Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Tom and Jerry - Spotlight Collection

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
William Hanna
Joseph Barbera

Special Features:
Commentary by Jerry Beck on: The Zoot Cat, Kitty Foiled, Heavenly Puss

40 restored and remastered shorts

"Behind the Tunes: The MGM Orchestra" {new documentary on the music of Tom and Jerry) (20 mins.}

"How Bill and Joe Met Tom & Jerry" {new documentary on the origin of the series} (27 mins.)

Jerry Dances with Gene Kelly {excerpt from "Anchors Aweigh"}

Tom and Jerry Swim with Esther Williams {excerpt from "Dangerous When Wet"}

Other Info:
Fullscreen and Widescreen
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 322 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the description from the DVD cover:

"The Tom-and-Jerry legacy chases through every nook and cranny of the classic animation pantheon, spanning six decades and several famous directors. Looney Tunes icons Friz Freleng, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones all played their part. But the enduring cat-and-mouse team was the brainchild of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Their first short Puss Gets the Boot (in which Tom was called Jasper) was released with little fanfare. Fellow animators did not consider a cat-pursuing-mouse scenario too exciting or original. But when unleashed on exhibitors and audiences, their hilariously diabolical rivalry delighted everyone. This 2-disc set of 40 restored and remastered shorts (along with fabulous celebratory bonuses) includes nine Academy Award nominees and seven winners. And with this in hand, you're a winner too!"

This DVD is not rated.

The Movie:
I used to watch Tom and Jerry religiously as a kid. It's great to be able to revisit it again on this DVD. I put my kids in front of the TV with this playing and they got to watch Tom and Jerry for the first time. Like their old man, they loved it. It seems cats getting tortured and maimed are funny no matter what generation you're from.

Seeing it again as an adult, I noticed a number of things that I missed as a child. For whatever reason, it never registered to me that Hanna and Barbera were the guys that created Tom and Jerry. Being a big fan of their later work on TV, I had no idea that's where they got their start. Not only that, but Joseph Barbera provided the voice for Tom and Jerry. I also thought that Tom and Jerry were silent almost all of the time, but going back I see now that they talked a lot more than I realized.

Unfortunately for this DVD the animation looks like it hasn't been restored (despite the fact that it iss advertised as being remastered). There's still a lot of dust and scratches on the picture. However, the content is still fun despite occasionally being politically incorrect, shockingly violent, and twisted. After all, anything that would inspire Itchy and Scratchy on The Simpsons has to be classic, right?

If you're a fan of animation, you'll definitely want to add this to your collection. If you have kids that you want to entertain for 322 minutes, this one will fit the bill as well.

The Extras:
There are quite a few extras included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

Commentary by Jerry Beck on: The Zoot Cat, Kitty Foiled, Heavenly Puss Jerry Beck is an animation historian and Tom and Jerry buff. While his enthusiasm is contagious, his commentary quickly gets dry. He goes from pointing out the musical tunes being played on the screen to pointing out which animator did which piece of the action. He then proceeds to quote the job history of the animator. While this is great stuff for animation fans, casual fans may get bored.

"Behind the Tunes: The MGM Orchestra" This 20 minute documentary gets heavy into the music of the cartoons. They talk about the composer and how he worked around the animation. They also talk about how they recycled tunes from other MGM movies for the cartoons. I was amazed to realize that musical tunes from The Wizard Of Oz were even included in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

"How Bill and Joe Met Tom & Jerry" This 27 minute documentary is the centerpiece of the bonus features. In it Hanna and Barbera talk about their early careers, how they teamed up, and how they developed Tom and Jerry. They talk about its success, the numerous Oscar wins, and the eventual dumping of the animation division by MGM. It's quite an interesting story and one well worth listening to if you're a fan of Tom and Jerry or these guys.

Jerry Dances with Gene Kelly {excerpt from "Anchors Aweigh"} This is the full landmark animation segment featuring Jerry and Gene Kelly dancing together.

Tom and Jerry Swim with Esther Williams {excerpt from "Dangerous When Wet"} This was another teaming of the cartoon characters with live actors on the big screen. Again, it's another notable piece of animation history.

The Bottom Line:
The Tom and Jerry DVD is a great addition to your collection if you have kids, if you're an animation buff, or if you like seeing cats tortured.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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