The chase between a cat and mouse is timeless. As long as mice have popped their whiskers out of a hole, there’s been a cat ready to pounce. Perhaps that’s the reason why Tom and Jerry have remained popular since William Hanna and Joseph Barbera drew them to life in 1940. Over the decades other directors have taken charge of the comic duo with varying results. Tom and Jerry Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 3 contains 14 shorts from animators that came after Hanna and Barbera.
Six of the shorts came from Chuck Jones tenure when he had a crew made up of former Warner Brothers talent including the legendary Maurice Noble. Chuck altered his cat and mouse so Jerry had a bigger head and Tom grew sinister eyebrows. The cinemascope frame gave the duo more space to plot against each other. Jones and his crew had to clean up the vicious Tom and Jerry shorts that Gene Deitch produced in Czechoslovakia after MGM fired Hanna and Barbera. Jones made returned the shorts to a smooth look in both to the characters and action. The Jones era shorts included here are “Ah, Sweet Mouse-Story of Life,” “Bad Say at Cat Rock,” “Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary,” “Love Me, Love My Mouse,” “Shutter Bugged Cat” and “The Unshrinkable Mouse.” They are about middle of pack of the 34 shorts that Jones oversaw.
Tom and Jerry Tales brought the duo back to Saturday mornings for the 21st Century. The series played with the duo being antagonists and pals depending on the cartoon. “Beach Bully Bingo” has them team up to rid the sand of that offensive Spike and Butch. “Spook House Mouse” has them chased each other into a fair’s haunted house attraction. The duo share mutual scares that end them getting work. “Sasquashed” has them going camping and meeting up with Bigfoot. “Snow Mouse” covers their battle with the abominable snowmouse.
Also included is “Northern Light Fish,” “A Life Less Guarded,” “Doggone Hill Dog” and “Don’t Bring Your Pet to School Day.” The new animators do their best to give the shorts the flavor of the original shorts, but update the action to the now of 2008. They’re entertaining enough for kids that have become hooked on the cat and mouse chase. Tom and Jerry Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 3 provides insight as to how the mouse and cat kept their constant battle fresh over the decades.
The video for the Chuck Jones produced cartoons is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The Tom and Jerry Tales are 1.33:1 full frame. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. The soundtrack levels are fine for cartoon action. There’s also Spanish dubs for those rare speaking moments. Each cartoon has English, French and Spanish subtitles.
No bonus features.
Tom and Jerry Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 3 mixes shorts from Chuck Jones with modern Warner Brother animators. The outcome isn’t as lopsided as one would expect. The new guys do well at keeping the shorts zipping at a healthy speed without losing the viewers.
Warner Home Video presents Tom and Jerry Fur Flying Adventures, Volume 3. Starring: Tom, Jerry and Spike. Running Time: 100 minutes. Released on DVD: October 4, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: chuck jones, hanna-barbera, Tom and Jerry