The team of Hanna and Barbara are as much a part of my childhood as Uncle Walt Disney. The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Johnny Quest, and yes…Tom and Jerry, were like faithful companions that were never farther away than our 15 inch black and white television set. Nostalgia is very in these days. Baby boomers are all facing the midlife years, and not surprisingly there is a warm longing for those buddies of our youth. It’s simple economics that studios would attempt to cash in on our bygone days. Now in our direct to …VD marketplace, shows like Tom and Jerry are resurrected as much for these pining adults as they are for the eager youth just looking for a good toon. Add to this the popularity of pirate themes of late and you have the setup for the latest Tom and Jerry adventure. As much as it is good to see the cat and mouse team back in action, it reminds us yet again that you really can’t go back home. Now under the direction of Warner, Shiver Me Whiskers plays more like a Loony Tunes entry than the traditional Tom and Jerry buffoonery. Now this isn’t all bad, because Loony Tunes were some sweet toons. It’s just different.
Tom and Jerry are hanging out with one of three pirate brothers, Red Pirate Ron. Tom finds a map leading to one of the largest treasures in pirate lore. With dreams of wealth and a life of ease, the duo plot to plunder the booty for themselves. Naturally, the three pirate brothers might have something to say about that plan. Plenty of gags ensue.
I guess it’s asking too much for anything more than a full frame format with these cartoons. While I understand the original was certainly full frame, why should these newer films follow the same pattern? The colors are bright and the animation is clean and shiny. Perhaps a little too clean and shiny. But there I go again, remembering how things used to be. Surely I don’t expect Warner to dirty up the print so I can have a 1970’s animation flashback, do I? No comment. Contrast is superb, and black levels are adequate for cartoon fare.
The soundtrack is a Dolby Digital 5.1 affair, but I honestly couldn’t catch anything out of the rear speakers. The zany musical cues are reproduced with fine effect. The silly dialogue is clear, at least as clear as a whole lot of “Yars” can really be. Thankfully our duo does not speak. Typical cartoon sound effects come through wonderfully.
“Where Be They Now?” is a silly little epilogue to the feature film. It ties up the loose ends of what became of all the characters. It’s only a bit over 3 minutes and is entertaining enough to have been part of the film.
“The Animation Process” is a bit misnamed. There is no explanation or demonstration of the process of animating a film. It is merely one of those storyboard to finished product comparison clips.
What’s not to love? Tom and Jerry, pirates and plenty of booty, and a wonderful voice cast that includes Charles Nelson Reilly and Mark Hamill; this film has a lot of treasure to offer up. So hoist that sail and weigh anchor… “Yarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”
Special Features List
- “Where Be They Now?” – Bonus ending
- “The Animation Process” featurette