'Tom & Jerry' Featurette: Why Tom And Jerry Had To Retain Their 2D Looks In A 3D World

Tom and Jerry are two of the staples of American animation. The Hanna-Barbera cat-and-mouse rivals were mainstays on TV from the 1940s through the 1950s, and the stars of dozens of animated shorts, TV shows, films, and more. And finally, they'll be entering the real world with the upcoming hybrid animated film Tom & Jerry. But they'll look, for the most part, exactly the same as we remember from those hand-drawn slapstick short skits. That's because director Tim Story (Shaft) insisted on retaining Tom and Jerry's 2D looks, even as they enter the 3D world. Watch the Tom & Jerry featurette about the design of the titular cat and mouse, below.

Tom and Jerry Featurette

Like almost every American born after 194o, Tim Story grew up on the Tom and Jerry cartoons. He wanted to pay homage to "what the cartoons have always been," with his upcoming hybrid feature film Tom & Jerry in their first blockbuster outing on the big screen.

"Tom and Jerry are literally one of my favorite cartoons," Story said in the above featurette. "It was important to have the animated characters be in 2D because the classic cartoons were in 2D. We could actually have them look exactly as they always did, but at the same time live in the 3D world."

The result appears to be some sort of 3D cel animation style, which certainly does mimic the style of 2D animation, with slightly more shading to more seamlessly integrate them in the real world. Acting with 2D characters provided a unique challenge for the stars too, with Chloe Moretz relying more on improv and her comedy chops to allow more freedom for the animators.

The rest of the live-action cast includes Michael Peña (Ant-Man), Rob Delaney (Deadpool 2), Colin Jost (Saturday Night Live), and Ken Jeong.

Here's the synopsis for Tom & Jerry:

One of the most beloved rivalries in history is reignited when Jerry moves into New York City's finest hotel on the eve of "the wedding of the century," forcing the event's desperate planner to hire Tom to get rid of him, in director Tim Story's "Tom & Jerry." The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them. An eye-popping blend of classic animation and live action, Tom and Jerry's new big-screen adventure stakes new ground for the iconic characters and forces them to do the unthinkable... work together to save the day.

Tom & Jerry  is set to be theatrically released in the United States on February 26, 2021, with a one-month simultaneous streaming release on HBO Max.