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Tom & Jerry: The Movie


‘…does a good job of maintaining the animosity between cat and mouse for the most part…’

My regular reader will know of my enormous pride at being considered a worldwide authority on the subject of Top Cat, or Boss Cat as he was briefly known in the UK; the Wikipedia page for the two recent Top Cat movies both quote me as a suitably august figure to discuss their relative merits. Flushed with such success, I’m turning my critical gaze to Tim Story’s reboot of Tom & Jerry, the beloved cat and mouse combination which several generations grew up with in five minute cartoon bursts. Creating a feature film around their violent yet funny race and chase tussles is no easy feat, and it’s something of a relief to pronounce that Tom & Jerry Da Movie is rather better than might be expected.

Things have to change; the old Tom & Jerry raced around the kitchen of a black maid, seemingly unaware of the potential for cultural stereotyping calamity. Now, they are brought to a fictional New York hotel where they resume their traditional animosity for the majority of the narrative. Knocked out teeth and falling anvils will only get us so far, so a human story is added; Kayla (Chloe Grace Moretz) cons her way into a gig working at the Royal Gate Hotel, where she clashes with snooty staff including Terence Mendoza (Michael Pena). The hotel is in thrall to the nuptials of an interracial couple (tick diversity box here) played by Colin Jost and Pallarvi Sharda, but with a Jerry loose in the big house, Kayla enlists Tom’s help as a mouser, with disastrous results…

Although Tom and Jerry briefly team up in the latter stages of the film, Story does a good job of maintaining the animosity between cat and mouse for the most part; we don’t want to see them talk, or team up to go on adventures together, because then, well, they just wouldn’t be Tom and Jerry anymore. This is a kids film, so there’s blasts of music (oldies like A Tribe called Quest, fresh from DJ Shadow), lots of slapstick chaos, and a general sunny, happy vibe; performers like Moretz and Pena really get to shine hamming it up for a family audience, and support comes from old reliables like Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney.

It’s maybe a modernisation too far to see old Butch the dog having to have his poop scooped up in the street, although small kids will probably love such low-brow stuff. The package holds enough pizazz for the weans, and there’s enough respect for the anarchic spirit of the original cartoons for passing adults to dig this; Tom & Jerry doesn’t attempt to remake the wheel, but it’s a cut above most animated/live action hybrid films, and a well-deserved surprise pandemic hit for Warners.

Tom & Jerry is out now (March 26th 2021) on UK streaming services.

Thanks to Warners UK for advance access to this film.



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    • I think this is quite old-school stuff, and it’s not the desecration I feared. save me a seat!

  1. I’m not big on kids movies, but strangely this one appeals to me. I wasn’t really a Tom and Jerry fan as a kid, but really, fighting cats and dogs never goes out of style.

    • I like the cast here, and the animation doesn’t let the cat and mouse combo down. Well worth your time as a bright, fun, family film!

    • Well, I watched five whole minutes of a YouTube video about Justice League recut and what it told me was my memories of the original film are like my memories of a dream I had years ago; ie barely there. New version actually looked just as bad if not worse.

        • I feel I wasted five minutes! Lighting changes, shots of people walking, different gradings, nothing of any interest whatsoever…still not a proper film!

  2. BTW you are the only critic on wiki to actually give a positive review on Top Cat, even the other guy who is supposedly positive dissed a lot of it. Think you’re in the wrong job. 😁

    • He’s a total junket whore and blurb machine. Just in it for the attention and the swag. Give him a Top Cat colouring book and he’ll write you all the pull quotes you want.

      • Just because no-one wants or cares about your opinion, Bunty. The gifts of Top Cat colouring books were done in an non-excessive way and fully declared to authorities. Jealous, much?

        • You coloured Top Cat’s hat and vest orange and couldn’t even keep in the lines. Then you left your crayons in the back of the car and they melted all over the upholstery. Next time just ask the studio for some candy rockets and a bar of toffee.

    • If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would have taken over as Emeritus Professor of Top Cat studies at the London School of Economics; my fresh thinking on the issues connected to Top Cat The Movie is widely recognised as a world beater by most academics in the field.

    • So who got out of bed on the wrong side this morning? Just because I aced your quiz, AGAIN!

      • Your inability to do better on the quizzes than a chimp given a keyboard is truly impressive. Sad, but impressive.
        I do like Michael Pena, but wish he got better stuff to work with.

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