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This last week I had a chance to watch the new Tom and Jerry Deluxe Anniversary Collection DVD. I have posted my review in the DVD/VHS section, but I'll post it here so that you, the fans, don't have to go digging:
I have been given a chance to review the new Tom and Jerry Deluxe Anniversary Collection DVD, so here is my take on this new collection of cartoons. I have two takes on this review, the Casual Viewer and the Purest. The Casual Review looks at from the perspective of someone that enjoys the cartoons for what they are as entertainment. The Purest Viewer, on the other hand, looks at the cartoons with higher expectations as one that has grown up with the cartoons, knows the history of the cartoons and respects the integrity of the animations.
The Casual Viewer:
This is a great set for the casual viewer. It has some of the best selected Tom and Jerry cartoons; all the Oscar winners and a few of the nominees. The cartoons presented on disc one are a broad selection of toons, showing how the characters and animation evolved over there years. Disc two has a limited amount of Tom and Jerry from the later eras after Hanna and Barbera's initial run. However, the second disc is not as comprehensive as disc one. The extras are limited to a new 18 minute documentary on Tom and Jerry through the years, which I enjoyed a lot; and a bunch of trailers.
If you haven't bought any of the Spotlight collection DVDs or Chuck Jones DVD and want a safe collection of Tom and Jerry cartoons for your kids, this is a set for you.
The Purest Viewer:
The question on everyone's mind is about how uncut these cartoons are: "The Milky Waif" and "The Little Orphan" have been edited and we are given the re-dubbed "The Lonesome Mouse". I find that a DVD that has a "warning screen", that you can't skip", that says the reason for presenting some of the cartoons as they were originally made is because pretending racism never existed in entertainment of this kind is doing a disservice to history a little misleading as we are given censored cartoons...again. Especially given the fact that they have a little box on the back cover that says that the DVD is meant for the adult collector and may not be suitable for children. This collection is more for the casual viewer than the adult collector as the adult collector wants their cartoons presented as they were originally made.
So how does this DVD fair to the Purest, well here's my take on the good, bad, and ugly:
It's great for the casual viewer. It's got a lot of great shorts on it. I LOVED "The Karate Guard" cartoon, one of the last that Joseph Barbera directed (a year before he passed). The magic was still there and made me laugh out loud a lot. It was a very fun cartoon. I have to admit that I've enjoyed the Tom and Jerry Tales cartoons, and "A Game of Mouse and Cat" was rather clever in my opinion. Though, Tom and Jerry Kids were a product of the whole "let's make our classic cartoon characters babies" trend in the 90's, I found "Flippin' Fido" to be enjoyable.
I liked the new documentary about Tom and Jerry through the years. I'd really be interested in a comprehensive documentary about Tom and Jerry, Hanna-Barbera, and the MGM animation studio. I think that there is a lot of history, insight, and material that could be presented in a 90-minute documentary if the Powers That Be so decided to do one.
I don't think I'm going to be making friends at Warner Brothers for what I'm about to say, but I have to be honest.
This DVD is pretty much a double-dip. You can find about 90% of these cartoons and extras on the Spotlight DVDs and the recent Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry DVD. The only thing new to DVD is a new documentary, a couple Tom and Jerry's from the 70's, and a Tom and Jerry Kids. So they have an example of all the Tom and Jerry cartoons throughout the years, yet NO Gene Deitch cartoon! I know that the Gene Deitch era was a bit rough, but if you are going to mention him in the documentary and have examples of Tom and Jerry through the years, at least include "Dicky Moe" or the "Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit". Can someone please explain the lack of Gene Deitch releases, please?
I'm surprised that this DVD didn't include "The Mansion Cat", the last Tom and Jerry to include William Hanna together with Joe Barbera from 2001. If I recall correctly that short has never been release on DVD.
Aside from this DVD bringing nothing really new to what as already release, we still get CENSORSHIP! As mentioned earlier, "The Milky Waif" and "The Little Orphan" have been edited and we are given the re-dubbed "The Lonesome Mouse". We are given a DVD that is still missing the shorts, "Mouse Cleaning" and "Casanova Cat". To add to the ugliness, this DVD has "Touché, Pussy Cat" and "That's My Mommy," in all their matted glory despite the widescreen title card and the widescreen versions in the Spotlight Collections.
I always hope for the best on any new Tom and Jerry release, but I just don't think that there is much love given to them. This DVD is a disappointment for me and it feels like a shoddy way to celebrate 70 years of Tom and Jerry.
I'm still hoping that one day we will get a truly definitive DVD box set that has all the Tom and Jerry's UNEDITED from all the era's in one set. I'm sure that there will be a lot of people vying to be first in line if that ever is a reality.
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