Tom & Jerry Review

Tom & Jerry have returned at long last. It feels like a while since they got a big film, certainly since they’ve gotten a big budget production like this. It is nostalgic to see the old duo back in action although ironically, I was more invested in the human plot. I’ll go into detail on that later on but ultimately this is a pretty fun show and I would recommend checking it out. It’s not soaring into the next dimension or anything like that but it’s a well rounded product.

The movie starts with Tom finally becoming a master pianist and really excelling in Central Park. Jerry can’t have that though so first he humiliates Tom by immediately surpassing him and then breaking the guy’s piano. Jerry breaks into a legendary hotel while Tom is stuck out in the back. It looks like Tom has finally been defeated once and for all and even has to watch his back as the alley cats are quite fierce.

Meanwhile we cut away to the main human character named Kayla. She desperately needs a job and manages to steal someone’s resume so she can be hired at this fancy hotel. Kayla figures she can fake it until she makes it and the timing is fortunate since a super fancy wedding is about to happen between Preeta and Ben. If she can help plan this to perfection then she will be good. The only obstacle in her path is Jerry. The little guy is making a mockery of the establishment as he lives in total bliss. Kayla will need to team up with Tom to stop him but will their combined efforts be enough?

Now I’ve always been on Team Tom. He is typically on the losing side but if anything that makes it easier to root for him because who doesn’t appreciate an underdog? I’d also argue that Tom has been shown to be far more compassionate over the years as he expresses real sadness when Jerry is seemingly dead while the reverse is almost never true. They each have their moments of course but 9 times out of 10 I’d be banking on Tom to take the high road. Like in this film where he was really minding his own business until Jerry stepped in.

Maybe Jerry just wants to be friends and doesn’t know how to express himself but either way it’s tough for Tom. Tom & Jerry are consistent with how they usually appear and it’s nostalgic to see them fight. I would say the reason it just doesn’t totally capture me is because it all seems a little played out. I feel like a lot of specific instances here were grabbed from the old cartoons. I don’t think the slapstick itself is just over the hill though as there are ways to make it work but this one was not able to pull it off. They aren’t bad scenes but I guess they feel like filler as you wait on the human side.

On the flip side, the human sides are strong enough where you could see this as being more of a strength to that section as opposed to being a weakness on the other. Kayla may be taking some rather radical shortcuts like when she suckered the actual interviewee but that was also a good demonstration of her people skills. The interviewee was also shown to immediately be antagonistic and rather stuck up to make it harder to feel bad for her. Seriously this lady was getting ready to interview for a job…isn’t that the worst time to be getting an attitude since staff could be watching?

Once she’s in, Kayla does a good job of quickly getting into the swing of things. She has some good ideas and if not for the fact that Jerry is supremely powerful (even able to break out of a sealed, chained up box in an instant since he was already behind Tom before it finished moving) Kayla probably would have been able to claim victory here. There isn’t a lot more to her personality beyond just being a good worker and earnest so don’t expect a big character arc or anything but she makes for a good main character.

Then you have the two people who are to be married and I can’t say that I was a big fan of either to be honest. Ben was definitely the weaker of the two though as his whole character arc is that he wants to impress Preeta’s father even at the expense of Preeta not getting the wedding that she wanted. Yes, she could have spoken up more but at the end of the day it’s really his fault for not picking up on any of the obvious signs. He just got too obsessed to the point where he allowed this to cost him everything.

As for Preeta, she was unhappy the whole time but wouldn’t speak up. Instead she effectively blows up at the end of the film but if she had confronted Ben more at the start then this could have been avoided. She takes less of the blame here but I found that trait to be annoying, particularly as they are about to be married in which case they should certainly be close enough to have a conversation of this level. How will they handle more difficult topics if this one poses such a challenge?

Terence is really the main villain here and I would absolutely say that he gets off too easily. Keep in mind that the entire reputation of the hotel is riding on this wedding and that it has cost a small fortune. Keep that closely in mind whenever this guy is on screen. Now, as an antagonist he is great though. The guy has a lot of solid lines and was the only one to suspect Kayla at the beginning. He doesn’t even seem like he was always going to go down the villain route as he is a tough boss but one who does get along well enough with the staff.

There don’t seem to have been any complaints previously so that is worth keeping in mind. He just gets progressively more and more obsessed as the film goes on until he has totally lost his mind. Meanwhile Cameron is way more of a laidback kind of character who serves as a contrast to Terence. He’s just having a good time serving the drinks and cheering Kayla on. He doesn’t ultimately get a ton to do, but I think the humor there is mainly supposed to be in how calm he is while everyone’s panicking. I like this addition because I do think some people would take this whole situation in stride.

Joy is the comic relief character who does not work. Her thing is she’s very socially awkward and takes forever to get to the point. I understand the character trait and what the movie is going for but it just doesn’t work. None of her scenes are entertaining at all and just end up falling flat.

