Welcome to Kid’s Week: Day 7. Last minute addition here, guys. I knew as soon as I saw the trailer to Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that it was a movie that I was going to have to see…I just had to. Apart from having a really lengthy title, this film recreated the classic film nearly shot for shot…they just added our good friends Tom & Jerry. The real question, however, was if that was necessary or not. We’re fully aware that the original film was stock full of great scenes, so what is it that the famous cartoon cat and mouse really do to add to this film? Good question. I’ll skip the plot summary, as it is literally the same thing as the original film that we all know and love – let’s talk more about Tom & Jerry and the role they play in this animated film.
Truthfully, I’m torn. I really love the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film, and seeing it not only reborn in this cartoon but also replicated in so many of the scenes, shot for shot…was incredible. It isn’t trying to be a remake, it’s almost just like they put a cartoon filter on the same movie and let it be…but then there is Tom & Jerry. A big part of their existence in the film is mostly unnecessary. They just add a pinch of more physical humor here and there. The only time they’re really needed is when they help out the main characters – so when Grandpa Joe forgets the golden ticket at home, Tom & Jerry rush to the factory to give it back. Little things that didn’t happen in the original that make it more of a Tom & Jerry film…yet, that is more of a rarity if anything. I would have been much happier to see the entire Willy Wonka segment animated without Tom & Jerry – because that’s nostalgia city.
But truth be told, when it comes to Tom & Jerry, I feel equally as satisfied with their characters because they also bring a level of nostalgia with them. They are Tom & Jerry! So, these are two major areas of nostalgia that are working hand-in-hand to make their audience happy, and I think a lot of people will be. When Tom & Jerry was at its most popular, that was around the time that the Willy Wonka film actually came out, so when you think about it that way, that’s pretty neat, even if it IS two different variations of nostalgia.
Let’s break it down further and interpret the stars.
PEOPLE SCORE – 7/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1
When we look at this category, a couple of things stick out. These characters, no matter how they are presented, are usually pretty iconic and memorable. Each character also has their own unique and diverse quality that furthers the story – which is ultimately why the Oompa Loompas exist. That being said, it does feel more watered down because it is a cartoon. The acting mostly seemed okay, but it was never trying to be anything amazing, either. It’s a comedic animated film, little else. As far as casting goes, I will say that a lot of the voices sounded pretty similar to the original film, but I’m not entirely convinced that the voice actors they had couldn’t have been easily replaced. Finally, chemistry. Yes, young Charlie and his Grandpa Joe are best pals, but you don’t really sense how strong of a connection they hold. You don’t sense that fatherly figure you do in the original film. It’s just fun here.
WRITING SCORE – 5/10
Dialogue – 2|Balance – 0|Story – 1|Originality – 0|Interesting – 2
Ah yes, the writing category…we’ll just say there are reasons it didn’t score very highly, but those reasons were mostly expected. I have always loved the dialogue in this story – it has to do with both musical performances as well as the things that Willy Wonka has to say – everything was always a treat, no pun intended. It’s also a very interesting and captivating story – no matter how you tell it…but Tom & Jerry sort of mucked up the balance. It is a perfectly balanced story on its own, but when you add those characters, you add other characters for them to interact with, including a mouse Oompa Loompa, it just clunks up the good pacing. It’s also obviously not original…I mean, that’s a given. As far as the story goes, I love the Willy Wonka story, but because Tom & Jerry have their own as well, the focus on the story just wasn’t clearly focused on, so I have to give half points for that.
BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2
How are the things going on behind-the-scenes? I’m glad you asked because, for the most part, they’re all pretty decent. This is a cartoon, and the way they recreated a classic film was definitely amazing, and you can tell that in both the visuals as well as the music, which was brilliantly done. It’s also as-advertised, as I said earlier that it was the trailers that made me want to watch it. Everything else is typical for cartoons, the directing and editing were just fine…nothing more to talk about with that.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 1|Falling Action – 1
Next up, we have the narrative arc category, which also did a pretty good job. The introduction was pretty much shot for shot from the original film, plus some intros for Tom & Jerry, as well. You understand that Charlie is poor, that he loves his family, but also has a passion for chocolate, just like his Grandpa Joe. The inciting incident is clearly when Charlie obtains the golden ticket. What are the obstacles? Ask the Oompa Loompas. Finally, I would say next to everything else in the film, the climax was rather dulled down and anticlimactic, and the falling action isn’t the best – as it’s more of a cliffhanger than anything.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 4/10
Rewatchability- 1|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1
As you can see, I don’t even really consider it the most entertaining movie either. It is very, very nostalgic in all the right spots, but that’s not to say it’s without fault. It’s rewatchable to a degree. I believe I’ll check this out again someday, but I could be old, gray, and fat by the time that day comes. I consider this a very, very fun film that has the ability to suck you in at times, but I don’t personally care to buy it, own it, or even really tell others it exists at this point. So, take that as you will, folks!
TOTAL SPECIAL – 50/50
Tom & Jerry – 10|Willy Wonka – 10|Kid’s – 10|Family – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Onto the specialty questions that I wrote before seeing the film. The first two really have to do with the title. It’s a Tom & Jerry film, so how were they in the movie? What can I say other than…Tom & Jerry. They did what they’ve always done. It was silly and comical – so full points there. This is a Willy Wonka film, so how was that, as if I haven’t said it enough, it was brilliant – full points. It’s kid’s week, so is this a good kid’s film? To answer that, my two-year-old sat next to me and soaked it all in, he loved it. Full points. As for if it works for the whole family? How can it not? In this day and age, the whole family consists of people that love and adore the original Willy Wonka film, and this pays tremendous tribute to that film…why do I sound terrible saying tremendous? Finally, was it halfway decent? Absolutely, it impressed me in ways I was surprised to find. It’s definitely something you should check out – if only just the once.