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.

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