The plot of Jetsons: The Movie basically involves George Jetson uprooting his family to take a job on Mr. Spacely's new asteroid mining colony, where the mining plant keeps malfunctioning for some mysterious reason. Meanwhile, the two Jetson kids have their own subplots. Judy is heartbroken over having lost her terrestrial musician boyfriend Cosmic Cosmo, but soon replaces him with her new extraterrestrial musician boyfriend Apollo Blue. Elroy develops a rivalry and then a friendship with a Robot Kid named Teddy-2.
Jetsons: The Movie reunited nearly all of the original cast members save for '80s pop starlet Tiffany voicing Judy Jetson thanks to Executive Meddling and Patric Zimmerman taking over for the late Daws Butler as Elroy. The film also marked the last performance ever of noted voice artist Mel Blanc (Mr. Spacely), who was still recording while in the hospital (as he had years before then), as well as George O' Hanlon (George), who by that point had to have the lines read and acted to him before recording (both passed away before completing the film and sound-alike Jeff Bergman filled in the few remaining scenes). The film was dedicated in memory of both men. And although she lived until 2003, Penny Singleton (Jane) also ended her acting career with this movie. Meanwhile, prolific Hollywood composer John Debney made his feature debut here.
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: An early example too, predating the famous ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast. Here, it's used for exterior shots of the asteroid mining complex, other buildings, and the like. As a result, the CGI is mostly limited to Establishing Shots and the 2-D characters never quite interact with it. The only aversion to this is the vehicle animation, which is also in 3D, but blends in a bit better with the 2D to the point of actually interacting with the characters.
- 2-D Space: Even in a future with flying cars there are still roads and traffic jams.
- Adaptational Villainy: Mr. Spacely. In the series he is usually a Mean Boss toward George, but in the end he is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. In this movie he is a straight-up Corrupt Corporate Executive, without almost any of his redeeming qualities of the series. (He does seem to be basically redeemed at the end of the film, however, so this might also be counted as a Compressed Vice.)
- Added Alliterative Appeal: George refers to Mr. Spacely as the company's "penny-pinching peaheaded president" in one scene. Also, the middle part of "Spacely's Orbiting Ore Asteroid".
- Adults Are Useless: Elroy, Teddy-2, and Furgie are the only characters who display anything resembling competence when it comes to dealing with the mystery. And after they've set out to solve the mystery, they succeed fairly quickly and with rather little effort too.
- Adult Fear: George and Jane when Elroy is buried during a cave-in and nearly dies.
- Advertised Extra: Cosmic Cosmo appears on the poster even though he's in the movie for literally one minute.
- Alliterative Name: In addition to the regular Jetsons characters, Furgie Furbalow.
- Ambiguous Gender: Furgie. If her father had never stated she was a girl, most viewers might not have known.note . Lampshaded by Rosie after Bertie explains his daughter's gender: "How can ya tell?" Her gender gets another confirmation at the end when Astro hands her back to her parents, saying "Here she is!"
- Animation Bump: Watch an earlier episode of the first season of the show, then look at this movie and see how much the animation quality improved.
- Asteroid Miners: Most of the movie takes place on an asteroid mining colony, known as "Spacely's Orbiting Ore Asteroid". However, the plant is fully automated, so there aren't any actual miners.
- Big Damn Movie: The original show = basically The Flintstones in space. The Movie = taking down a corrupt corporation from within, with the survival of an entire species hanging in the balance.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: George uses a blow-up traffic cop to get through a traffic jam.George: Hahaha! My siren gets better every day!
- Too bad it only works for a short while before a real Skyway Patrol trooper pulls George over for his little stunt and hands him a pin to deflate his phony trooper.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Jetsons manage to convince Mr. Spacely to cooperate with the Grungies without destroying their home. But with the Grungies working at the plant, George is no longer needed there, so the family has to say goodbye to all their new friends and move back to Earth.
- Blatant Lies: Spacely claims he may have heard there might be aliens living in the asteroid but didn't know for sure. George immediately calls him a liar and says he knew all along.George: All you care about is money!
- Calling the Old Man Out: George finally gets to tell his boss off for something - namely, for his plant endangering the Grungie colony, and his own family!Mr. Spacely: What do you think you're doing?!
George: Turning off the plant before you do any more damage! [starts to move his finger towards the activation button]
Mr. Spacely: [quickly runs over and blocks George's path] Stay away from this button! That's an order!
Mr. Spacely: WHAT?!
George: [pushing his nose into Spacely's face] I said "No, sir, Mr. Spacely!"
[The rest of the Jetson family cheer for him]
George:...Man, that felt good!
- Can't You Read the Sign?: When George gets into the inner workings of the plant to sabotage it and shut it off, when he gets to the end, there is a sign that says "WARNING! DO NOT STICK YOUR FINGER IN THIS HOLE!". No points for guessing what exactly George does next. (Bonus points to the producers, though, for including George doing a mischievous Eyebrow Waggle to the audience, as if to say, "Yeah, you know EXACTLY what I'm going to do!")
- Chain of People: The Grungies do this in order to pull Elroy and Squeep from a landslide.
- Chew Toy: George really takes a lot of damage in this movie, yet it's mainly for laughs.
- Crash-Into Hello: Judy and Apollo Blue meet when they crash into each other on their scooters at the mall.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Judy and Apollo's song, "You and Me". Justified in that it was in a simulation room.note
- Disney Death: Elroy, sort of.
- Eyebrow Waggle: George does this to the camera before sabotaging the one part that deactivates the plant.
