My family was roused from our tryptophan post-turkey lethargy yesterday by a new Cartoon Network special featuring MGM's classic cat and mouse duo in a new version of THE NUTCRACKER, which was quite enjoyable and had some very good things in it. It's not perfect, but to it's credit it is easily the best incarnation of the team since the original TOM & JERRY unit was shuttered in 1957 (only to be outsourced to various franchisees over the following five decades).
The people in charge of this one are Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt , two of the guys responsible for some of the better LOONEY TUNES animation in the post-ROGER RABBIT era. Here they have done an impressive job of synthesizing the original TOM AND JERRY style (which evolved radically over the 17 years they were in production) and adding a little bit extra on top of that. The visual result is both classic and contemporary, which is pretty hard to pull off. The characters (including a considerable cast of new ones) are all consistent with the amalgam models of Tom, Jerry and Tuffy, and the poses and acting seem to have a touch of Chuck Jones' Looney Tunes from around the time of shorts like SCARDEY CAT and WEARIN' OF THE GRIN. (This does not however bear any resemblance to Jones' TOM AND JERRY shorts, which is a good thing in my opinion.)
The animation itself seems to have been executed with some sort of FLASH type program that yields uneven results. It may also be to blame for the super-zippy timing that left me woozy after a bit, tho the aspects of the traditional end of the animation equation is by and large nicely done. The classical music (mostly from the original ballet) leaves one missing Scott Bradley's jazzy scores and the sound effects (particularly on the most violent gags) are faint to the point of seeming non-existent. I'll let viewers themselves judge from there, but overall it is a huge step in the right direction for this sort of thing. TiVo it or better yet, pick it up on DVD and show your support to the artists who made it (CARTOON NETWORK maginalized the credits beyond belief last night, shame on them!). It is definitely worth checking out.