DVD Review: Tom and Jerry: In the Doghouse

Tom and Jerry chased each other endlessly over the decades. But they weren’t always a duo act when it came to the mayhem. Quite often a bulldog named Spike would add into the mix. Spike acted as pure muscle. While Tom and Jerry were rather creative in their on screen antics, Spike was pure muscle and teeth. He wasn’t there to be cunning or stealthy. He was mainly out to restore peace in his world by extreme force. He wasn’t purely mean. He was also a father with a kid named Tyke. He’d get aggressive with the cat and mouse to make his son know that he is the king of the suburban jungle. Tom and Jerry: In the Doghouse contains 22 cartoons that focus on the times Tom and Jerry shared the screen with Spike.

The 22 cartoons contain 7 new adventures and 15 classic MGM cartoons directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The new cartoons are fine, but lack the luster of the original. Of the new cartoons, the best is “DJ Jerry.” Tom lives inside a record store which is nice until he hears Jerry running a rave below the floor. He wants to stop the music. He can’t get easy access to the mouse party since Spike is working the velvet rope. He’s not letting any non-rodents on the dance floor.

Spike plays a bigger role in many of the cartoons during the Hanna-Barbera era. 
“The Bodyguard” has Jerry rescue Spike from the dogcatcher’s truck. He’s now got power when it comes to dealing with Tom. This means the cat must come up with ways for Jerry to not be able to alert Spike. “Quiet Please!” makes the cat and mouse chase frustrate Spike’s desire to get sleep. He’s got a personal reasons to put a stop to their shenanigans. “Slicked-up Pup” scrubs up with Spike bathing his son Tyke. Things get out of control when the little one gets covered in the wrong stuff thanks to the cat and mouse. He’s going to put a hurting on somebody. Originally a gag in “The Dog House” leaves Spike with a black face gag. They’ve digitally altered the image so Spike is just merely more brown than usual. Purists will riot at this, but a collection like this is aimed more toward little kids to watch in the back of a mini-van. Do you really want to explain black face while driving down the New Jersey Turnpike?

There are a couple cartoons with Spike barely making a cameo appearance. “Tot Watchers” has him in a blink and you’ll miss him gag. “The Invisible Mouse” keeps him off the screen until the big finale when he takes a golf club to Tom. He still makes an impact with a role. Tom and Jerry: In the Doghouse is a fine collection for fans who want a dog in the cat and mouse fight.

New cartoons are “24 Karat Kat,” “Destruction Junction,” “Beefcake Tom,” “Bend it Like Thomas,” “Game Set Match,” “DJ Jerry,” “Beach Bully Bingo” and “A Life Less Guarded.” MGM cartoons directed by Hanna and Barbera are “Tom’s Photo Finish,” “Cat Napping,” “Cat Fishin’,” “The Bodyguard,” “Quiet Please!,” “Solid Serenade,” “Slicked-up Pup,” “Puttin’ on the Dog,” “The Framed the Cat,” “Tot Watchers,” “The Invisible Mouse,” “Pet Peeve,” “Feeding Time” and” The Dog House.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame for most of the cartoons. “Tot Watchers” is 2.35:1 anamorphic. There are a couple that should be presented this way, but are pan and scanned. This is not for animation fiends. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono for the MGM cartoons and stereo for new cartoons. There’s also dub tracks in Spanish, French and Portuguese. There’s not much talking so you won’t really notice language changes. The subtitles are in English and Portuguese.

No bonus features.

Tom and Jerry: In the Doghouse gives Spike the Dog his day. These cartoons might have starred a cat and a mouse, but the bulldog was part of the mix. The collection is perfect for mild fans and small children.

Warner Home Video presents Tom and Jerry: In the Doghouse. Starring: Tom, Jerry, Spike and Tyke. Boxset Contents: 22 cartoons on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: February 28, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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