meet others in the tournament, who do absolutely nothing of note besides getting their asses kicked by ninja (robots).  Irish strongman and femme fatale with eyepatch are harmless if underutilized, but the guy that acts like a dog is painfully stupid and hard to watch.  And guess who gets the majority of the screentime of the three… Anyway, Miyumi and Daphne have a pretty good fight followed by a little mind-boggling les yay between Daph and Miss Mirimoto I noticed three such les yay-ish moments, and they are glorious).

At the evening’s feast the ninjabots attack and kick the other three’s asses and chase everyone around, to the worst music since that New Scooby Movies episode where Jerry Reed sang the same f***ing song 37 times in one episode.  The music in this movie SUCKED, adding to the whole unevenness of the production.  Anyway, after hijinks finished ensuing and Miss Mirimoto has a good but all-too-brief fight with the Black Samurai, who escapes with the scroll he was after.  But then they go get the real scroll and figure out it’s riddle.  We get the background on the Black Samurai’s legend, which was pretty cool actually.  Then off in the cool plane to some random spooky island to retrieve his evil sword before he can get it and return himself back to life, narrowly escaping natives and the Black Samurai to get it, who crashes and burns revealing himself to be Sojo.

Once they bring it back though, Miss Mirimoto inexplicably turns out to be the mastermind behind this and intends to revive the real Black Samurai, and captures our heroes, her reluctant student Miyumi joining her and Sojo.  Seriously, totally out of the blue.  I guess there were a couple of clues, but they were extremely vague.  Anyway, Scooby and Shaggy escape with the Sword of Doom via Sojo as the Black Samurai’s jetpack, while Uncle and the rest of the gang are trapped in the closet with R. Kelly or wherever they are.  After escaping back to the mainland and getting away from the ninja robots to more shameful music, Scooby and Shaggy crash in front of a sushi bar run by an old man (Keone Young) with a weird accent.

As an aside, all the important Japanese characters speak fluent English, but not a damn one of them use even remotely coherent accents.  Miyumi is generic youthful Asian woman, Kenji does the guy version, Miss Mirimoto is a generic villainous, Takagawa is Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures who was Chinese, Sojo is mostly just gruff, this guy Matsuhiro seems to be vaguely channeling Bobcat Goldthwait, and George Takei’s brief cameo is with more of a British accent.

Anyway, after a cringe-inducing line or three from Shaggy (including a “Me so hungry” when offered miso soup), the ninjabots attack again, and Matsuhiro grabs his sword and slices the sh*t out of most of them in a cool scene.  The others get the Doomy Doom Sword and escape though.  All that’s left to do now is to find the Green Dragon (Brian Cox) that originally defeated the Black Samurai and get his help to save the day.  Shaggy & Scooby get a lil training from Bobcat and set off to find the dragon, who gives them the rest of the backstory, spiffy samurai gear, and his Sword of Fate, and flies them off to the resurrection site.  Somewhere in there Kenji dopily came along and freed the gang and they headed off to try and prevent the resurrection.

They watch from a nearby roof and see Miyumi show her true true colors, taking off with the sword in an effort to prevent the resurrection.  Velma and Kenji MacGuyver up an EMP blast that destroys the pursuing ninjabots, followed by a much more powerful accidental burst THAT KNOCKS OUT ALL THE ELECTRICITY IN TOKYO FOR NO APPARENT REASON AND IS NEVER FOLLOWED UP ON.

The baddies still get the sword back of course and the newly resurrected Black Samurai immediately turns on Miss Mirimoto and KOs her like nuthin’ (Sojo got knocked out by the resurrection itself, in his underpantaloons no less).  He forces everyone conscious to bow before his awesomeness as the Green Dragon enters the sword and Shag & Scoob arrive/crash land on the scene.  Another solid fight scene ensues as the startlingly competent duo put up a good fight until their inborn cowardice starts getting the best of them, leading to the funniest bit in the entire movie.  Matsuhiro’s words of wisdom echo and they think it’s in their heads, but it turns out he’s standing on a nearby roof with a megaphone.  Comedy gold.  With their minds clear once more, they manage to break the Sword of Doom and it’s curse, freeing the Black Samurai and allowing him to die peacefully after he thanks them (Takei’s 30 second at most cameo from which he undoubtedly received several hundred thousand dollars for).

Scooby gets a statue (calling back to the beginning of the movie), which looks to be made of cheese by the way, and we never find out what happens to Miss Mirimoto or Sojo.  The gang offers to let Miyumi to travel with them, but she decides to follow her own path and as the only really good character in this silly mess of a movie besides Daphne, I’d much rather follow her down that path than watch another Scooby DVD movie any time soon.

The Good: the plot (sadly wasted here), fight scenes, Miyumi, Brian Cox as the Green Dragon, Scooby & Shaggy’s brief competence

The Bad: the vast majority of the humor, lazy characterization, lazy voice acting, awkward pacing, a bunch of nonsensical moments, villains should’ve been much less lame than they ended up being, tone too light for story (this one might’ve been better suited to be darker ala the late-1990s/early-2000s Scooby movies)

The Ugly: the music, the dog guy

Facts that aren’t fun at all.  In fact they are quite sad:

This was apparently Casey Kasem’s last run voicing Shaggy.

This was also the last movie animated in What’s New, Scooby-Doo style.

Final Score: I give it a 2/5.  There is plenty of stupid fun to have here, so this isn’t a tedious affair at least.  It’ll breeze by quickly.  Plus Daphne and Miyumi briefly wearing coconut and seashell bikinis, respectively.  Ha! 😛

That’s all for this one, peeps.  Stay tuned for my next post in which I take a look at Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes (hint: It’s WAY better).

Rit’s Ron Rotts! Ree-heeheehee…