“Tom & Jerry: Blast off to Mars” (2005) Review
May 13, 2017
Written by Jambareeqi
In “Tom & Jerry: Blast off to Mars”, the cat and mouse duo are playing chase but end up caught in the middle of a mission to Mars. Once on Mars, Tom & Jerry are abandoned by the human astronauts that unknowingly took them there but Mars isn’t completely Barron! No, tiny Martians live on the red planet and they mistake the two as invaders.
Like with most Tom & Jerry straight to video features, this movie squeezes our furry twosome in the middle of someone else’s story. As Tom and Jerry aren’t astronauts selected for this mission to Mars, the movie keeps finding ways to contrive them into the mission at any costs and their involvement can feel forced into the story.
However, once we arrive on Mars and the real space explorers ditch our cat and mouse, then the movie can finally centre on their antics! There’s actually some creative room for the premise of the Tom & Jerry formula set on Mars because the rodent and feline are forced to fight for survival. With Jerry adapting just fine and utilising abandoned space equipment, while Tom struggles to start a fire and makes Jerry suffer for his own incompetence.
But this solid comedic setup doesn’t last long, you can tell that Warner Bros. weren’t confident with having just Tom and Jerry doing their thing on their own and so the Martians were introduced. At first, it is pretty funny seeing Tom taking advantage of his size to threaten the Martians but that idea is quickly forgotten as Tom gets easily captured. Instead, the film shifts it focus onto a last minute plot about the Martians waging war on Earth, and the whole trapped on Mars arc is quickly solved.
I think that’s my biggest problem with the movie, it has little glimmers of potentially funny setups but it just wants to keep the ball rolling and rely on our talking characters to keep the narrative moving forward. Such wasted potential indicates how shy Warner Bros. are about sticking to the Tom & Jerry formula, fearing that the silent comedy will bore kids watching because they assume children will press the stop button as soon as no one talks.
Despite the forced storytelling and reluctance to give us some Tom against Jerry on Mars action, the movie is surprisingly funny and did make me laugh almost half a dozen times. There’s a couple gags that are pretty good, like the Martian king taking way so long to get down the towering stairs, that a pair of Martians make time to get married and start a family haha!
However, not every joke works and this is mainly thanks to the cheap production values. The animation is REALLY held back, as if the animators could only afford oh so many frames per scene and this means that characters can’t express themselves very much. Their faces are restrained and don’t get to really show their cartoony emotions, so their anger, frustration, fear or embarrassment just isn’t exaggerated enough to make us laugh at their pain or suffering.
The music is also jaw dropping in terms of awfulness, sounding more like one keyboardist in his bedroom than an orchestra of brass & string players. The music in Tom & Jerry is usually great at supporting or enhancing the animated action and while this movie does frequently try to create a rhythm to match the onscreen visuals, it completely lacks in visceral impact. It also bugs me, or even almost frightens me, that when the music attempts to provide Jerry’s laugh, it sounds more like an evil doll’s cackle than a cute mouse’s giggle.
As the movie tries to surround our cat and mouse duo with other characters, guest voice actors are included in the cast and these talents do add a little spark to the lacklustre content. The likes of Billy West, Jess Harnell and Tom Kenny lend their voices and prove why they are hired for so many cartoon projects. Although, it’s a little distracting that West voices a dim witted space explorer à la Zapp Brannigan style. and Kenny voices the Martian King almost in the tone of Adventure Time’s Ice King.
To conclude, “Tom & Jerry: Blast off to Mars” is what I expected it to be, the cat and mouse duo forced into the middle of someone else’s space themed story. It does have a few laughs here and there, but there’s so many comedic opportunities that get skipped over, because Warner Bros. were too scared to take chances. The tacky production values also hinder the film from at least being presentable, from the stale animation to the rubbish music score.
I think small children will be entertained by the film, and it’ll keep them quiet for an hour, but fans of Tom & Jerry will be disappointed in the film’s lack of imagination regarding the premise. We COULD have had a movie about the rodent and feline’s rivaled survival on Mars, or Jerry helping the Martians to fight off a giant Tom, but no, this had to be about the talking characters’ story instead.