Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring (2002)

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Released 9-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Poster
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of-Behind The Artist's Brush
Featurette-The Flying Sorceress
Featurette-Haunted Mouse
Featurette-Get The Picture
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 49:48 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By James T. Walker
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Jeff Bennett
Frank Welker
Charlie Schlatter
Jim Cummings
Maile Flanagan
Jess Harnell
Maurice LeMarche
Tress MacNeille
Tara Strong
Billy West
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music J. Eric Schmidt


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The terrible twosome of Tom and Jerry have been terrorising each other, and amusing children, for a very long time. In fact, beginning in 1940 as Jasper the cat who chased an unnamed mouse, Tom and Jerry was the first real collaboration between William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. From that time, it has progressed through many shorts, a few TV series (including the much maligned, politically correct Tom and Jerry Kids), to arrive at a direct-to-video "movie". I put the term movie in quotes, as this is really not a movie length presentation, coming in at just under an hour, but it is certainly more than a short.

    Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring sees the duo involved in what is very close to the original shorts and TV episodes from the 1950's and 1960's. While there are no anvils or knives this time round, they still take to each other with all means of hard and nasty devices, including such items as tweezers, dust-pans, and even the odd crystal ball. The story is a very simple one, really just a big excuse for Tom to chase Jerry for an hour. Tom's master, a wizard, has left Tom to guard a magic ring while he is away. Unfortunately for Tom, Jerry finds the ring, and decides that it will look good as a crown - but then finds that it has become stuck on his head. In an effort to get away from the unsurprisingly mad Tom, Jerry leaves for the city to try to find someone to take the ring from his head. Tom of course, has to chase him, and once in the city they find their own brand of misadventure, realising the opportunity to meet a number of others from the Hanna Barbera stable.

    While this movie is a little toned down from the original cartoons, it is still good fun, and the bright colours coupled with the bold soundtrack are very enjoyable. I was not able to show this to any children, but many of the moments had this grown adult laughing out loud, so in my estimation the kids will love it as well. While there may not be as much there for the parents, as in say a Shrek, it is still enjoyable enough to not be a drag. This is definitely one to add to the library to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer presented here is of superb quality, although there is one major problem.

    Presented in its intended aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this transfer is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is extremely sharp, presenting one of the clearest images put on DVD. While the background to the video transfer process is not presented, it looks as if it were a fully digital transfer. Can there be shadow detail for a 2-D cartoon? If so, then it too is very good, however as Tom and Jerry was built around the idea of bright colours, it really does not have a large part to play. There is no low level noise present.

    As Tom and Jerry is really all about lots of bright colours, this DVD delivers in spades - the colours are bright, they are vibrant, and they are very solid. A very impressive effort.

    There is only one major artefact, and depending on your setup, it may not be a cause for concern at all. There are absolutely no film artefacts, and no compression artefacts, while there are only a few instances of very mild aliasing, such as on the skate at 18:28 or the cage at 39:53. The big problem however is the presence of interlacing artefacts. This transfer was obviously taken from an interlaced source, as every second frame is a combination of the two frames either side of it. When playing at normal speed this generally only creates problems on extended pans, such as from 1:50 to 2:00, but at slower speeds, or when paused, it can be quite ugly. Generally, it is not enough to detract from the quality of the transfer, but it would be nice if it were not present.

    Subtitling a Tom and Jerry cartoon is not an easy thing - most of the "dialogue" is actually strange grunts and squeaks from the terrible twosome. The hearing impaired subtitles do their best to describe these but do not succeed overly well. The straight English subtitles do not even attempt the descriptions.

    This is a single layer disc, and as such does not have a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is of excellent quality, with only the disappointing surround mixing letting it down.

    There are three audio tracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue, and dubs in French and Dutch, all presented in Dolby Digital 5.0 (at 384 Kbps).

    Dialogue, and all the assorted cat and mouse noises, are clear and easy to understand at all times. Being a cartoon, audio sync is not that easy to determine for the spoken word, as the lip movements are not overly realistic. Going from general motions and other noises, audio sync is spot on.

    The music is credited to J. Eric Schmidt and is appropriately cartoony, being big, bold, and bright. It follows the action quite well, and fills in for the lack of real dialogue.

    While this is officially a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack, it plays more like a 3.0 track, as the surrounds are almost never used except to carry a little of the score at very low volumes. This is still better than a stereo track however, as the dedicated centre channel is put to very good use.

    Again, the 5.0 nature of the soundtrack means that there is no dedicated sub-woofer stream, however a surround processor set to re-direct bass will find plenty to work with in the score, and even a few of the effects noises. Overall, it is not going to blow anyone's mind, but it is still very effective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, themed around the movie, and features a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio accompaniment. Strangely, it is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette: Behind The Artists Brush (5:26)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this is actually the "making-of" featurette. It is quite interesting, and features some shots of the voice actors recording the dialogue.

Original Tom and Jerry cartoons

    There are two classic Tom and Jerry cartoons presented on the disc:

    From the days when Hanna Barbera were still with MGM, these shorts are presented at 1.33:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette: Get The Picture (1:30)

    This is ostensibly a "learn to draw" featurette, with an artist guiding you though the process of making your very own Tom and Jerry cartoon. If you actually want to follow it however, your DVD player better have a very good slow-motion mode, as there is no way any but master artists will be able to follow this at normal speed. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring Trailer (0:30)

    Can you have a theatrical trailer for a direct-to-video feature? No matter, this is the trailer for the feature included on this disc, and is presented at 1.33:1, is not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Poster

    This is an A3 fold-out colour poster (double-sided) featuring the film art. A nice inclusion, albeit one likely appreciated by the kids more than the parents.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    This one is, for all intents and purposes, even - grab it where you find it cheapest.

Summary

    Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring is certainly not classic Tom and Jerry, but it is still good enough to entertain, and todays children who have never seen the original cartoons will be more than happy with it.

    Aside from the presence of interlacing artefacts, the video transfer is of superb quality.

    The audio quality is also very good, although the 5.0 soundtrack was really only used to provide 3 channels of information, as the surround channels are barely used.

    The extras, while not very extensive, are of considerable interest, and include two original Tom and Jerry cartoons, making them all the more enticing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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