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Jetsons: The Movie Reviews

JETSONS: THE MOVIE allows those who grew up with the successful TV cartoon series not only to visit again their favorite futuristic family, but also to introduce their own children to the Jetsons. However, it's a bit doubtful that 1990s children, brought up on a diet of "The Simpsons," will find the Jetson family as enjoyable as their parents did when they were kids in the 1960s. Regrettably, JETSONS also serves as a sad reminder of the loss of two of Hollywood's top comedy talents, Mel Blanc and George O'Hanlon, both of whom died shortly after completing their vocal chores on this picture. Will anyone ever forget the wonderful voices Blanc provided for Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck? And older filmgoers may remember the delightful "Behind the 8-Ball" short subjects O'Hanlon (who contributes the voice for George Jetson) made for Warner Bros. four decades ago. Still another well-loved voiceover artist, Daws Butler, didn't live long enough to re-create the voice for Elroy, the Jetsons' son. But, fortunately for producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (veterans of so many glorious MGM "Tom and Jerry" cartoons of the 1940s and 50s), Patric Zimmerman proves to be an able replacement for Butler. Besides Elroy, the only other regular Jetson character not voiced by the original actor is Judy Jetson. In an effort to attract a teen audience, the producers chose to hire pop star Tiffany to replace Janet Waldo, whose long list of credits includes a stint as the star of radio's "Corliss Archer" in the late 1940s. Much to the film's credit, however, Waldo contributes other smaller vocal characterizations to JETSONS. The voice of George Jetsons's faithful housewife, Jane, is once again provided by Penny Singleton, another veteran of the Hollywood's Golden Era, best-known for her continuing role as Blondie in both the film series and TV program named for her character. Other noteworthy vocal contributions include Don Messick as Astro, the Jetsons' talking dog; Ronnie Schell as Rudy 2; Dana Hill as Teddy 2; Patti Deutsch as Lucy 2; and Jean Vanderpyl, who is very funny as the Jetsons' automated maid, Rosie the Robot. Though by no means a great animated feature, JETSONS does offer unqualified family entertainment, and it even includes a socially responsive message. While the film is neither brilliant nor hilariously funny, it is frequently quite enjoyable, and fans of the Jetsons will not be disappointed. The producers have sensibly updated all the futuristic gimmicks and gadgets the Jetsons have at their disposal; however, feminists may find that the characters of mother Jane and daughter Judy are badly in need of a makeover, having lost little of their 60s flightiness. It seems both would still rather go shopping than undertake anything of galaxy-shattering importance, though Jane is now at least involved in a community recycling program. There's nothing taxing about the plot. The only difference between the story here and that of a typical Jetsons TV episode is the film's inclusion of a few relevant comments about ecology during the Jetsons' attempt to save a community of cuddly little creatures known as Grungies. Moreover, the major change in the Jetsons' lifestyle is that the family has moved their home from Earth to a garden estate somewhere in the galaxy. George's boss, Mr Spacely (Mel Blanc), has had trouble finding a permanent vice-president for his problem-ridden sprockets factory. Someone or something is sabotaging the plant, and it is up to George to keep the plant running smoothly, thereby providing Mr. Spacely with his coveted one-millionth money-making sprocket. Either George is successful or, like the last four vice-presidents before him, he gets the axe. Eventually, George discovers that it's the Grungies who are fouling up the machinery, but that they are acting in self-defense. When he stumbles upon a way both to preserve the Grungies' home and to see that the one-millionth Spacely sprocket is produced, George becomes everyone's hero. (Violence.)