When Tom and Jerry Tales premiered on the Kids WB! Network in September of 2006, I’m sure there was a collective moan across the animation fan collective. Bringing back old animation into the modern atmosphere has rarely proved successful in the past and when taking beloved characters like Tom and Jerry, you had to wonder if there was any real possibility that it could be done right. Those who watched the first pilot episodes and purchased the subsequent DVD volumes, collecting around three hours of the series, found that the series really wasn’t all that bad. In fact, at times, it rivaled some of the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Not so much a re-imagining as much as the old series revitalized into a newer format, Tom and Jerry Tales takes all of the classic elements of the cartoons, keeps them, and expands the show into new territories. While the older shows kept largely to the home and yard, the new series expands and puts our cat and mouse adversaries into prehistoric worlds and haunted houses. With robots and dinosaurs abound, this third volume of Tom and Jerry Tales collects fifteen more shorts from the shows first season.
I’m not entirely sure what order these volume discs are being released as, because when I referenced an episode guide I found this collection had episodes from the second episode produced, so what’s going on exactly, I’m not sure. Still, whatever order they’re in, it doesn’t really matter from a storytelling standpoint as they’re all standalone tales, like before. Each “episode” has three stories each, which are as easy to get into as the old series. I was actually amazed by how similar this new series was to the old, even if the absurd violence is toned down a bit. The tricks, interaction and even Tom’s remorse when he thinks Jerry died are all intact, but with newer, smoother animation and a larger sound effects and color palette.
Admittedly I was a bit taken aback by the first episode on this set, “Bats What I like About the South”, simply because it took place in a haunted house and isn’t what I was used to from the franchise. Still, once I got into it I realized it was just like the original and I even found myself laughing quite a few times. These cartoons are still made with the all age’s audience in mind, which is nice to see—I grew tired of being talked down to in some of the recent animated productions that have aired. Tom and Jerry Tales is simply just a fun cartoon to watch. Recommended.
Arriving in a single disc amaray case with no slipcover or insert, Tom and Jerry Tales – Volume 3 packs nearly two hours worth of cartoons (the back states 120 minutes, but the actual run time is about three minutes shy of that mark) onto the single disc, quite impressive considering past releases were only around 90 minutes each. Disc art is unique compared to the rest of the packaging and the menus are static and easy to navigate. Video and audio are pristine and showed few signs of interlacing or compression. The video is a standard 4:3 transfer, but I have to wonder if the show isn’t animated in widescreen, like most things are nowadays.
Moving onto the extras…wait, there are no extras. This DVD is completely barebones, offering up only the fifteen episodes themselves. Sure the qualities pristine, but considering they’re releasing these things in volumes, you’d think they’d shove kind of piddly extra on here, but this release has nothing. Even with two hours of content on the disc, it still has about two gigabytes free, more than enough for more cartoons or some extras.
I really don’t like volume releases, if only because I feel they cheat the consumer. It’s not that difficult to release a two-disc a set these days, but it’s not as profitable in most cases. At least they’re offering up a couple hours of content this time around, but Warner Home Video really just needs to stop milking these franchises and give us larger sets. Great show, but these releases are a laugh. Skip It.
Tom and Jerry Tales: Volume 3 is now available on DVD.