NAfter a separate Oscar for cartoon films was created in 1932, the winner was Walt Disney ten times in the first eleven years. Then came Fred Quimby. He won seven times in the following decade. And unlike Disney, always with the same characters. Their names were Tom and Jerry, a cat and a mouse. They fought an archetypal conflict on the screen, but unlike Mickey Mouse and Karlo the cat, the outcome was not clear in advance. The two worked so hard on each other that winning or losing seemed relative. And even if mostly Jerry was still standing upright at the end, the greater sympathy of the audience belonged to Tom. People felt sorry for this cat; that would never have happened to Karlo the cat.
The ambivalence of the antagonism of “Tom & Jerry” gave rise to the appeal of this animation series, which ultimately comprised more than 160 short films and has only been continued sporadically for the cinema since the 1960s. She survived on television, worldwide. In Germany, none other than Udo Jürgens contributed one of his songs as the theme song for “Tom & Jerry”: “Thank you for the flowers”. And week after week, millions of viewers on ZDF were amused by episodes that could hardly be described as anything other than a massacre with no fatal consequences. Mouse and cat bodies were systematically maltreated and deformed, but nobody was embarrassed. Both in the United States and in this country, the brutal fun can still be seen. It was inevitable that the rights holders of Warner Brothers imagined something bigger: a movie. One hundred minutes of “Tom & Jerry”.
However, as a mixture of real and animated films. The two title characters are drawn – in every way – the New York in which they meet is real. Or let’s say: not drawn, but portrayed at least as cliché-saturated as Tom and Jerry themselves. Let’s make it short: A young woman (Chloë Grace Moretz) is looking for a job and, allegedly, an experienced event manager, swindles into a luxury hotel that is currently one Has to host a celebrity wedding, but gets into rivalry with a colleague who has been employed for a long time (Michael Peña). Unfortunately, Jerry has just moved into the partition walls, and the naive lady brings Tom into the house to combat the reputation-damaging mouse plague. That will not go well.
Unfortunately, it’s not done well either. After all, the director Tim Story, who was responsible for the box office debacle of the most recent remake of “Shaft” two years ago, is so consistent that all animals appearing in “Tom & Jerry” are animated, and that includes the bulldog Spike as Tom’s classic nemesis also a number of pigeons and, above all, two elephants, which are used at the wedding and almost bring the building to collapse. That would have been difficult to shoot with real elephants.
But by restricting Tom and Jerry to supporting roles in their own films, the discrepancy between the short films and the long cinema vehicle is particularly noticeable. As usual, both characters do not speak a word – only Tom has always been able to sing and still does here – while Moretz and Peña are given too much text. And if you don’t know the past of the two cartoon characters, especially not the naturally Oscar-winning masterpiece “The Cat Concerto” from 1946, you might consider Tom’s musical talent to be an over-the-top script idea. It’s nice that Story demonstrates an awareness of tradition, but does he really believe that his childish story will reach the appropriate audience? Horrible for German viewers: Annett Louisan was obliged to reinterpret Udo Jürgens’ “Thank you for the flowers” for the dubbed version. No thanks.