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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes'
(Animation / DVD / NR / 2010 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: Jewel heists around the city of London befuddle Scotland Yard and the beautiful singer Red is framed for the crook. Only the legendary Sherlock Holmes can find the real thief with the help of his assistant Dr. Watson - and of course, Tom and Jerry. But finding clues and cracking the case will be elementary compared to keeping the peace between these raucous rivals as they scamper, scurry, scoot and speed along the streets, alleys and rooftops in the name of justice.

DVD Verdict: It doesn't star Robert Downey Jr., so it's not making big headlines, but Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes deserves more attention, one reason being that it actually comes across much better than you might expect when you first hear the title.

First of all, the idea of the battling cat and mouse living in the home of a noted human harkens back to classic MGM theatrical cartoons, like "Johann Mouse," in which Jerry danced to the music of Strauss. In this DVD feature, the duo are Baker Street co-residents and provide slapstick shtick in the course of a Victorian London mystery.

Say what you will about revivals of vintage cartoon characters, the issue is really whether the people behind the scenes care about the heritage and emotional value of the characters enough to make them appeal to young audiences but not forget the fans that made them beloved in the first place.

This film succeeds because the talent did indeed care. Veteran writer and acclaimed animation historian Earl Kress brought his expertise to the script, adding nods for fans and blending in Droopy and other great but not as well-known MGM characters such as Spike, Tuffy and Butch. The Tex Avery cartoon "Red Hot Riding Hood" is celebrated not only by including the libidinous Wolf but by making Red a major character in the story.

Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts will also get a chuckle out of the name of a character: "Brett Jeremy," a reference to Jeremy Brett, who is one of the definitive actors to play Holmes along with Basil Rathbone. And speaking of actors, Michael York is superb as the animated Holmes, with Malcolm McDowell as Moriarity and John Rhys-Davies as Watson. Voice actors include Jess Harnell, Jeff Bergman, Grey Delisle and, doing a particularly accurate Tuffy voice, Kath Soucie.

And, as it should be, Tom and Jerry do not speak in the classic tradition of the original cartoons, all of which were directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and won seven Oscars. [GE] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

How to Draw Tom and Jerry – Your favorite cat and mouse made easy through a Professional Illustrator’s step-by-step instructions.