The city’s new hybrid animation and live action film is “Tom and Jerry”. Somehow, Warner Brothers, who made the Looney Toons cartoons and the great Road Runner, got their hands on one of Ted Turner’s possessions – the former Hanna-Barbera product on the cat. and the mute mouse.
Now remember our kids don’t see Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, at least not in their theatrical versions, because tongue clickers and paws think them too violent. Jeepers. Tom and Jerry cartoons are only a little less violent than a John Wick movie. Even in this latest feature film version, the fierce cat-mouse fights are at the heart of the story.
Of course, in this case the animated cat and mouse are just parts of a live image. Much of the plot concerns a large so-called “social” wedding of two rich young people. The posh host hotel’s event planner is played by Michael Pena, who is allowed to be the villain of the film for most of the time.
Chloe Grace Moritz plays a young intruder who uses false pretenses to get a temporary hotel job. She is hired to help with the big ceremony. But then she has to focus on capturing Jerry the Mouse, who has taken up residence in her New York Landmark.
Where Jerry goes, Tom the cat follows him, of course. Moritz’s character decides to make the cat an asset, gives him a groom cap, and asks him to catch this mouse. It might scare the elephants.
Remember that elephants are supposed to be afraid of mice. And South Asians are said to like to use elephants in their weddings. The North American groom hires two pachyderms for the ceremony, hoping to please his future South Asian father-in-law.
Then T and J go wild in the hotel atrium and scare the elephants. It is the change of the first domino. The marriage is massively disrupted, the bride comes out, the roof of the atrium is destroyed, and Moritz loses his job.
But wait. Things could still work. The mouse and the cat have a plan.
There is nothing new, original or imaginary about the film. A Rube Goldberg machine is used. Tom has a miniature double devil and a miniature double angel appear on his shoulders and advise him. At the end of the movie, the sounds appear in animated form, as if we were watching the episode of Batman TV from the 1960s. Punch! Pow!
Then the minor characters are about as familiar as the plot. Patsy Ferran plays a character that Zasu Pitts would have done in 1930. The Co-Conspiratorial Doorman is a stock movie guy. In fact, the show’s most original characters are the bride and groom, imperfect and likeable wealthy “celebrities”.
Now. “Tom and Jerry” is not a bad movie. It’s action-packed and has enough pacing that most viewers, including the youngest, will find it entertaining.
But that’s about all we can say in its favor. The animation looks decent fused with the live action. Moritz and Pena are doing well.
The animated cat and mouse, however. Well, you won’t confuse them with Bugs Bunny. Their mute appeal is much, much more basic. All they do is fight.