It’s been a while since I’ve done this.
A while back, I wrote about the movie ”Pan”, a prequel to Peter Pan, and I made it clear in that article that the movie was to be avoided.
Today, I’d like to do something similar with one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a very long time.
Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch this movie.
And I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing! You’re thinking ”How bad could it be?”.
And by all accounts, you should be right! After all, the 1971 Willy Wonka movie is a classic. While I may have my issues with it, I do concede that it is a good movie, and people like it for a reason.
And of course, Tom and Jerry are amazing, and are iconic childhood icons. Surely, mixing the two should be great?
Which is why it’s almost astounding this movie manages to be 79 minutes of missed opportunities and wrong decisions, to the point where it seems intentionally awful!
Now, making a parody of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory isn’t anything new. Futurama did it, Family Guy did it, Johnny Bravo did it… It’s not really that difficult. There is potential in the idea, if one takes advantage of it.
What we should have is Tom and Jerry chasing each other and wreaking comedic slapstick havoc in the chocolate factory. What we get instead is an less impressive animated remake the 1971 movie and a lackluster Tom and Jerry movie being slammed together with all the subtlety of a train crash.
For starters, almost nothing Tom and Jerry do in the movie affects anything or alters the story, and since we already follow Charlie as our main character, they end up being side characters in their own fucking movie!
Their meaningful contributions to the movie are as follows: They steal a box of Wonka Bars to pay back Charlie for giving them food. When Charlie tells them to return it, they put it in a back room in the shop they took it from. This means that it wasn’t sold along with all the others when the competition was at its peak, and it’s from a bar in that box Charlie gets his ticket.
Charlie buys the bar for a coin he found in a drain, and someone decided that instead of just being a random dollar, dropped in a drain, it had to be a coin dropped by Tom and Jerry. Later, they have to rush to the factory to bring Charlie the golden ticket, which had fallen out of Grandpa Joe’s pocket.
That’s it. And seeing as none of this was required in the original to move the plot, it’s just a forced way to justify why Tom and Jerry are in the movie.
As for the rest of the movie, they spend it trying to keep Slugworth from getting his hand on an Everlasting Gobstopper, after seeing him sneak into the factory.
They also meet Tuffy, here playing an ”Oompa Loompa intern” working in the factory, who decides to help them warn Wonka about Slugworth.
Now, spoiler warning for those of you who haven’t seen the 1971 movie.
”Slugworth”, just like in the original movie, is actually working for Wonka, in order to provide a test of character to the five children.
So, when he meets Tom, Jerry and Tuffy (who, again, also works for Wonka) does he explain this to them? After all, it’s not like he has any reason to keep it secret from them, right?
No, instead he tries his level best, not only to stop them from reaching Wonka, but also get his hands on a Gobstopper for NO REASON other than to fool the audience that he’s a villain!
This makes no sense!
(Which incidentally is a phrase that sums up this entire movie)
And when the truth is revealed, his “accomplice”, Spike the Bulldog, breaks the fourth wall by shrugging and says “who knew?”.
Fuck you, movie. Fuck you a lot….
What this means, however, is that everything that happens after the 36 minute mark, when Tom and Jerry follow Slugworth into the factory, is ABSOLUTELY POINTLESS! There is no urgency, nothing they do changes anything from the original, and most of the main story progresses without them interfering, and there was no need for it WHAT SO PISSING EVER!
All they manage to do is get cat fur on a wall, which is used to justify denying Charlie the price, since he ”brought a cat into the factory”.
Of course, this is ignoring A) that Charlie didn’t bring Tom into the factory and B) that this justification is unnecessary anyway since Charlie drank of the fizzy drink in violation of the contract he signed.
Speaking of, the scene where they sign the contract? That incredibly crucial plot point, that is part of the test of character later, where Charlie has the chance to do the right thing, even when treated unfairly, which earns him the price?
That scene is LEFT OUT OF THIS MOVIE!
But oh, we still got the fucking tunnel scene! Except now, it’s TUFFY driving Tom and Jerry in a second boat, following the boat with Wonka and company.
And now TUFFY does the whole creepy-monotone-poem schtick, though without decapitated chickens this time. And wouldn’t you know it, it comes out of nowhere, makes absolutely no sense, doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie at all, and is never brought up again after it’s finished. So I’ll give the movie kudos for that. It’s just as stupid and unnecessary here as in the original.
But again, THAT scene, they left in, but the scene with the Chekhov’s Gun-like contract was left out! See what I mean!? Pretty much every single decision made in this movie is wrong!
So this leads me to a very simple question:
Who the hell was this movie made for!?
It wasn’t made for fans of the 1971 movie, because it’s just a less impressive version of that, taking away, among other things, the charisma and warmth of Gene Wilder. I may have my issues with his portrayal as Wonka compared to the original book, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the greatest things about the 1971 movie.
It wasn’t made for fans of Tom and Jerry, because again, they’re pretty much an afterthought in the movie, and we get very little of the whole cat-and-mouse dynamic we got from the show.
It’s not for young children because the movie hinges on them having seen the 1971 movie first, and what kind of cruel parent would choose to show them this instead of that movie?!
Even if you just want a movie to keep the kids quiet for a while, there are so many other, better and LONGER movies you could show them!
The only reason it exists is because someone said “Nostalgia is hot right now. Willy Wonka is nostalgic. Tom and Jerry is nostalgic. Combining them makes double nostalgic. Double nostalgia = $$$”
So, don’t watch this movie and for the love of God, don’t show it to your children. It’s a waste of money and it’s borderline child abuse.
In a way, I suppose it’s fitting that it’s so bad. Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in part to condemn television for making children dumber.
Show this movie to your kids, and that’s exactly what’ll happen.