Review by Dan Skip Allen
Live-action/animation hybrids have been around for a while. Disney has done quite a few of these types of films through the years: Pete's Dragon, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and most notably Mary Poppins. Arguably the most popular of this genre is the 1986 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, directed by Robert Zemeckis. This was a perfect mesh of live-action cinema and animation. Tom & Jerry almost lives up to this lofty benchmark.
Chloë Grace Moretz plays a woman who, having just been fired from her job, goes to a local hotel and bamboozles her way into a new job by posting as another woman. When the hotel realizes it has a mouse infestation — Jerry, to be specific — she embarks on a mission to get rid of it, enlisting the help of Tom so that she can save the wedding of a famous couple.
With live-action/animation amalgamations comes the live-action portion of the film. The cast in this one is quite famous. Michael Peña plays a snooty hotel concierge, Colin Jost of Saturday Night Live fame plays the groom of the wedding, and Ken Jeong plays the uptight hotel chef. Pallavi Sharva, Rob Delaney, Patsy Ferran, and Daniel Adegboyega all are nice additions to the cast as well They offer a few laughs and a contrast to the animated stars of the film, Tom and Jerry.
These two characters are brought back vividly to life by the Warner Brothers animation team. The animation is amazing in this film. The mix of set traps or playing the piano is seamless. Tim Story does these two iconic characters justice from beginning to end. Their angst is an anchor for all the fun and action scenes. That's exactly what was needed to bring these characters to life.
These types of films have to have a story that begins and ends in the time the film takes place in. That's a necessary evil of these films. The story was quite contrived, to say the least. It was just created to have these characters and actors come together. In that effect, it worked, but it was still a contrived story. That said, it was fun seeing Tom & Jerry back on any screen, even on a streaming service like HBO Max. I was just happy seeing all this craziness unfold in front of my eyes.
All in all Tom & Jerry was fun and entertaining. It wasn't trying to do anything special. It was just a nice time machine for me to when I was a kid watching these two characters go at it time after time. The animation was very solid and it was combined well with the live-action portion. It didn't distract from my enjoyment of the film at all. The story was a little contrived, but that was a small issue in an otherwise entertaining film. Mel Blanc should be happy with the end product, and so should those watching in theaters or at home.
Tom & Jerry is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.