Jetsons: The Movie (1990) – Joseph Barbera & William Hanna

 

Decades after the original series left the air, though it was reinvigorated in the 80s, the Jetsons found their way to the big-screen and that is my next stop with the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

Set in the late 21st century, George (George O’Hanlon), wife, Jane (Penny Singleton), daughter, Judy (my teen crush, Tiffany), son Elroy (Patric Zimmerman), dog, Astro (Don Messick) and robo-maid, Rosie the Robot (Jean Vander Pyl) are relocating to an asteroid in deep space, when George’s boss, Mr. Spacely (Mel Blanc) sends the Jestson family there to run the place.

It seems some company vice-presidents were overseeing it but were never heard from again. George and his brood get up to science fiction comedy and adventure (with the occasional song) as they discover what is really happening out on the remote asteroid.

Spacely is furious that his space factory isn’t churning out sprockets as it should, and after a thorough vetting process, Jetson is selected to go. Hopefully, while learning what is going on, he’ll be able to reconnect with his son, understand his daughter, have some time with Jane, and walk Astro.

Of note, besides the use of Tiffany, is the fact that this was one of the first films to use computer-generated animated images. Beyond that, the film doesn’t offer anything new, the characters and situations were stereotypes and cliches back in the 60s, and they haven’t come very far since then.

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The animation style, excluding the computer work, looks to be on the same level as the broadcast cartoon, it definitely does not feel like it’s on a theatrical scale, although one of Tiffany’s musical numbers is a bit of an 80s impressionistic art-fest.

It is interesting that a lot of the wonder of the show is about the ‘technology’ the family uses in their futuristic world, watching it now, in 2016, it’s amusing to see how a number of them have come to pass in their own way, though some aren’t quite within our reach yet… you know, like the flying vehicles, and household robots (kind of).

And speaking of robots, some of them look like they could be in Futurama!

There are aliens, including one stepping as Judy’s new beau, and a whole bunch that look like multi-coloured, big-eyed ewoks, as the mystery of the sprockets is revealed, you becoming a bit of an environmental story.

This one wasn’t for me, I was never a Jetsons fan, and there isn’t much in the way of arcs, or interesting storytelling. It could have just been a big episode, that came along a decade or two too late.

If you’re going to do a big screen version, you need to update it somehow, give it a bigger look, interesting design, and strong animation, but this one was a swing and a miss on all counts.

Sorry to say.

This time around, I’d rather not meet George Jetson.

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