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It takes very little prodding to get a group of Southerners to sit around and watch a Mark Twain classic like Tom Sawyer. But when you add a soundtrack with names like Rhett Akins, Mark Wills, Lee Ann Womack, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart and Alecia Elliott lending their voices to this classic tale, you have what sounds like a pretty good starting point for a good film. It is that, but there are a few images you will have to get out of your head before you pop this tape into the VCR. First, forget about the eighth grade teacher you had asking you questions about the story you neglected to read the night before. Then, your mindset has to change to accept the characters of the original story as animated characters with the voices of country stars. After that, the story is almost exactly the same with a little 'PC' added to accommodate the delicate sensibilities of the coming twenty first century. Rafting down the waterways of the Mississippi has never looked this good in animation. The characters as well are believable in the way they are portrayed by the Nashville (and Hollywood) faithful voicing them. Tom is voiced by Rhett Akins. Becky Thatcher is voiced by Lee Ann Womack. Mark Wills gives a pretty good Huck. Waylon Jennings is the paternal voice of Judge Thatcher. Waylon is very good in this part, although at times you do imagine the non-animated version of Waylon giving the lines to Tom and Becky. Hank Williams Jr. gives a positively fear inspiring voice to the bad guy in this version of Tom Sawyer who is known as 'Injurin' Joe'. Country newcomer Alecia Elliott makes a good tomboy as Amy Lawrence, Tom and Huck's friend from school. Anyone who has ever pictured Marty Stuart wearing a preacher's robe giving a powerful sermon to a willing, thirsty congregation will be pleased with his version of the Reverend. Hollywood is represented by Don Knotts voicing Mutt Potter, Betty White plays Aunt Polly and Richard Kind is the schoolteacher Mr. Dobbins. All in all, the story plays pretty well as long as you remember this isn't what you spent those hours in American Literature reading. The soundtrack adds a great deal to this story, too. This combination of computer enhanced animation and Nashville sound gave the group of people watching the video here in CyberCountry reasons not to get up for another plate of nachos! If you are in the mood for some classic Southern literature updated for your family, then this MGM original should be just the way to go!

NOTE: This is a version of the story Tom Sawyer you will be quite safe letting anyone watch. You will also be quite safe in inviting over your friends to watch you are trying to introduce to country music.