Mouse Into Space

Mouse Into Space ★★★

Tom and Jerry Project: 1940-1967
Mouse Into Space (1962)

Considering the obsession with the space travel in the 1950s, it's strange how Tom and Jerry hadn't been sent into the stars sooner, though this entry had the first distinction of doing so.

Jerry is in his hole, reading a pamphlet about a space program for mice, where no cats will ever disturb him. Finally tired of Tom's shenanigans, he packs his case and proceeds to leave the house. Tom however sorrowfully attempts to make him change his mind (even by self-harming himself), with no such luck. As Jerry is about to take off in his rocket, Tom gets caught up in the fuel tanks, following the mouse into space with him and continuing his usual pursuit there.

So this one I found to be surprisingly okay for a Deitch short. It's got a narrative that's relatively straightforward and easy to follow, while some of the gags are amusing enough, like Tom firing a gun in Jerry's hole (!) or the latter being X-rayed before his rocket takes off. On the other hand, I think the duo finally getting into space is when the thing starts to fall apart a bit, where the usual Deitch issues with the animation and sound design arise. Speaking of the audio, I should point out that the music scores in these shorts are far inferior to those from the H-B era. It really makes you long for Scott Bradley.

Overall however, it's one of the more enjoyable (and tolerable) entries I've seen from the Deitch era. It's still a rough and dubious effort overall, but in this case the surreal, offbeat feel (ala Switchin' Kitten) is quite endearing at times. I think with better craftsmanship and money behind it, it could have been a series classic.

6/10

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