Judge Franck Tabouring thinks it may be time to cage Tom and Jerry.
Our reviews of Tom And Jerry Tales: The Complete First Season (published April 30th, 2010), Tom And Jerry Tales: Volume 4 (published April 16th, 2008), and Tom And Jerry Tales: Volume 6 (published April 30th, 2009) are also available.
FanCATStic dinosauring adventures starring the world's favorite cat-and-mouse duo.
Tom and Jerry are two of the most delightful cartoon characters I remember from my childhood. Call me nostalgic, but I seriously miss the originality and energy put into those wonderful classic episodes from the 1940s and 1950s. I certainly appreciate some of the more recent cartoons, but every time I really feel like laughing out loud and literally jumping up and down in front of the TV, I quickly pull out the Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection.
Over the past years, we've seen Tom and Jerry evolve a little, but not necessarily in the best way possible. The relationship between the hungry cat and the clever mouse changed considerably in the 1970s and 1980s, and before we knew it, we had to sit through the rather mediocre Tom and Jerry Kids Show in the early 1990s. Since then, there's been yet another update of the classic Tom and Jerry adventures. The most recent, Tom and Jerry Tales, Vol. 3, comprises fifteen all-new cartoons Warner Bros. released in 2006.
Facts of the Case
Here's what the disc has to offer:
• "Bats What I Like About the South"
• "Fraidy Cat Scat"
• "Tomb It May Concern"
• "The Cat Nebula"
• "Martian Mice"
• "Spaced Out Cat"
• "Freaky Tiki"
• "Deconstruction Junction"
• "Battle of the Power Tools"
• "Jackhammered Cat"
• "Tin Cat of Tomorrow"
• "Beefcake Tom"
• "Tomcat Superstar"
As I mentioned earlier, the disc carries a total of fifteen new cartoons, which are divided in five theme-based categories. Each runs about five to seven minutes. The first group, which is also the most entertaining one, features a sort of horror theme. Most of the action takes place in a dark mansion next to a graveyard, which is why you'll see Tom and Jerry fooling around with a lot of scary materials such as skulls and ghosts. The most original episode of this little collection is "Fraidy Cat Scat," because it's the only one coming closest to the style and imagination we are used to in the classic episodes.
The second group takes our friends to space, in which they battle evil aliens. Sadly, the only cartoon worth watching in this category is "Spaced Out Cat," in which Tom builds his own rocket. The third set of episodes features a prehistoric theme, following Tom and Jerry as they try to survive an ice age and take on hungry dinosaurs. None of these episodes really convinced me or made me laugh, probably because it felt so unusual watching our two friends acting like primitive creatures.
Moving on to the fourth and fifth groups, Tom and Jerry enter the business of construction. "Deconstruction Junction" and "Tin Cat of Tomorrow" are two of the most entertaining cartoons on this disc. In the first one, Tom has a hard time assisting Spike in finishing construction on a skyscraper. Here, it's particularly funny to watch Jerry seizing every opportunity to ruin Tom's efforts. In the second, Tom is kicked out of the house and replaced with an efficient robot. Although I generally oppose episodes in which Tom and Jerry are teaming up to battle the common evil, this one comes with quite a few surprises.
Tom and Jerry Tales, Vol. 3 includes a handful of energetic installments that may provoke laughter, but generally speaking, this disc is one big disappointment. As it turns out the titles of the individual cartoons are funnier and more creative than the cartoons themselves, which definitely never a good thing. The magic and innovation from the classic cartoons are long gone, and rather than having Tom and Jerry chasing each other in the simplest locations, they now have to put up with aliens, dinosaurs, and other characterless monsters. Occasionally, Tom and Jerry are even part of them. In "Cat Nebula" for instance, Tom shows up as a greenish alien creature trying to invade Jerry's spaceship.
On a similar note, their feud has also lost a significant amount of suspense over the years. The tricks they play on each other lack complexity and creativity, and in half of the episodes, they even work together as a team. Put differently, Tom and Jerry's adventures are less violent than the original episodes. I am certainly not in favor of violence in cartoons, but if I remember correctly, Tom always had the desire to eat Jerry. None of this shows up anywhere in these new tales, and most of the action has been replaced with rather banal, goofy slapstick. I have to admit that Tom and Jerry Tales, Vol. 3 is certainly comic and silly enough to for the kids, but parents will quickly realize that the magic of the classic cartoons is long gone.
For a cartoon in which sound effects and music play a major role and dialogue is mostly absent, the audio transfer on the disc is clean enough. This also applies to the quality of the image, which is sharp enough and gives the colorful drawings fair treatment. As far as bonus material goes, the DVD only includes a few trailers. I can easily live with that in this case because the episodes alone wore me out enough already. Better luck next time.
Considering the evidence, I highly recommend skipping Tom and Jerry Tales, Vol. 3. It's not that the cartoons on this disc are all terribly bad, but chances are you'll watch them once and never again. In that case, the Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection is a better investment and a lot more entertaining and valuable. After all, no episodes capture the intensity of the violent feud between Tom and Jerry better and with more humor than the classic tales. Meow to that!
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