Films work in Nostalgia. It is a medium through which a filmmaker recreates his past. And it is a remarkable recreation of the audience that resonates with those nostalgic moments. As an audience, we also have certain nostalgia like watching an old building on-screen or the way our forefathers lived. But not going that far, as a 90s kid, many of us are nostalgic about the 90s CN shows like Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Road Runner. Whenever I hear about a studio recreating our famous cartoon characters in a live-action film, the first impulse is to ask, WHY? Maybe we are too sure that they are going to spoil our emotionally attached memories. Hopefully, Tom and Jerry: The Movie (2021) doesn’t spoil all the fun, in fact, it gives a fun nostalgic ride and helps us to meet our beloved fighting pair again.
Directed by Tim Story, what works best for Tom and Jerry: The Movie is its ensemble cast that includes the comedy genius Michael Peña who is irresistible. Peña and Chloë Grace Moretz play the human characters while all the animals in the film are adapted from the original Tom and Jerry series created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The prominent characters used in the live-action film include Tom, Jerry, Spike the bulldog, and Butch the black villainous cat from the alley.
The story is pretty simple. It sets an array of the ambitious trio that includes Jerry who is looking for a new home but meets with failure all the time. Tom is trying to survive as an artist who dreams of becoming a pianist one day while Kayla Forester (Chloë Grace Moretz) is ardently looking for a stable job to pay off the bills. Kayla comes across a vacancy in Royal Gate Hotel who are looking for a temporary assistant event manager for a grand wedding of hot-shot and popular couple, Preeta Mehta and Ben.
Kayla lies on her resume and gets the job of an assistant under Terrance Mendoza (Michael Peña), the head event manager. However, problems arise when Ben and Preeta bring a bulldog, spike, and Toots as contrary to the hotel’s no pet policy and Terrance’s zero tolerance for pets, which feeds some of the most hilarious scenes. Jerry, looking for a new settlement, ends up in Royal Gate Hotel and starts stealing things to furnish his new house. However, when a kitchen cook spots Jerry, the talk in the hotel becomes the talk of the town, and Kayla is handed the job to exterminate the mouse at all costs. That’s how she brings Jerry’s ultimate predator, Tom. If you haven’t guessed so far, when the duo ends on a piece of earth, the earth is tattered to pieces. Kayla’s struggle to save her lies and her job, is the final pursuit of the film, and it’s a comedy, thus, all ends well.
Tom and Jerry are known for their chase sequence and the film encompasses some nostalgic comical chase sequences, which we have seen before but might never get bored of. It’s like Chaplin, the more you see it, the more you feel happy about it. A special mention for a science experiment scene that Tom designs to catch jerry. It showcases the brilliant cinematography by Alan Stewart. The editing by Peter S. Elliot is crisp and to the point. Tom and Jerry: The Movie feels like a high definition version of our childhood memories without losing its soul. Michael Peña with his one-liners steals the show and his scene where he takes Spike on a stroll is unarguably the most memorable scene of the whole film. The most precious part of the film for me was the creator’s take on giving Tom an aspiration to become a piano player. The layer breaks the realm between reality and imagination and makes the cat so humane. An underdog Cat chasing dream is the best opening a Tom and Jerry film could have.
Bottom line, if you are a 90s kid and spent your summer vacations with an early morning dose of Tom and Jerry, then you deserve this live-action film. Tom and Jerry: The Movie won’t disappoint you. It will tickle you and help you to discover that kid again. That’s the most beautiful thing for an adult, to revisit their childhood.
Tom and Jerry: The Movie is streaming on HBO Max.
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