After an excessively long hiatus between screen outings, the iconic Tom and Jerry make brief cameos in their most recent feature.
Tom and Jerry haven’t been in the mainstream for nearly three decades, with most children nowadays not having a clue where the roots of the animated pair lie. The Hanna-Barbera cartoon that started as a series of episodic shorts in the 40’s persevered in a small section of environments, most notably their various television shows that spanned much of the late 20th century until 1992 when their feature film debuted.
Their antics were simple and not necessarily very plot-driven because they were never designed to be. The charm of the old cartoons lay in their simplicity, and anyone could sit down and laugh at a Tom and Jerry show, not just kids. Some things are designed for their era and don’t work outside their intended medium—case in point, this movie.
This latest feature hardly feels like a Tom and Jerry movie. The plot revolves around a hotel gearing up for a massive wedding with Chloe Grace Moretz’s character responsible for organising it. Her character is detached from the film’s tone, opting for an improvised performance that doesn’t work comically or tonally. Every actor in this feels misplaced, especially Michael Pena, who has been a riot in his previous roles; here, he is noticeably tired and unenthused. There is ONE joke in the nearly two-hour runtime that deserves a slight chuckle… ONE.
It is worth mentioning that the titular characters have pretty much zero involvement with the actual story until the last act, when they are suddenly responsible for the ridiculous wedding plot going awry (shocker). They are background cannon fodder that will sometimes show up to have a CGI-filled clash that feels lifeless and overly flashy.
The biggest gripe with the film is that it feels safe and instantaneously dated, with constant social media references that will go over most children’s heads and annoy adults who are there with said children. The target audience is infants, exemplified by the quick, flashy colours and “funny” antics of Tom and Jerry. However, the film’s pace, accompanied by the tired concept of an event going wrong, makes the movie feel twice its length.
Nothing would have saved this train-wreck more than just a streamlined Tom and Jerry adventure with some fun scenes and a breakneck pace. One that didn’t insult the audience by manipulating them emotionally to believe that the cartoon cat and mouse fighting each other was anything other than dumb slapstick.
Tom and Jerry has very few redeeming qualities. The animation is soulless and overly flashy, the plot is tired, the acting is serviceable at best, and the main attractors have barely any place in their own film. Children over the age of three will be bored, and adults will be insulted by how utterly despicable it is. Tom and Jerry is a movie for no-one that has no reason being as bad as it is, but alas, here we are.
The film features archive recordings of William Hanna, who did all of the original screeches, yells, gasps, shrieks, howls, and screams for Tom and Jerry heard in the original cartoons from 1942 to 1957.