ShareAll sharing options for:Tom & Jerry (2021) review: A modernised mortification for the beloved duo
- Twitter (opens in new window)
- Facebook (opens in new window)
- Reddit (opens in new window)
- Pocket (opens in new window)
- Flipboard (opens in new window)
- Email (opens in new window)
I think we all have to accept that things move on. As we get older the cartoons, shows and movies we loved as kids are embraced as classics (or forgotten) and sometimes these classics are re-introduced to newer generations. The results are sometimes lopsided though, as for every Who Framed Roger Rabbit you have about a dozen The Smurfs, for every The Simpsons Movie there are the likes of Top Cat: The Movie and for every Paddington/Paddington 2 you have a, well, you have a Tom & Jerry.
Battling cat and mouse double act Tom and Jerry, created by Hanna-Barbera are legendary, and through the years have not only enjoyed domination of Television but have had their own lists of big screen outings, in numerous iconic short animations from 1940-2014, as well as a feature film in 1992’s charming Tom and Jerry: The Movie and numerous straight to home video feature-length adventures. Their anarchic brand of physical comedy and everlasting game of oneupmanship seems to keep expanding with the eras and now, they get their first ever big screen live-action/animation outing, which is a field that, as we have already stated, has its fair share of misfires. Sadly, this one is the latest and a really big offender at that.
The film sees Kayla Forester (Chloë Grace Moretz) fib her way into working at the esteemed Royal Gate Hotel in New York, and even finds herself promoted to oversee the biggest wedding event of the century – much to event manager Terence’s (Michael Peña) chagrin – as two celebrity personalities are tying the knot! But trouble arrives as mischievous Jerry Mouse takes refuge in the hotel, after coming at loggerheads with the persistent Tom Cat, who ends up being hired by the hotel on the quiet to sort this secret mouse problem, that could ruin such a huge and important event.
Truth be told, I had a bad feeling early on with the rapping pigeon opening number but I think I was lost for good somewhere between the goldfish poop emoji sight gag and some of the countless other painfully forced in ‘top trend’ humour. This is the family film the Twitter age has not only actively encouraged but deserves. Despite the odd flutter of the duo’s enduring anarchic humour (I liked the animal tornado) and passing good intentions, this is so painfully desperately modernised it’s practically ramming a bluetooth skateboard up your rear end (quite literally come the corporate feeling finale) and celebrating with a spiced pumpkin latte. It is one of those films so desperate to be cool with the kids (except its aim seems to be at teens who are surely outside of the target demographic) that it loses all semblance of the spirit of its source material and tries so hard to convince in its hip-ness, it ends up becoming just misjudged and constantly groan inducing. Don’t even get me started on the text speaking abbreviation using elephants!!
Some animation bits work but it feels off and never as seamless or enjoyable as others like Space Jam…and the soundtrack is a hugely grating and misplaced cavalcade of loud pop rap and the classic playful tones of Tom and Jerry adventures never feel remotely touched upon or seem to get a look in. It’s just an overpowering experience on numerous levels, feeling overlong even at its standard running time, and leaves you fearful that this will be the state of family movies in the future. Will kids really like this?
The human story even overshadows its ‘toon stars (maybe feeling they are pretty much boomers and need to be ‘ghosted’ or ‘cancelled’) and is not a particularly interesting story at that, instead being a vapid reflection of what passes for much of modern celeb culture, while the film also turns Jerry into major mean spirited character (he had his moments in the cartoons but here it’s taken to new levels), whose introduction sees him try and steal money from what – at that point – he believes to be a blind cat. Tom has always been a bit obsessive or scheming but it’s hard not to have sympathy here, as he’s just trying to live. Back on the human side, Moretz does her best with material far below her and the same goes for Peña, who even goes as far as gaggingly reacting to off screen cartoon dog crap but somewhere in there is a joke or metaphor for this woeful and dispiriting adaptation. Heartbreaking or should that be ‘Big yikes’.
Tom & Jerry is released in the UK from the 25th March.
We are looking for initial adopters / testers of our site's new functionality and tools.
If you are a writer or entertainment enthusiast and early access as a tester interests you, visit our join page to get in touch.