I watched the cartoon, but I'm a Looney Tunes
guy, not a Tom and Jerry
guy, so I can't be an expert consumer in this case. Brief comments are below, though.
The Starship Farragut
animated episodes might be data points to take into consideration. The Tressaurian Intersection
is of course another [not a cartoon, but the thesis doesn't mention cartoons].
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
might tend to support the idea that you can't go back, but I think more likely it really supports the idea that the makers chose to depict the classic characters in ways that were geared towards a modern audience. The opening cartoon that's being filmed has the sort of cartoon antics one would expect in a 40's Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes
cartoon, but it's turned up to eleven. Everything about the cartoons throughout the movie seems to be paced more rapidly and more over the top than it should have been, if it were true to the 40's style. Maybe they were licensing the characters by the frame. I don't even know how one could objectively measure the pacing of action, but it's something that I noticed when I watched the film in the theater. It really stuck out to me.
Then again, if you throw in the element of demanding that art be marketable, then that might make the thesis more concretely provable. That is, taking the quote from the article, and substituting "market" for "recreate", you have:
Creative works are not only the product of people, they're also the products of a time and place. As the world keeps changing, it is impossible to market something from the past.
That still fits in with the idea that something's time may be past.
As for the Tom and Jerry
cartoon, obviously it would never have been successful in the 40's because of the Japanese symbols. There were many other modern elements that clearly indicated they were going more for something geared for a modern audience than for something timeless.
I also really suspect that they stopped refining their recreation as soon as it was good enough to be recognizable as a Tom and Jerry
cartoon. This avoids the problem of diminishing returns. Yet the problem in this case I think was that they also don't seem to have really tried to find their own
comedic timing that they were personally comfortable with as artists in their own right. In some intangible way it seemed like they were always trying to imitate the original. Perhaps developing their own style would only come if they tried to make a successful ongoing series.
I've no interest whatsoever to watch the new Looney Tunes
on Cartoon Network. Just a cursory glance at Bugs shows that he's physically all wrong in a very distracting way and apparently geared for a generation that I'm clearly not a part of.
One of the comments in the OP article pointed out Beavis and Butt-Head
. That's another data point. They practically haven't missed a beat. If anything there, I think Beavis is slightly more mature, which is a good thing really (and when I say slightly I mean microscopically).
B&B would tend to refute the thesis, unless the fact that's still Mike Judge would tend to support it.
ST:TMP;DE would tend to support the thesis I think. The new elements just don't seamlessly integrate into the original. Star Wars
OT special editions and Star Trek Remastered
also tend to support it I think. The problem in these cases is, again, they didn't really try for a purely revival style in the new special effects. I think they tried to shoot for something more appealing to the modern audience.
That's all I got.
: The Muppets
(2011) will provide another data point.