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"Tom & Jerry’s Greatest Chases" Vol. 3: A Waste For Collectors and Casuals Alike

by on October 16, 2009

Tom and Jerry are a classic cat and mouse team that really needs no introduction. Everyone already knows them and their shorts: the comic violence, the well-orchestrated, jazzy music timed to the on-screen action, the gorgeous full animation, and the stories that can hold one’s attention without much dialog, if any. It’s quality stuff that can still be enjoyed sixty years later.

So there’s nothing wrong with the content of this Tom and Jerry’s Greatest Chases, Vol. 3. Many of the shorts included are fun to watch if you’re in the mood for the lavishness of Disney combined with the hard-hitting slapstick and fast-paced mayhem of Looney Tunes. In fact, a few of the shorts on this disc were even nominated (or won) an Academy Award.

The problem is with the DVD release itself. This is a best-of release with barely over an hour-and-a-half of content, apparently aimed at those who have never bought a Tom and Jerry release in their life. While the Spotlight Collections weren’t perfect, they’re much better choices than this single disc release, due to their containing far more shorts, along with special material like commentaries and behind-the-scenes docs, both of which this best-of lacks.

From the Spotlight Collection, Volume 1, we have: “Cat Napping” (Tom and Jerry compete for a spot in a hammock); “The Flying Cat” (Tom tries to catch Jerry with fake wings); “The Two Mouseketeers” (Jerry and Nibbles vs. Tom set against the backdrop of a royal banquet); “Smitten Kitten” (clip show cartoon featuring Tom and a female cat he’s gaga over); “Baby Butch” (Butch the alley cat dresses up as a baby in order to get Tom’s ham); “Designs on Jerry” (Tom vs. Jerry in blueprint form); “The Pecos Pest” (Jerry’s Uncle Pecos arrives and sings while plucking whiskers from Tom to use as his guitar strings); “Touche, Pussy Cat!” (a follow-up to “Two Mouseketeers”); “The Flying Sorceress” (Tom takes a witch’s broom on a joyride); and “Blue Cat Blues” (Jerry recounts how Tom’s girlfriend dumped him for Butch).

From the Spotlight Collection, Volume 2, it takes: “The Night Before Christmas” (a loose take-off on the classic story); “The Bowling Alley Cat” (Tom vs. Jerry in a bowling alley); “Fine Feathered Friend” (Tom tries to catch Jerry, who is protected by a hen); and “Puttin’ on the Dog” (Tom disguises himself as a dog to capture Jerry while in a dog pound).

Several of these cartoons (like “The Two Mouseketeers” and “Designs on Jerry”) have been released more than once, on the Academy Awards Animation Collection, for instance, or as bonuses on feature film releases. In fact, there’s nothing but overlap with previous releases. And, as even less incentive, the video quality doesn’t suggest the shorts have been remastered, either, though luckily the few shorts that were released in Cinemascope have kept their widescreen aspect ratio.

I have to wonder at whom Tom and Jerry’s Greatest Chases Vol. 3 is targeted. You’re probably thinking, “Parents who just want a quick DVD to satisfy their kids, duh!” Yes, I realize this DVD isn’t made for collectors like me. But it contains only fourteen shorts, all of which can be found on the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collections, which themselves are getting down to $10 in most stores (such as Target), the same price as this brand-new DVD.

I’d say skip this quickie release and just pay the same amount for the Spotlight Collections, which can be found for dirt cheap nowadays.

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