Warner Bros. (September 23 2006), Warner Home Video (October 3 2006), single disc, 92 mins plus supplements, 1.33:1 original full frame ratio, Dolby Digital Surround, Not Rated, Retail: $14.98
Guest reviewed by Roberta E Norman.
Tom and Jerry continue their comical antics together in this all-new DVD.
The Sweatbox Review:
What could possibly be said about Tom And Jerry Tales: Volume 1? I suppose it is about the same as the originals most of us grew up watching. The few people who offered their opinion on IMDb were satisfied with what they saw. It depends on how you look at it. Maybe I should leave it at that and save everyone some time, but I think you deserve a closer look at what may not seem apparent by looking at the cover in Wal-Mart.
This DVD offers 12 animated shorts including: Ho Ho Horrors, Doggone Hill Hog, Northern Light Fish Fight, Way Off Broadway, Egg Beats, Cry Uncle, Joy Riding Jokers, Cat Got Your Luggage?, City Dump Chumps, Tiger Cat, Feeding Time and Polar Peril. The character design didn’t startle me when I saw the apparent and expected changes. However, I was disappointed and sad…mostly for Jerry’s sake. Jerry has always had slightly feminine features, but now those features are above and beyond innocent cuteness. Tom was actually okay, and I say this after reviewing several original stills and comparing. I understand that these shorts aren’t equipped with the most up-to-date computer animated graphics; I expected to see some shading and/or highlighting of characters, but instead they only possessed simple shadows. I also wasn’t very fond of how the females were portrayed, with personified and mature bodies, clothes, and hair! The director kept with tradition and the faces of the humans are still a mystery (which I’ve always personally liked). Sometimes the characters felt a little too flat, a little too…2D, if you will. They didn’t appear to be on the same plane at times. In fact, I felt as though I was watching animated fan art. Over time (for about four episodes) I slowly got over their appearance and new mannerisms…
I liked how every “episode” (which are compiled of three mini-episodes – the 12 mentioned above) has a theme. For example, the first three mini-episodes were all set in a wintry wonderland, while three others were set at a zoo. Ho Ho Hunters was a pleasant surprise with its refreshing poetic narration (a la The Night Before Christmas). The episode Doggone Hill Hog definitely had the most comedy of all episodes! Spike (the dog, remember?) must have led a rough life since the end of the beloved original series, because he suffered from a severe “smoker’s cough” and even threatened Tom and Jerry to “lick my sled!” while referring to them as “naughty boys”. I’ll let you gather your own opinions on that! Speaking of other characters, do you remember Jerry’s Uncle Pecos who sang (ahem, stuttered) the infamous Crambone song? Well, he returns in the episode Cry Uncle! You’ll be disheartened to know that he does not reprise his song, but sings Polly Wolly Doodle instead. He even throws the line “…milk my hamsters…” into the song! Also disturbing is how he rides (yes, rides) a woman like a horse at the end. These are things you must see yourself to believe them!
I was a little sad to see so many cell-shaded props. As times change I understand the financial issues and the advantages of computers and fast-track programs. I do admit I miss the hand drawn, well, everything. But, I am learning to accept the inevitable.
So…what was good? As we all know, most of the older episodes took place in a house, mainly the kitchen or living room. It was refreshing to see Tom and Jerry get out of the house! They got to visit New York, swim underwater, go sled riding, work at a zoo, etc. Another good facet was the music! I thought it played very well and fit every occasion…even down to little Jerry’s walking – at times there would be a flute or triangle playing for his tip-toeing. I did like the introduction and theme-song sequence, because of the feel and artistic technique used in the characters and background (but it only lasts for about 30 seconds). I suppose I could also say that it wasn’t a complete waste of time and that I didn’t force myself to finish the DVD after one episode. But, I do admit most of it was curiosity to compare to the originals. I can’t help it…I’m biased! I also believe that most who read this review will also be biased to the elder.
Is This Thing Loaded?
What exactly does this DVD have to offer that a blank tape and a copy of TV Guide can’t? Well, the features are slim! You have the options to Play All or pick the episode of your choice. Last are the trailers for Charlie And Lola, Toot And Puddle, a Scooby-Doo Pirates Ahoy! teaser, Krypto The Superdog: Volume 2, McKids: Volumes 1 & 2, Tom And Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers, How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Kids Holiday 2006, and Harry And His Bucket Full Of Dinosaurs.
Warner did a decent job with a colorful cover. It also has a list of the episodes on the back, along with two stills. It’s just a single disc, so the inside isn’t so enticing, but the artwork certainly does its trick.
Ink and Paint:
The colors are a little off, especially with the contrast of the bright and chromatic characters against the sometimes beautiful, but dull backgrounds. The outlining was sometimes too stylized and thick. However, overall the painting was well done. They even stayed within the lines!
Dolby Digital Surround Sound definitely offers quality. The music was well-placed and fit the animation very well. I believe the music and soundtrack were some of the best parts of the entire DVD. You can choose from three languages: English, Spanish or French, but they didn’t provide subtitles for the hearing-impaired!
I don’t hate this as much as I come off! I would recommend this to anyone who has some spare time and cash. Compared to other show/character revivals, Tom And Jerry Tales: Volume 1 wasn’t all that bad, but it also wasn’t very good. To sum it up, this will leave a bad impression for first-time Tom and Jerry viewers and could possibly hurt the reputation of the beloved originals.
Animated Classic or Back To The Drawing Board?