Who doesn't love Tom and Jerry? The infamous cat-and-mouse duo has been wreaking havoc on the small screen for many generations, and the franchise has birthed numerous spin-roofs, reboots, rehashes…you name it. Given the universal popularity of the duo, it makes perfect sense for Warner to release another compilation of Tom and Jerry classics, which it did in the Deluxe Anniversary Collection.
The idea seems promising enough–after all, it has been a while since the last official compilation was released, and a brand new generation of audiences is just ripe for a fresh new onslaught of Tom and Jerry’s antics. However, the reality is that the compilation doesn't really hit the mark. If you haven’t really followed Tom and Jerry, there is certainly a decent selection of entertaining episodes in this collection. But longtime fans will probably be disappointed with the omission of some obvious classics and the inclusion of…well, let's not mince words here: duds.
It’s a bit confusing to think how Warner came up with these particular episodes when planning this collection. The choices in this DVD are even more bewildering when you consider that many other characters and series in the Warmer stable have garnered more reverential treatment. There are glaring omissions as mentioned previously, and many of the episodes that were included definitely fall into the “what were they thinking?” category. But it doesn't end–nor begin–there.
The title of the collection itself is a bit puzzling. Even without taking into consideration the dubious “deluxe” tag, longtime followers may take issue with the “anniversary” part. There is nothing on the box that explains what anniversary is being celebrated, and you get the sense that this is a hastily assembled collection of substandard episodes with a few decent choices thrown in at the last minute.
The confusion continues when you pop the disc into the drive. The collection starts off with a selection of lackluster shorts, along with a few that have earned Academy Awards. As confusing as this initial salvo is, this is actually where you find one of the undisputed gems in the collection, which is an early episode entitled Puss Gets The Boot. Here you get a good depiction of the pair in their earliest television appearance. While Jerry is pretty much already the Jerry that we have come to know and love for so many years afterward, Tom has a decidedly different look, and is in fact even named “Jasper.”
The next episode in the series is The Midnight Snack, which true-blooded fans consider the first legitimate Tom and Jerry cartoon. By this episode, Tom was already rendered pretty much as he would look throughout the succeeding years. This episode is one of the earliest Tom and Jerry encounters, but it is definitely one of the highlights of this collection.
Unfortunately, things don’t get any better after that, and the few noteworthy classics do little to salvage a collection that seems to get bogged down by mediocrity. If you were exacting a Tom and Jerry collection that would do its part in upholding a classic legacy, you will probably have to wait until the next anniversary collection comes along.