Monday, November 24, 2008

Tom and Jerry:2005

We end our trip through time with Tom and Jerry with "The Karate Guard". Joseph Barbera returned one last time to co-direct this cartoon. He passed away soon after.

The cartoon takes the idea of Spike being Jerry's bodyguard and puts a martial arts spin on it. Jerry's karate skills are no match for Tom's flyswatter (there's that darn flyswatter again). The mouse is offered help by a mystical mentor who gives a magical gong to Jerry.

Whenever Jerry is in trouble with Tom, he simply bangs the gong to summon Spike the dog, who pummels Tom in classic violent fashion. Even when Tom attaches pillows to Spike's ears to block the sound of the gong, the cat's good fortune is short-lived.

In one impressive scene, Tom is launched directly at the camera, passes it and hits the roof of a house, all in one continuous shot, where he then claws frantically at the roof as he slides down. Tom enlists the help of Butch and his cronies and paintballs prove to be Spike's kryptonite. However, soon the cats are mere bowling pins to be knocked down by a balled-up Tom.

Tom is reduced to a servant, waiting hand and foot on Spike and Jerry, who gorge themselves on popcorn.
As with most cartoon series, the later, lackluster efforts of Tom and Jerry should not diminish the films of thier glory days, when fast-paced action, great music and violent mayhem ruled the screen with hilarious results.
Thanks to everyone who visits here for toughing it out through what became the longest timeline to complete due to my gaps in posting.
Coming up next will be another installment of PD Warehouse. From there...well, I have some ideas for characters who deserve the timeline treatment but I am open to any suggestions as well. Drop me a comment and let me know of any characters you would like to see highlighted here and I will see what I can do. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tom and Jerry:2001

When I made my last post, I was so grateful to reach the end of the Deitch/Jones films that I actually implied this timeline was over. Not true, as Tom and Jerry would not go away so quietly.
In 1975, H-B made some new cat and mouse cartoons for television, but the violence was turned down to an extreme and the duo were more buddies than enemies.
I hate to even mention the Filmation cartoons of the early '80s, which make the Deitch cartoons seem like animation masterpieces.
H-B took another crack at Tom and Jerry in the 90's before the rights were turned over to Turner and more specifically, Warner Bros.

I will spare you any mention of "The Tom and Jerry Movie".
Plenty of direct-to-video releases have resulted, as well as today's highlighted cartoon, "The Mansion Cat".
Not much to say here really. Amidst very simplified backgrounds, Tom and Jerry wreck havok in the house while thier owner is away.

While trying to watch his own performance in "Muscle Beach Tom", the cat is forced into the VCR by Jerry and ejected in cassette form. In a moment resembling a scene from "Terminator", Tom is frozen, shattered and reassembled and the slow-paced chase resumes.

A water bed is punctured, fireplace soot is tracked everywhere, and an out-of-control vacuum cleaner sucks up everything it gets near. Tom gets a plunger stuck on his rear and drives a lawnmower through the house.

Finding his home destroyed doesn't seem to effect Tom's owner much, who just makes a dry observation on Tom's worth.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1967

Tom's shark troubles continue in "Cannery Rodent". Why did I pick this cartoon? I actually dig the music over the opening titles. There, I admitted it.

Now that I have gotten that shameful revelation out of the way, let's move on. The cat and mouse chase leads our heroes onto a conveyor belt and into a cannery where they are sealed within properly-labeled cans.

Tom escapes easily with the aid of his claws while Jerry is left trapped in his can until he is captured and released in the same manner. Jerry repays Tom with a bite to the finger.

Tom repeatedly ends up in the water below where a hungry shark awaits. In yet another "friendship" moment, Jerry rescues Tom from the shark with some conveniently-placed pepper. Tom doesn't have such an easy change of heart, as evidenced by his devil horns, which quickly pop Jerry's halo.

Jerry earns his own devil horns, however, when he uses the classic "fake shark fin" gag to send Tom swimming for his life into the horizon.
This would be the final year for theatrical Tom and Jerry cartoons, but is this the end? Nope. The mandatory wrap-up/conclusion post is forthcoming.