October 19, 2021

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Tom & Jerry: critics who want Roger’s skin, fast

How not to immediately reminisce, when you meet Tom & Jerry, the two most charming and crazy heroes who came out of the MGM workshop? It is enough to find the extent of the damage inflicted on the famous couple with their latest cinematic incarnation.

ATONE & JERRY
Arranging the encounter between legendary flesh and blood and cartoon characters is a triple challenge. First of all because every company of this type has to face the shadow of scrutiny Who wants Roger Rabbit skin? or to a lesser extent Mary Poppins, a masterpiece of the genre, whose memory is still vivid in audiences.

Then, the number of techniques and tools used at the time of marrying the physical world and the drawn avatar became obsolete with the advent of the digital, when they were impure and simply conflicted with contemporary Hollywood production practices. Finally, the 3D animation aesthetic charter, which for years has now been favored by the industry and the box office, is far from the toons’ heyday.

So many pitfalls got in the way of Tom & Jerry, that the film was devoured with an unobtrusive I-don’t care attitude. The comparison to Robert Zemeckis’ tour de force is cruel, but enlightening. When Bob Hoskins hits 400 punches with the good old Roger, he’s not a sequence, not a shot, that doesn’t double the interaction between the real and the virtual, that doesn’t launch an extraordinary challenge, with state-of-the-art moves or perspective sets that are truly a nightmare for any. self-respecting animator.

There’s nothing quite like it here, and the feeling of observing abandoned and tampered with plans, where grafted distant echoes of the heroes imagined by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera taints the entire film.

CRIME STORIES
But what makes the company so unsympathetic is its overall indifference to its own poverty. That an animated character from technical poverty goes unnamed is one thing, but the footage never really lends any help to the human protagonist, if only to hide his own woes, quickly becoming a pain in the ass.

A cartoon adventure that craves a certain directness, whose scenarios seem to be systematically confused with the consequences of savage betrayal. Chloë Grace Moretz and Michael Peña remain more than capable players, often getting comfortable with colorful scores. But Tom & Jerry never made an effort to pool their talents.

It has to be said that Tim Story doesn’t seem to have much more invested in here than when he had his last humiliation of the Fantastic Four. Even during Tom’s most electrical fall, or as Jerry systematically thwarts his attempts to get him out of this and that contraption, the encephalogram remains dangerously flat. Quite simply because the humor of this imagined 1940s duo stems from the tradition of slapstick, an Anglo-Saxon sitcom that effortlessly combines physical disaster and masochistic outbursts.

Unstable equation, which requires a great sense of tempo, as well as a surgical dose of each ingredient, the slightest sound as the most harmless use of accessories. So many demands that Tom & Jerry can never meet, evidenced by one of its most programmed and most basic scenes, when two of our foes gleefully spoil a luxury suite. It’s hard to find camera moves, shots or sequences capable of surprising, or simply applying the recipe the project inherits. It’s as if he’s begging us to turn around and find his glorious ancestor.