Thursday, January 5, 2012

DVD review - Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale

My children were given this as a Christmas present and I was a little wary. The Tom and Jerrys from the '40s were beautifully animated but colossally violent. The ones from the '70s were badly animated, and worse yet, in response to the complaints of violence, made Tom and Jerry extremely dull friends. I also vaguely remember Filmation licensing the characters in some pretty crappy Saturday morning fare. Films followed in the '80s in which the cat and mouse had voices! Sacrilege!

My expectations weren't set too high.

But, I was pleasantly surprised. The animation is good, great backgrounds. Tom and Jerry remain enemies. Tom gets beat up some, but not with cast-iron skillets. The story isn't Citizen Kane, but it has its moments. And much of the comedy works. And, the whole thing is set to the score from the Nutcracker. How freaking ambitious. It's as if, inspired by Mickey Mouse's appearance in Fantasia, Hanna-Barbera convinced MGM to make a nearly feature length T&J classical music piece, and it sat in a vault for 70 years.

I haven't seen the other T&J direct-to-DVD movies, but this could very well be the best T&J cartoon ever. And quite possibly the best Hanna-Barbera production.

Also, for cartoon fanatics, don't miss the very beginning where they cleverly combine the Warner Bros. logo with the font and background of the '40s MGM cartoons.

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