Dubros is the boss of the hotel and I liked this guy. He’s very open minded like when he allowed Tom to work at the hotel and does a good job of running the business. He’s not too controlling and just makes sure that things are working on a macro level. You can see why the hotel is as well known as it is. There are a few other characters around like Spike who is still portrayed as the strongest animal in the film but that’s about it for the main cast. Ultimately it’s a fun group of characters.

I’d give the writing a thumbs up here. There are enough well written scenes to make you smile and have a good time. It’s really the definition of what I would call a pretty good film. It’s playing it very safe and not doing a whole lot of things outside of the box but at the same time that means it’s also not trying too hard to be the next big thing. Whether or not you’re a big fan of the Tom & Jerry aspects, I’d say there is a lot you can get out of this.

Overall, Tom & Jerry is worth checking out. It’s not the kind of film that would really be amplified in a theatrical experience so you could certainly just went it or catch it on TV when it’s around. It’ll be nice if they could continue to make more films in the series but it is crucial that the human aspect stays rather solid or they find some way to make the Tom & Jerry parts a little more creative. I do think there is a whole lot more you could do with that dynamic after all like maybe a full fledged team up. Not a small one for a small part of the climax but I mean a full cinematic adventure where they team up. Maybe someone kidnaps that little friend/cousin Jerry used to hang out with in the TV show so he asks Tom for help. That could make for a great story.

Overall 7/10

Home Alone 4 Review

It’s time to take a look at the next Home Alone film. Kevin’s back and we already know how good he is at stopping crooks. The problem is that the crooks do a good job of stopping themselves as it is and Kevin doesn’t have as much nerve as you’d think. It’s a solid film that is bogged down by a few elements like the villains and the unfortunate ending. There are less iffy jokes like in Home Alone 3 though so that’s a nice improvement.

Kevin is getting ready for Christmas, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be a good one. His parents filed for divorced and his Dad immediately found the rebound character and intends to marry her as soon as possible. He wants Kevin and his two siblings to spend Christmas at his house, but the Mom doesn’t approve. Ultimately, she leaves it up to Kevin though and initially he chooses to spend Christmas with her. She then makes the really odd decision of telling Kevin to stay with his older brother for a while while she gets some errands done. Kevin tells her that he’s going to get bullied a lot, but she ignores him and leaves. Well…Kevin gets humiliated, lids slammed on him, and a whole lot of other stuff off screen and the Mom’s only response to this is to tell Kevin to go to his room and think about how much worse it could have been. Kevin imagines it all right and decides that instead of having a terrible Christmas over there, he’ll visit his Dad.

This is where the plot starts to get a little obvious and unfortunate, but lets continue. The Dad is now with a super rich soon to be step mom who is basically perfect. She has a large game room, personal attendants for everything, and the house is fully electronic. You just say something and the house will listen. Lets just add in the names so it’s easier. Kate = Mom. Natalie = Step Mom. Peter = Dad. So, Natalie is not just super rich and more fashionable than Kate, but she’s also a nicer person. Her only flaw is that she’s super successful and has to go to a lot of meetings and parties. That’s fine though, it pays the bills and helps keep them rich right? Kevin doesn’t approve though and has a bad attitude the whole time.

Marv returns from the first film and brings alone Vera to rob the place. Kevin has to stop them himself since nobody will believe him, but he does it in the worst ways possible to the point where you can’t sympathize with him. If we’re being honest, we all knew how the film was going to end from the start. Natalie would lose out since Kate has to win and the family would get back together again. It all happens as expected, but you just feel bad for Natalie. Lets think about all of the examples from the top.

Kate allowed Kevin to be bullied and was not apologetic about it at all. She wasn’t being nice to Kevin during Christmas time and her plans for Christmas were rather terrible. Meanwhile, Natalie wasn’t expecting Kevin since he declined the invitation and was ready to have a fun night with Peter, but Kevin just walks in uninvited. All right….that may have wrecked Christmas to an extent, but Natalie quickly shifts gears without batting an eye and gives Kevin a great welcome. The day is going perfectly and while Kevin’s a little ungrateful about Natalie and Peter having to leave, he lets them go. When they get back…Kevin has completely wrecked their multi million dollar mansion by flooding the entire thing with water. He did it to stop the crooks, but did he have to be so extreme? Seriously…millions of dollars gone in the blink of an eye. He ruined the entire mansion.

This is already reason enough for Natalie to get Kevin out of the house for good. Instead, she chooses to forgive and forget. This time, the party is at her house so she gets people to quickly fix it up as best they can and hopes for no disasters this time. That’s not in Kevin’s game plan though as he breaks the windows and makes a loud commotion. He freezes the butler and nearly destroys him. Next, Kevin wrecks the dinner as he throws everything at the villains, which leads to a big fall for all of the guests and things shatter. The party is completely ruined and once again, Kevin should have planned things out better.

