DVD Review: Tom and Jerry - Tricks & Treats

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There are more comprehensive Tom and Jerry collections available on DVD and even Blu-ray, but every once in a while Warner Bros. issues a bargain priced single disc DVD that collects a bunch of themed episodes. Tom and Jerry - Around the World, for example, was made up of travel-related cartoon shorts. As you might guess from the title, Tom and Jerry - Tricks & Treats has a vaguely Halloweenish theme. But the concept is a little loose, resulting in a mishmash of different types of cartoons.

As with other similar Tom and Jerry compilations, Tricks & Treats presents a mixture of old and new. The older ones mostly come from the glory days when Hanna-Barbera was producing theatrical shorts that sometimes earned Academy Awards. These are shorts older fans are most likely to recognize. If you’re just interested in those, there are better collections out there. Of the 22 here, just six are from the classic era—five produced by Hanna-Barbera and one from 1965 during the Chuck Jones era. I happen to love to look of the Jones shorts, with Tom’s distinctive appearance. The one here is “Haunted Mouse,” in keeping with the Halloween theme. The 1954 Hanna-Barbera production “Touché, Pussy Cat!,” found here, was not only nominated for an Oscar, it was the first produced in CinemaScope.

The remaining 16 shorts are pulled from the short-lived (only two seasons) Tom and Jerry Tales series that originally ran from 2006-08 on the Kids’ WB network. This show has been extensively released (and re-released) over the years, so if you or your kids prefer these newer shorts you can find these elsewhere. “The Itch” is a pretty clever little short, featuring a rock band that evokes an unusual audience response whenever they play their signature tune. “More Powers to You” centers on a Power Rangers take-off, a group called the Amazing Acquaintances. These aren’t really too Halloweeny, but “Monster Con” finds Tom assisting Van Helsing in Transylvania.

Two bonus cartoons are included. I’m not really sure how these constitute “bonus cartoons” as they are, in fact, part of the 22 cartoons promised on the DVD cover. But they’re under the “Bonus Features” menu nonetheless. I guess it’s because they aren’t Halloween-related. First up we have “Ho, Ho Horrors,” a Christmas-themed short from season one of Tom and Jerry Tales in 2006. “Doggone Hill Hog” is another wintery excursion about sledding. This one features Spike the dog. A handful of Warner animated show trailers rounds out the bonus features.

There’s a lot of Tom and Jerry product out there, so you’ll want to look for doubles if you already own any other DVDs. But if you don’t and you’re looking for a sampler, Tom and Jerry - Tricks & Treats will do the trick.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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