- Fire-Forged Friends: When Elroy and Teddy 2 first met in gym class, they started off as rivals, but when the plant opening ceremony is ruined by sabotage and Teddy 2 is in danger of getting hit by flying sprockets, Elroy protects him, resulting in the pair becoming best friends.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Happens for a couple of gags.
- On his first day as Vice President, on the ride to the plant, Astro calls George on the videophone to say, "Ri ruv roo, Reorge!" and then pops out of the screen to lick him.
- Mr. Spacely pops out of the giant video screen to berate George after the "glitch", warning him that any further "glitches", as Mr. Spacely believes George is causing them, will result in George losing his Vice President position as punishment for costing Spacely Sprockets its profits.
- Future Slang: As always, Judy is an ever-reliable source of it. ("This is orbital!", etc.)
- Gang of Critters: The Grungies — a species of tiny, furry creatures that are responsible for sabotaging the plant in order to save their subterranean home.
- Green Aesop: A very popular message in early '90s animation, of course. Jetsons: The Movie came out of the same period as FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, The Rescuers Down Under, A Troll in Central Park, and Once Upon a Forest. The Jetsons version delivers its environmentalist message with all the subtlety of those other examples. It's a bit of a Space Whale Aesop as well.
- High Turnover Rate: The vice-president position on the Orbiting Ore Asteroid.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Radio DJ Rick Dees is caricatured as Rocket Rick Ragnarok. It's really jarring since he is drawn more realistically than the other characters.
- Ironic Echo: Apparently, George must have really good ears to overhear what Mr. Spacely said about him.Mr. Spacely: I never should've put that dummy Jetson in charge of an operation this important. When I get home, I'll have to get me a new vice president.
George: You already have a vice president!
Mr. Spacely: Jetson?!
George: That's right, Mr. Spacely, "that dummy, George Jetson"!
- Logo Joke: The Hanna-Barbera Swirling Star appears at the end of the movie, albeit with its "swirling" sound effects replaced with a majestic-sounding rendition of the first four notes from the Jetsons theme song (a.k.a. "the Jetsons' doorbell"). Logo trivia
- Medium Awareness: During the opening titles, the characters are introduced with the caption of "[Actor] as [Character]". When the text introducing Rosie appears ("Jean Vander Pyl as Rosie the Robot"), Rosie wipes away the text with a cloth.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: George saves an entire species and leads to the plant becoming drastically more efficient, sending profits through the roof. He's "rewarded" by being effectively demoted (keeping the title of Vice President but not the raise) and forced to go back to his old job, including moving his family back out of their ultra-modern new home and away from their new friends.
- Nonstandard Character Design: The DJ, Rocket Rick, is drawn a lot more realistically than any of the other characters.
- Off the Chart: During Spacely's meeting with the board of directors, it's shown that Spacely Sprocket's profit margin is so low that the bar has broken through the floor.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Rudy 2 says this word-for-word when the plant is sabotaged for the firth time during George's ceremony.
- 1-Dimensional Thinking: It's especially strong if you can't think of jumping off a Conveyor Belt of Doom .
- Preemptive "Shut Up": After George accidentally gets stuffed into a box full of sprockets, he returns home to his family, who look at him in surprise, but he angrily tells them, "Don't. Say. A word."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The first four Vice Presidents before George got scared off by the sabotages occurring at the plant. George, however, refuses to leave, not being scared so easily, and wanting to prove to Mr. Spacely that he is not going to let the company's profits go belly-up on his watch.
- Skybox: In Tracking Shots of Spacely's Orbiting Ore Asteroid, it becomes obvious that the CGI artists used this technique to create the star backdrop.
- The Smurfette Principle: The Spacely Sprockets board of directors has only one woman on it. Lampshaded (possibly) when Mr. Spacely addresses them as "gentlemen and woman".
- Soap Within a Show: Jane, Rosie and Astro are watching All My Androids (a parody of All My Children). All three are in tears as "Galaxina threatens to pull the plug on her romance", with Jane having to tell Rosie to stop in case she rusts again.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Teddy-2 looks just like his father. Also Furgie looks a lot like a smaller version of her dad.
- Stock Audio Clip:
- Judy cheering "Yay Daddy!"note
- The same clip of Jane saying "how nice" is heard twice.
- Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: A variation: Mr. Spacely says, "Today, Spacely Sprockets, tomorrow, the universe!"
- Trailer Spoof: The official trailer starts off pretending to be a trailer for the next Star Trek film, with Streaming Stars set to music that resembles the Star Trek soundtrack while a voice-over says, "Twenty-five years ago, they brought us a startling vision of the future." Note that the next Trek film, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, was released to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek whereas it would take some creative rounding to make The Jetsons twenty-five years old in 1990.
- Unexplained Recovery: Mr. Spacely rips out Rudy 2's wires, disabling him. He's seen at the end of the film functioning just fine, and no mention is made of it. He was presumably repaired by Lucy-2 and Teddy-2 with the Jetsons' help before the final montage of the factory working full throttle under the Grungees.
- Wham Shot: The Grungies' home, partially destroyed by a mining drill. This is the moment the Jetsons finally realize just how much harm Spacely's Sprockets has been doing there.
- Whole Plot Reference: The main plot is often said to be a variation on the classic Star Trek episode "The Devil in the Dark"
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Apollo Blue and the Furbalow family. (But they are colored green on the poster.)
- Zeerust Canon: Being made in 1990, this movie is loaded with 1980's pop culture, from music to hairstyles, yet it's still set in the same 1960's Raygun Gothic future, which sometimes gives a weird combination.