Natalie is very upset by this point, but she is completely justified in it. It’s not as if she goes off the rails and hits Kevin or anything like that, but she finally tells him that one more “accident” like that and he’ll have to leave. That’s reasonable right? No, the film makes it a point to say that she is the villain and we should be sympathizing with Kevin right now. No, I was sympathizing with Natalie. She was being a good sport the whole time and even helped with putting the tree up. It got taken down because she had a professional company already on the way to put up their own, but that’s not a big deal. Her very small slights against Kevin were nothing compared to what he did and they weren’t even intentional. She then had to endure a painful conversation between Kate and Peter as they talk about how much fun it used to be when they were married and the old days with Kevin. Is that really a good topic to talk about in front of your new fiancee? Peter’s definitely unlikable, but more on that later.

As you can tell, Natalie had to put up with a lot. The ending just makes it even worse as all of the characters gang up on her. First, Peter decides to break up with Natalie because he wants to move back with his wife. This shows just how petty and superficial Peter is. He was glad to be with her for the money and the late night fun that they had. Once he had enough of that, he just dumped her. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. We’re supposed to be on this guy’s side? No way! He has the delicacy and manners of James Bond if he’s going to be like that and the film gives no indication that Natalie was not a good person at all prior to this. She was a very nice character and it just gives you the impression that Peter was using her the whole time. He got what he wanted and got out.

The next big diaster was that Natalie’s butler decided to quit. He had a very well paying job and a nice boss. Natalie was always reasonable and it’s not as if the butler had a whole lot to do. Still, he quits because Kevin tells him that he should. Natalie’s other butler turned out to be a crook as well so now she has no main employees to watch the mansion. It can’t get worse can it? I’m afraid it can as a subplot in the film was that the royal family was coming over. This was super important for Natalie since it would benefit her company quite a lot and she really needed this contract. Well, that’s out, since the prince wants to have Christmas over at Kevin’s house instead.

Lets recap. Natalie had her ultra rich mansion ruined, She had her party completely sabotaged, She lost her reputation, She lost her soon to be married boyfriend, and she lost her staff. You’re supposed to be thrilled at this “happy” ending, but it was really all just in bad taste. She was easily the best character in this film, but she ended up getting a raw deal anyway. I could go on and on and on about how she was the secret hero here and how the film’s ending is very tragic, but you get the point. Over half of this review was just on that after all.

That’s part of the reason why I couldn’t stand Kate and Peter. Peter’s obvious so we don’t need to talk about him anymore. Kate is just as bad as she is completely okay with bullying and she makes life as tough as possible for Natalie. Busting into the house uninvited was definitely not good manners and then trying to say that Kevin’s past Christmases were better is just hogwash. She doesn’t even cope well as she just spends her Christmas Eve crying in front of the TV. She’s not a good character whatsoever. Kevin’s two siblings aren’t good either as they are even more extreme than usual. They were total bullies and I didn’t buy their “suddenly nice” routine at the end. Even when Kevin was in actual danger and called for help, the brother just laughed at him, insulted him, and then hung up. There was quite a lot of bullying and people being generally mean in this film.

Kevin’s not exempt though as he’s just not a nice guy. He immediately goes into areas where he’s not allowed too just to spite everyone. He has the run of the entire mansion aside from one room so what does Kevin do? He immediately goes into that room. He panics a lot and is scared of the villains even after he was just trash talking. He goes through a ton of personality shifts the entire time and you just have to wonder what his plan is. Half of the time he doesn’t seem to know himself. He’s definitely very unlikable and comes off as an ingrate the whole time.

The villains were pretty bad as well. The film went a too far with how goofy they were. They just kept tripping and slipping up at every opportunity. The girl villain seemed as if she was always chewing on something and the guy would just get beat up by everything. Any scene with those two was a little hard to watch so I was always glad to see them not show up. They didn’t have a major role here so that was good. The slapstick definitely looks very painful here as per usual. The villains should have died multiple times, but they keep on going. At least the butler got to help a bit unlike that old lady from the last film who was heavily hinted to do something at some point, but never got around to it. It’s more of a mild consolation than anything though.

Some of the dialogue can be quite forced in the film. Kevin has conversations with his parents about their divorce and offers up his worldly advice, but then he’ll go back to being a very unintelligent kid after that. He is a very inconsistent main character and after a while you’ll start to realize that the writers just didn’t know what to do with him. It’s definitely cheesy and the parents getting back together at the end was more tragic than happy.

Overall, Home Alone 4 was a fun film. For the most part, it was even better than 3 and I was enjoying it quite a bit. It may be silly at times, but the other parts were written well. Unfortunately, the ending kind of wrecked it for me. I thought I would be giving it a solid 7, but the more I wrote this review, the more that I realized that would not be possible. The ending is just way too mean spirited and the film got its protagonists mixed up. It doesn’t really leave you with a “feels good” feeling at the end so I actually won’t recommend it. 90% of it is pretty solid, but the other 10% is enough to knock it back out. I suppose it breaks even, but just barely.

Overall 5/10