‘Tom & Jerry’ has been in the works for a while now. Plans for a live action version of the cat-and-mouse team have been rumoured as far back as 2009. Finally, the film has come to fruition and everyone’s favourite animated pair are hitting our screens in their first venture into the real world.
The meddlesome duo are back at it again with their typical antics, but, this time, the pair are taking New York. Jerry is on a mission to find himself some new, upmarket accommodation in the city and Tom (of course) is doing everything he can to stop him. Along the way, the two manage to get themselves mixed up in a high-class, socialite wedding and Chloe Grace Moretz’s Kayla must do everything in her power to try and minimise their damage.
The dynamic of the mischievous mouse and the frustrated cat is a tried and tested formula that we all know works. The scenes involving Tom and Jerry participating in their usual misbehaviours is almost heart-warming; it is automatically a comfort to be in the presence of these characters and you can guarantee that the two will make you chuckle. The film almost luxuriates in these scenes. The camera work becomes dynamic and the screen lights up. The frantic animation creates the energy and pace that we have become accustomed to with Tom and Jerry.
However, the scenes without those two do tend to falter. Chloe Grace Moretz’s spirited and sassy Kayla is a fun character and Michael Pena seems to thrive in the antagonist role but the film does not quite manage to strike the perfect balance between the human characters and our favourite animals. Perhaps a bit too much emphasis is placed on Moretz and Pena and not on the real selling point of the action: Tom and Jerry. In this, it unfortunately misses the mark and the contrived wedding narrative ends up becoming a little sedate, which is not likely to be the aim of a fun, cartoon romp.
In addition, the visual combination of the two-dimensional animated characters in a three-dimensional real world space feels slightly disjointed. Whilst the decision to keep the lead characters in their classic style works well for the scenes that revolve solely around them, their interactions with human beings almost take a second to adjust to. It is perhaps this stylistic choice that makes the contrast between the human scenes and the cartoon scenes even more timely different. Whilst the animation fills the screen, the image pops with colour and movement, but when the cartoons are gone, the cinematography and editing do nothing to make up for this.
‘Tom & Jerry: The Movie’ excels most when it does what it says on the tin. Tom and Jerry, as characters, appeal to everyone. They have been passed through the generations and everyone, young and old, can appreciate and find entertainment in the pair. In this live action though, there are moments when the film forgets who the story should really be pursuing and it falls into a rhythmic lull, in which you long for our favourite animals to reappear. That being said, when they do take centre stage, you can guarantee that their slapstick humour will make you smile. If you’re simply looking for some fun-filled family entertainment over the coming school holidays, ‘Tom & Jerry’ will ensure you a pleasant time, despite its flaws.
‘Tom & Jerry’ is available to rent digitally now.