Judge Jim Thomas thinks that Tom and Jerry are kinder, gentler versions of Sylvester and Tweety.
Our reviews of Tom And Jerry Tales: The Complete First Season (published April 30th, 2010), Tom And Jerry Tales: Volume 3 (published February 6th, 2008), and Tom And Jerry Tales: Volume 6 (published April 30th, 2009) are also available.
Time to play cat and mouse.
The appearance of several dedicated cartoon channels, along with the proliferation of kid-programming blocks, has led to a flood of new cartoons. At some point in the proceedings, someone decided to resurrect Tom & Jerry, the classic Hanna-Barbera cat-and-mouse team. Back in 2006, Tom and Jerry Tales premiered on The CW's Kids' WB, marking the first made-for TV appearance of the duo. Creator Joe Barbera served as executive producer, and got a few story credits in before his death in December 2006. The two seasons thus far have a total of 26 episodes, each episode containing three shorts.
The disc includes the first four episodes of the second season, for a total of twelve cartoons (while complete episodes don't have any connecting material between the shorts, the shorts for each episode share a common theme):
Episode 1: Foreign Settings
Episode 2: Superheroes & Superpowers
Episode 3: Pets
Episode 4: Animals
You know how unremarkable shows tend to blur together? That's the feeling you get watching this disc. Apart from the famous titular characters, there's really nothing that makes this show stand out. Most current cartoons make up for the production line animation by having a certain distinctive style; Ren & Stimpy had it, Kim Possible has it…these Tom & Jerry cartoons don't. There are a couple of exceptions; the superpowers episode does have a certain sense of fun and style (it probably helps that I'm a comic book geek). In particular, "Power Tom" does a good job of using superhero-type shots and angles and a slightly stylized look to enhance the tone. That short also has my favorite moment of the disc: In a parody of Superman getting a kitten out of a tree, Tom rescues a mailman from a tree, and then smacks around the dog that chased the hapless letter carrier up there.
One thing that always bothered me about the newer T&J cartoons is that most of the time, Jerry is the instigator. Tom is just minding his own business, and then Jerry gets in his face, wakes him up, or sabotages the cat show. I don't know if it's just the parent in me, but I've always felt that Jerry got away with waaaay too much. Now when Sylvester was getting the crap knocked out of him, he was trying to eat Tweety or Speedy or whatever, so he had it coming; not so much here. It also is somewhat troubling/annoying/disconcerting that Tom and Jerry seem to like each other; it gives an odd "you always hurt the one you love" vibe to the proceedings.
The video is solid, with strong colors and clean image borders (you don't always get those, even with the newer cartoons); there's nothing to complain about with the transfer. The 2.0 sound mix is good, but unremarkable.
These cartoons have their target demographics pegged; my three kids (ages 2-7) loved the disc. But while many parents don't mind watching Kim Possible or Thomas the Tank Engine, most adults will be find this disc guilty of being a touch on the tedious side. True Tom & Jerry fans will almost certainly be better off looking for the classic shorts.
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