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DVD Review: TOM AND JERRY: THE CHUCK JONES COLLECTION


Studio: Warner Home Video
Year: 1963-1967
Cast: Mel Blanc, June Foray
Director: various
Release Date: June 23, 2009, 4:19 pm
Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 03h:42m:25s

îAh-ha!î - Tom (Mel Blanc)

TOM AND JERRY: THE CHUCK JONES COLLECTION
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Although these cartoons are available in other DVD collections, it's nice to have them all in one nice package.

Movie Grade: A-

DVD Grade: B+

The great cartoon that is Tom and Jerry has enjoyed a nice life on the DVD format, with numerous single-disc releases and a trio of comprehensive box sets as well. Now, Warner Home Video unleashes Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection, a two-disc set that features all 34 animated shorts that were produced by the legendary Chuck Jones. While Jones applied his own, unique touches to these classic, beloved characters, he succeeded in capturing most of the magic of the earlier shorts, while never compromising the basics that the cat and mouseís rabid fans have loved for numerous decades.

While most fans of the series prefer the William Hanna and Joseph Barbera-produced Tom and Jerry shorts, itís difficult to argue that such a legend like Jones did his part to keep this great franchise going strong in the 1960s. What the old-school fans werenít too fond of was Jonesí decision to change, if only slightly, the look of our dynamic duo. Thereís still no denying that theyíre the Tom and Jerry we know and love, but this version of Jerry sports bigger ears and eyes, and Tomís eyebrows are much bushier. As one of the old-school fans myself, the new look cat and mouse was a bit startling at first, but I soon forgot all about it and was busy enjoying one of the other nuances that Chuck Jones brought to the table during his tenure drawing them.

Along with the change in appearance, Jones brought more cartoon violence to the proceedings, making the viewing of his shorts a much more adult-oriented experience than in the past. These two animals have always enjoyed the ultimate love/hate relationship, but in many of these shorts, it appears that Tom would actually devour Jerry if he was given the opportunity. These carnivorous tendencies that Tom exhibits add a nice, sharp edge to the proceedings, making things much more interesting, and further adding to the adult appeal. Iím actually glad I revisited the shorts in this particular collection before allowing my 5-year-old to watch along with me, because Iím going to hold her back from seeing roughly half of them until sheís a little older. Of course, it helps that sheís still watching Warnerís earlier DVD collections over and over again.

There are only two extras here, but theyíre good ones, starting with Tom and JerryÖand Chuck (rockiní title!). This new, 22-minute piece is narrated by June Foray, and focuses on the evolution of the Tom and Jerry cartoon and how it eventually progressed into the Chuck Jones years. Disc 2 houses Chuck Jones: Memories of a Childhood, a newly produced, 26-minute film by Peggy Stern that chronicles the life of Chuck Jones via animated pieces and interview footage with the man himself. Even if you already have these 34 animated shorts on DVD, this pair of documentaries is going to make this new set a must-own for animation buffs.

Chuck Aliaga June 23, 2009, 4:19 pm