The Van Beuren Tom and Jerry (as said already not the famous cat and mouse, this is a human duo that lasted for just under 30 cartoons, 29 if memory serves correct, between 1931 and 1933) series was interesting but uneven and not easy to rate as an overall whole. At the series' best, the cartoons were good, very good in a few cases. At its worst, they were really bad.
Although in the weaker half of the series, there are worse Tom and Jerry cartoons than 'In the Bag'. The execution here may be excessively strange and senseless and lacks the ingredients that made other "strange" Tom and Jerry cartoons (and there are plenty, the series' style is absurdist) work, but it at least doesn't have anything that will cause offense and has a few good elements. There are good things, the best thing about it is the music score which is the high point of even the worst cartoons and is so beautifully and cleverly orchestrated and full of energy, doing so well with enhancing the action.
There is a nicely done setting, some decent attention to detail in a few of the backgrounds and good movement synchronisation with the music.
Gags-wise there are moments, the highlights being the duck, the propeller and the very cute ending.
However, once again, most of the animation didn't do it for me. There are worse-looking cartoons in the series, at least the backgrounds and some of the synchronisation was decent, but it is not one of the most visually interesting ones like 'Wot a Night'. Too much of it is crude and simplistic with a fair share of static moments. Tom and Jerry look primitive, and none of the supporting characters are well drawn and all are also uninteresting in personality.
While the Tom and Jerry cartoons are absurdist and weird in their style of humour, this didn't come through enough in the gags and 'In the Bag' is sadly an example of a cartoon from the series where the increasing weirdness of the unexpected turns didn't work. It worked in 'Rocketeers', which had good timing, good gags and a few interesting visuals to help it. The gags generally aren't enough, the comic timing lacks energy and it's visually unappealing throughout.
Story-wise, 'In the Bag' just became too disjointed and even for a series where one shouldn't expect sense things just got increasingly confused. It's a paper thin cartoon in story once again, true of most cartoons in the series, with everything feeling like filler.
In summary, very strange and sadly for 'In the Bag' not in a good way. It felt too anaemic, with not enough gags, energy or imagination, for the customary absurdist bizarre style of the series to work properly. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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