Quick Reviews: 'The Mitchells Vs. The Machines', 'Tom & Jerry' | Man Vs. A.I., Cat Vs. Mouse
THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES
Having completed a bumpy road trip from Sony's theatrical release to Netflix, The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is finally out there to throw everything on to your screen, and mostly succeeding in that as it's just that fun and lively. The daughter of the family, Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is an aspiring filmmaker in Michigan where she still lives with her family which includes dad Rick (Danny McBride), mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and Katie's brother Aaron (Mike Rianda, also a co-director and co-writer with Jeff Rowe). Katie makes DIY short films and gets accepted into a Californian film school which then eventually leads to a family road trip that is supposed to be a familial bonding experience. Elsewhere, a technological uprising of machines begins and the Mitchells find themselves fighting for their lives against them and the maniacal A.I. ''PAL'' (Olivia Colman).
Some of the things that get thrown at your screen are splashes of colour and additional animations that resemble comic book effects, it's a neat stylistic approach considering that it's juxtaposed with technological banter coming from the story elements. More importantly, it very much underlines the humour and tone that the movie is going for, a lot of them being brought back around later too which always then feels gratifying for the viewer.
In the heart of the story itself is the emotional conflict and separation between Katie and her dad, other family members being essentially the glue between them, and even that gets delved into from both perspectives with genuinely heartfelt exchanges. Plus, it doesn't hurt that in the midst of all that, the movie again finds moments for the humour that selectively caters to younger kids and adults, depending on the joke or a gag. Some of the villain and third act's plots get a little bit overbearing but never too much to take away from the family connection, leading to fun and heartwarming fare for people of all ages.
Smileys: Humour, characterisation, tone
Frowneys: Nothing too bad
TOM & JERRY
Cat and mouse shenanigans are back once again in the form of 2021's Tom & Jerry, directed by Tim Story and written by Kevin Costello this time around, as the classic rivals come across each other in no other place than New York City. Jerry is looking for a new place to live in and finds the comfort of a high-end hotel to be suitable while Tom follows Jerry there with revenge in his mind after an earlier incident between them leads to Tom's keyboard breaking. At the hotel, a young woman named Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz) cons her way to land a job there and soon enlists Tom to get rid of Jerry, all while a celebrity wedding of Preeta (Pallavi Sharda) and Ben (Colin Jost) is supposed to take place there as well, until chaos caused by Tom and Jerry ensues.
Even that setup feels overly intricate for two main characters that try to outsmart each other while violently pummelling punches to their animated bodies. Mainly it's just hard to figure out a reason for the film to exist in the first place, other than to aggressively grab money from gullible families. Everything about the movie feels flat from its terribly sluggish script to the stale humour which is underestimating kids' intelligence in every turn because none of it works other than a couple physical bits between Tom and Jerry themselves. The script essentially makes Kayla the main character despite the movie's title but there is nothing interesting about her, and neither is there anything interesting about any of the human characters (there are too many of them in the first place).
Nothing stands out here in positive light since even the heavy-handed combination of the soundtrack, score and sound effects feels copy-pasted from other movies, which is made even worse because the soundtrack isn't complimenting the action on screen, it's just noise to distract you because Tom and Jerry famously don't talk. If it feels like a product instead of a film to you, well, you're absolutely right because it is just a product.
Smileys: Nothing stands out
Frowneys: Screenplay, humour, soundtrack