DVD Review: Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases Volume 2

Now Available on DVD

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What Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote were to Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry were to Hanna-Barbera. As the animated duo who were so frequently caught up in chases-- not only is it fitting that the characters consisted of a veritable cat and mouse but also that Warner Brothers has released 14 more of the classic (originally MGM produced) shorts
from 1944 through 1951 in the aptly named Greatest Chases series featuring the beloved cartoon icons.

While unfortunately the animation included on the 102 minute disc hasn't been touched up in the slightest and even looked lackluster and grainy on an upconvert player-- the content is what keeps the series of theatrical shorts from aging. Ingeniously animated with a frantic pacing-- the Tom and Jerry works contained on this disc helped foreshadow what the editing industry would do in action movies down the road by synchronizing everything perfectly in tune with the music. And although some Road Runner cartoons felt a tad repetitive, Hanna-Barbera's Tom and Jerry chases never got old as those responsible for the series made sure that both characters have the upper hand at some point and creativity was always at the forefront as the relentlessly pursuant cat Tom tries to ensnare the clever mouse Jerry in a variety of schemes.

Featuring some of the most renowned shorts that begin just three years after Tom and Jerry made their debut in 1940 in a wonderful and promising series which would go onto garner the animators seven Best Animated Short Subject Oscar statues-- Warner Brothers' recent Greatest Chases Volume 2 disc is notable for its inclusion of two of these award-winnings works with the 1944 released Mouse Trouble and 1945 released Quiet Please!

With the convenient option to play the disc in its entirety and let each short move into the next (along with various subtitle and language options such as English, Portuguese, French and Thai) we find Tom engaged in a literal cat-fight over Jerry, a bratty little girl forcing Tom to become a cat in the cradle by dressing him as a baby which Jerry enjoys immensely, and their endless back-and-forth dynamic that's tested when Tom learns he will inherit a million dollars provided he doesn't hurt Jerry and later as both try not to get on the bad side of the bulldog Spike.

Spike is the central character in one of the strongest shorts-- the Oscar winning Quiet Please!-- as Tom realizes he must act quickly to try and nab Jerry once and for all before the sleeping bulldog will awaken and put an end to it. And likewise Mouse Trouble is especially entertaining as well as Tom enlists the aid of a '40s version of a self-help manual to catch a mouse (from "Random Mouse" books).

However, in addition to the award-winners, there's a lot of great discoveries to be found on the disc including Cue Ball Cat which finds Jerry hiding in a corner pocked of a pool table as Tom tries to crush him, making terrific use of the animation of the billiard balls as well as when Jerry tries to become a bodyguard to a goldfish that Tom decides on a whim he wants to cook in a French recipe he hears on a radio show. Fun and fast-paced-- despite the grain, dust and sometimes less than sharp color in the animation-- Greatest Chases Volume 2 makes a solid addition for Tom and Jerry collectors.

*Note: This month, Warner Brothers is also releasing the following collectible set:

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