You will find unreasonable cruelty, unpleasant characters and a plot in which the cat and the mouse are simply superfluous.
Tom and Jerry needs no introduction. The eternally warring but inseparable cat and mouse, which first appeared on the screens in 1940, with enviable regularity returned to television, and then began to take the cinema by storm.
Full-length cartoons about Tom and Jerry to date, more than a dozen. Some are based on original scripts, while others retell well-known stories like “The Wizard of Oz” or “The Nutcracker”.
But now they decided to launch cartoon characters in a real movie with live actors. A similar gimmick has been used many times before. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”, filmed under the same scheme, once literally saved American animation. Yes, and “Space Jam” is known and loved by audiences of all ages.
But in the case of the new “Tom and Jerry” something went wrong. To be more precise, absolutely everything failed. It seems that the authors have not decided for whom they shoot the new work and what they want to show in general. As a result, the movie turned out to be not just unsuccessful, but almost embarrassing, and it is hard to find anything funny in it.
There are two stories on the screen at once, interfering with each other
After losing her job, Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz) is tricked into getting a job at a posh hotel where the wedding of a wealthy family heiress and her fiancé is about to take place. At the same time, Jerry the mouse sneaks into the hotel, who makes a mess in the kitchen and then tries to steal the wedding ring. Then Kayla hires Tom the cat, who is always chasing the little bully. But in the end, the problems only get bigger.
The strangeness is felt literally after the very first scenes. Despite the fact that the story seems to start with Tom and Jerry, very quickly it becomes clear that they seem to be superfluous here.
In fact, much of the picture is something of a naive romantic comedy: Kayla helps the couple in love find common ground and get through the difficulties of preparing for the wedding. It may even seem like the filmmakers just took a ready-made script and chopped up snippets from cartoons into it.
Tom and Jerry move the plot, but at the same time as if they exist in a separate world.
On top of that, much of their scenes are just copies of gags from the classics. In the first few minutes of the action it seems like a nice reference. But when it is repeated for the tenth time, there is a feeling of deception.
The world of the picture is completely ill-conceived.
Part of the problem is that the film didn’t bother to explain the very idea of combining cartoons and live actors. The aforementioned legends “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Space Jam,” or even the older “Parallel World,” have no such complaints. They explain how and why ordinary people meet drawn characters.
There are other successful cases where animated characters are added to the ordinary world: “Stuart Little” or “The Adventures of Paddington. Much of the plot and humor there is based on the contrast.
In “Tom and Jerry” this combination looks as unfortunate as possible. It seems to show that all the animals in this world – cartoon. But how close they are to people – it is not clear. They are either treated like animals or talked to like sentient beings.
Similarly, neither their ability to survive all kinds of injuries, nor various cartoon jokes like moving the door on the wall is not explained. Again we are reminded of “Roger Rabbit,” where this worked logically.
Of course, all of this can be put down to the nagging of adult viewers. Often such problems are justified by the targeting of very young fans. Except here I want to quote the famous animator Harry Bardeen:
Do not underestimate children.
Age of the target audience is not a reason not to finalize the idea. And go to the picture is more likely to those who watched the “Tom and Jerry” as a child, and now have a family himself.
All the more so that the younger audience to show the cartoon can be just dangerous.
The characters arouse only dislike or pity.
Of course, many people had complaints about the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons because of the grotesque violence. Some children felt more pity for the cat, who was getting it all the time. But more often, there was at least some logic to what was going on: Tom was trying to catch the rodent, and the latter retaliated by doing him mischief. Jerry himself looked like a charming bully.
But in the full-length version, the mouse turned into a rather unpleasant character. No, he’s still cute and smiling. But he just acts like a vandal and a thief. Not only does Jerry wreak havoc everywhere, he also steals the bride’s ring. Just because he likes the gem.
t makes you want to feel sorry for Tom much more often than in the short cartoons. In the full-length version, they seem to have decided to unleash the full potential of this character’s painful feelings. He gets beaten all the time, and not always for the cause. Literally in the first scene of the film, Tom is simply run over by a car, then he is thrown, kicked, and pinned down by a gate. The gratuitous violence hardly seems funny even to children.
Equally problematic are the human characters. Sure, movies often show not the most honest but charming characters that the viewer supports. But in Kayla’s case, the writers make her look like a dubious person from the very first minutes: the girl is screwing over another candidate and gets a job thanks to her resume.
They just don’t have time to explain why she’s a positive heroine by this point. And it’s hard to say that later on Kayla shows any special qualities. Except that she takes care of her fiancée.
Many of the secondary characters also seem unpleasant.
Kayla’s boss, played by Michael Peña, is supposed to entertain with his silliness. But there is not an ounce of self-irony in this character – all jokes are based only on the fact that he takes all words literally.
But the worst of all is the groom Ben (Colin Jost). This character embodies a combination of childish stupidity and arrogance. His love for his bride absolutely does not justify his unwillingness to listen to his significant other. Of course, he is given the opportunity to justify himself at the end. But for most of the action, his future wife just feels sorry for him.
The visuals are pretty weak.
But what is most surprising and disappointing about the new film is that the combination of animation and live-action sets turned out to be completely unnatural. Here one can only be sadly reminded of the above-mentioned examples. The road chase in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” looks much more alive and natural than a similar action scene in “Tom and Jerry”. And it’s been more than 30 years!
The characters seem to have shadows and even reflections in the piano lid and other shiny surfaces. They even seem to have deliberately emphasized the way the surface of the chair sags under the paws of the cat. But there is still no sense that the characters are in contact with people.
Part of the problem is the size of the characters. Half the time, Tom and Jerry are running around in front of Chloe Grace Moretz’s legs. But here, too, they look exactly drawn on the screen, not standing next to the actors. And yet, back in 1996, Bugs Bunny was playing basketball with Michael Jordan very vigorously.
The new Tom and Jerry movie is only perplexing and disappointing. The plot consists of elements that interfere with each other. The characters do not seem likable. More importantly, the picture is simply not very funny.
The new feature film lasts about 1 hour and 40 minutes. In that time you can watch 4-5 episodes of the classic cartoon at home. And it will prove to be much more fun and enjoyable pastime.