DVD Review: Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2

Hi all…

Tom and Jerry have had long and fruitful lives as cartoon characters. The titular cat and mouse began in a series of animated cartoons created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for MGM in 1940 and have evolved several times over the last 70+ years. It’s a familiar recipe for cartoons – take one lovable scoundrel, introduce a second scoundrel to the same environment, and see which scoundrel wins. Last I checked, it’s a dead heat and neither cat nor mouse has gained the upper hand.

I believe I’ve seen most, if not all of the Tom and Jerry cartoons at one time or another. Even in my 40s, I still watch cartoons with my kids and the classics like Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, and Scooby-Doo seem to beat most current cartoons hands down. But I’m starting to grow tired of Warner Brother’s current attempts to milk the franchise on DVD for more money with single-DVD collections of the Tom and Jerry shorts. Every few months, there’s a new release.

Now I have to say I’m eagerly anticipating the Tom & Jerry Golden Collection: Volume One when it arrives on Blu-ray in October 2011. Apparently the new collection features the first 37 shorts, restored from the best 35mm originals they could find, in beautiful 1080p HD with Dolby 5.1 sound. And the rumor is that the new collection will show the original cartoons un-edited and un-censored. That collection is currently available for pre-order at Amazon today and I’ve already got my order in.

However, Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2 seems to be a hodgepodge collection of 14 shorts from three very different eras of Tom and Jerry production and the quality of the transfers leaves quite a lot to be desired. My personal favorites are the original Hanna-Barbera shorts from the 1940s & 50s and those from when Chuck Jones was working on them in the mid-1960s, not the shorts from the later series Tom and Jerry Tales.

The DVD includes the following shorts:

  • Tops with Pops (1957 – Hanna-Barbera)
  • Monster Con (Tom and Jerry Tales 2007)
  • Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl (1950 – Hanna-Barbera)
  • Of Feline Bondage (1965 – Chuck Jones)
  • Saturday Evening Puss (1950 – Hanna-Barbera)
  • The A-Tom-Inable Snowman (1966 – Chuck Jones)
  • Surf-bored Cat (1967 – Chuck Jones)
  • Snowbody Loves Me (1964 – Chuck Jones)
  • Duel Personality (1966 – Chuck Jones)
  • Is There a Doctor in the Mouse? (1964 – Chuck Jones)
  • The Haunted Mouse (1965 – Chuck Jones)
  • Declaration of Independunce (Tom and Jerry Tales 2007)
  • Kitty Hawked (Tom and Jerry Tales 2007)
  • Which Witch (Tom and Jerry Tales 2007)

Several of the transfers of the shorts really didn’t come across well at all, with obvious scratches and a jittery picture. It was especially noticeable in some of the shorts from the ’50s and ’60s. The newer Tom and Jerry Tales shorts had a nice, clean transfer with little extra movement beyond what the creators wanted. You do get to see favorites from the original shorts, including Spike and Tyke, Butch, Lightning, and Topsy. Of the classics included, I think “Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl,” “Saturday Evening Puss,” and “The Haunted Mouse” are my favorites.

Unfortunately you also get to see ill-conceived shorts from Tom and Jerry Tales like “Monster Con” which pairs Tom up with Van Helsing as they go monster hunting at a monster convention. Like most of the newer Tom and Jerry cartoons, these seem to be poor, shallow imitations of the earlier era of shorts.

Beyond the Tom and Jerry cartoons themselves, there are no extras except for a few trailers for other Warner Brothers-produced shows such as The Looney Tunes Show (which fails except for the brilliant 3D Road Runner/Coyote cartoons) and a collection of Snoopy’s adventures in Happiness Is… Peanuts: Snoopy’s Adventures.

If you’re a fan of the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons, I’d seriously skip Tom and Jerry: Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 2 and save your money for the upcoming Tom & Jerry Golden Collection: Volume One to be released in October 2011.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

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DVD Review: Tom and Jerry Tales: Vol. 5

Hi all..

With two kids at home, I have an excuse to review fun things like this, collecting 12 of the Tom and Jerry Tales cartoons on one DVD! Though there’s nothing quite like the original Tom & Jerry Jerry cartoons from Hanna-Barbera, Tom & Jerry Tales does capture some of the sparkle from that bygone era of ‘toons and spiffs it up a bit.

For those of you who don’t know, Tom and Jerry was originally created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for MGM. Tom, a housecat, had a never ending war with Jerry, a little brown mouse. Each episode we would see Tom try to catch Jerry and run into obstacle after obstacle.

[rating:3/4]

Tom and Jerry Tales, Volume 5From 1940 to 1957, Hanna & Barbera created 114 cartoons before the MGM animation studio was closed down. In 1960, a few new cartoons were created by Gene Deitch for Rembrandt Studios. And in 1963, Chuck Jones company picked up the series and produced new cartoons until 1967.

In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, we saw new incarnations of Tom & Jerry surface from time to time. And then in 2006, Warner Brothers Animation began releasing Tom & Jerry Tales cartoons on WB Kids. These new cartoons began airing on Saturday mornings.

This DVD, Volume 5, includes 12 Tom & Jerry Tales cartoons, including:

  • Invasion of the Body Slammers
  • Sasquashed
  • Monster Con
  • Xtreme Trouble
  • Endless Bummer
  • and 7 more!

This collection provides some modern storylines for our dynamic duo as well as dusting off some tried and true critters and creatures. Invasion of the Body Slammers has them face an alien from another world with the ability to take the shape of whatever creature it likes. Sasquashed has them face Bigfoot. And Monster Con puts them in league with Von Helsing as he tries to capture werewolves, mummies, vampires, Igor, and Frankenstein’s Monster.

Though you can’t beat the original Tom & Jerry cartoons from Hanna Barbera, the WB Animation Studios has done them justice, keeping the original flavor of the cartoons and adding a fresh coat of paint to the characters.

If you have youngsters, these are fun cartoons full of the best kind of cartoon violence – Tom & Jerry get dinged, flattened, smooshed, and pretty much violated any way you can think of. And it’s all in good fun!

There are no extras to speak of on the DVD except for a few previews of other WB properties coming to DVD, including Tiny Toons and Freakazoid (one of my personal favorites).

I give this set of 12 episodes a solid 3 out of 4. They’re fun, cartoonishly violent, and keep the spirit of Tom & Jerry alive!

Be sure to check it out at your local retailers or online!

–Fitz

p.s. Check out the following Tom and Jerry Tales DVD collections available from Amazon:

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