Did You Know There Are a Ton of Weird Tom and Jerry Mash-Up Movies?
The news broke out yesterday that, among Scooby-Doo, Jetsons, and other animated or hybrid live-action features, Warner Bros. is planning a full-length Tom and Jerry theatrical release. This movie, which is to be directed by Tim Story (RIDE ALONG 1 & 2 [2014, 2016] and an upcoming SHAFT remake ), will be of the hybrid variety. That concerns me for various reasons; I just don’t like the idea of a CG Tom and Jerry, which is almost clearly how the characters are going to be rendered. But apparently, they will remain mute, a great sign of some kind of dedication to the source material. In fact, the duo’s only preceding theatrical release, TOM AND JERRY: THE MOVIE (1993), famously featured a shit-ton of talking from the cat and mouse.
Look, if it’s not clear, I’m a huge fan of Tom and Jerry. I grew up with the old theatrical shorts and the various updated series on TV, and the pure violent chaos of the series is hilarious and inspired. The best Tom and Jerry shorts are perfect little capsules of animated mayhem, almost operatic in their exquisite execution. So you can understand my hesitance for a live action-animated hybrid film (which are becoming increasingly hit-or-miss) starring the characters, especially from the guy who made the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four films and TAXI (2004). But look, I’m not here to bag on Story, who has established reliable successes for studios as of late. Because the truth of the matter is that Warner Bros. has fucked Tom and Jerry for a while now.
Although I’m a huge fan of Tom and Jerry, I’m not truly angry or disappointed that the duo aren’t, like, getting some kind of groundbreaking treatment. There’s just no replicating William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s amazing run at MGM from 1940 to 1958. The art style for the current THE TOM AND JERRY SHOW (2014-present) looks a little fan-animation-y, but nevertheless, it’s for children. They don’t care about the history of MGM’s animation division. And the same could be said for the direct-to-video movies (what could more accurately be described as direct-to-streaming in today’s day and age) that Warner Bros. is putting out…except that they’re just so bizarrely bad.
Alright, I haven’t watched all 13 Tom and Jerry direct-to-video movies that have come out since 2002…or really, any of them. I don’t have much desire to from what I’ve seen. But then, I’m not really referring to all of them. Until 2010, they were kind of just generic little films that put the cat and mouse in space or in a pirate setting. But since 2010, the annualized movies have placed Tom and Jerry into the plots of other established characters’ stories or animated adaptations of Warner Bros. own back catalog. For reference, these films are:
- TOM AND JERRY MEET SHERLOCK HOLMES (2010)
- TOM AND JERRY AND THE WIZARD OF OZ (2011)
- TOM AND JERRY: ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRY MOUSE (2012)
- TOM AND JERRY’S GIANT ADVENTURE (2013)
- TOM AND JERRY: THE LOST DRAGON (2014)
- TOM AND JERRY: SPY QUEST (2015)
- TOM AND JERRY: BACK TO OZ (2016)
- TOM AND JERRY: WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2017)
Somehow, that last one is the most glaring. These movie titles and their premises are like something out of the auto-generating algorithms of the dark corners of kids’ YouTube. I just don’t know why they keep coming. There’s just a glut of random-ass Tom and Jerry movies no one has ever seen, apparently lazily fused into already existing properties.
But like I’ve said, I’m not the intended audience for these movies. These are just colorful cartoons starring a cat and a mouse for kids browsing whatever streaming service these things end up on (I presume Boomerang). That’s fine. I really just wanted to direct everyone’s attention to the fact that TOM AND JERRY: WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is a real movie. And that it came out in the Year of Our Lord 2017. That’s the point of this article. Also, don’t get too upset about how bad the upcoming Tom and Jerry movie is going to be if you’re one of those weird cartoon nerds who gets mad at, like, the Thundercats or She-Ra redesigns. This stuff isn’t for you anymore. Go watch PUSS GETS THE BOOT (1940) if you’re all about purity in your children’s cartoon. I don’t know what the Venn diagram is there of the She-Ra perverts and die-hard Tom and Jerry fans or if anyone is truly up in arms about this Tom and Jerry movie. I’m just getting ahead of things. Just remember: there is also a TOM AND JERRY AND THE WIZARD OF OZ. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.