Review: Tom and Jerry (2021)

Everyone’s favourite cartoon cat and mouse make their big screen, live action debut.

PLOT AND STORY 

One of the most beloved rivalries in history is reignited when Jerry moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner to hire Tom to get rid of him, in director Tim Story’s “Tom & Jerry.”  The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them. An eye-popping blend of classic animation and live action, Tom and Jerry’s new big-screen adventure stakes new ground for the iconic characters and forces them to do the unthinkable… work together to save the day.    

Writer Kevin Costello is a name I was keen to see return to our screen after his debut feature film Brigsby Bear. A movie I really enjoyed and was one of the best movies in 2017. Tackling a vastly different type of movie with Tom and Jerry, Costello still managed to develop the emotional edge I was hoping for especially with Kayla’s character who I think the audience will really connect with.

The movie plays out with two entwined stories. There is Kayla, the new recruit to a hotel trying to prove herself and her ongoing battle with her superior Terence. The pair are constantly trying to one up each other with disastrous and comical repercussions. The second story which works alongside this is what you might come to expect from a Tom and Jerry movie, the titular characters fighting constantly without a care in the world about how their actions affect others. Both of these stories are fine but my only issue with the movie was that they didn’t really mesh together very well. 

I enjoyed Kayla’s journey and seeing her do things nobody believed she could. I enjoyed the relationships she made throughout and mostly I enjoyed her chemistry alongside Terence. Sadly what I didn’t enjoy was actually the Tom and Jerry moments. I found their fights went on too long, often for no reason and distracted the story from developing. 

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

I was unsure how this movie would work with animation blended with live action but I was pleasantly surprised with the design and style taken. Animals are animated and that’s just the norm in this world and I admire the commitment to just go with it without any need to try and explain it to the audience. Director Tim Story and Cinematographer Alan Stewart shoot this movie with a Who Framed Roger Rabbit theme and it works really well.

I liked how the animation remained honest to the original, natural style of Tom and Jerry. Watching this movie at any age and the audience will have no problems knowing who is who. We have seen other animated characters over recent years take on new and different designs in movies which haven’t worked so I found this a safe but sensible approach. The only negative to this is that at times, especially during the fight sequences, the movie felt like you are just watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon rather than a big budget Hollywood movie.

CAST 

Chloe Grace Moretz is the movie lead as Kayla and gives a fresh, fun and believable performance. It’s amazing to think she is still only 24 as she broke into Hollywood at such a young age as Hit Girl in the Kick Ass movies. But even at the young age of 23 Moretz proves she has the calibre to lead big budget movies.

Opposite Kayla was Terence, played by the always funny Michael Pena. I think Michael Pena is one of the funniest actors around but was slightly miss cast for this role. Don’t get me wrong, I think Pena was good and played really well alongside Moretz but what I love most about Pena’s comedy is his awkwardness in performances. He is the character who would normally do or say the wrong thing with very comedic repercussions but in this movie he is made to play a more serious role and let the funny things happen around him rather than through him. I actually think Michael Pena would have been better cast in the role of Ben.

Ben who was the dopey yet lovable husband to be played by Colin Jost. A very funny person from Saturday Night Live fame gave a decent performance but with his dry sense of humour I feel would have also benefited from swapping roles with Michael Pena.

Last but by no means least was our beautiful bride to be Preeta played by Pallavi Sharda. One of the highlights of the movie who I found built up a great chemistry with Grace Moretz’s Kayla. I would have liked to see more of these two on screen together.

Rounding out a very solid supporting cast includes Jordan Bolger, Rob Delany, Patsy Ferran, Daniel Adegboyega and Ken Jeong.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

I found Tom and Jerry to be an OK movie. I wouldn’t like to say it’s great or bad it just sits nicely in the middle. A good cast, with great effects but a rather flat story with over inflated fight sequences making parts of the movie slightly boring for the older audience but one I feel the younger generation will take great enjoyment from.

I watched this via and advance preview screening provided by Warner Bros UK and received no other incentive to review this movie. All images are courtesy of Warner Bros UK.

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