Judge Patrick Bromley is about as sharp as a pound of wet liver.
Our reviews of Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume One (published November 25th, 2003), Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Three (published December 12th, 2005), Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Four (published January 8th, 2007), Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Five (published November 14th, 2007), Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Six (published October 21st, 2008), Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume Two (Blu-ray) (published October 22nd, 2012), Looney Tunes Platinum Edition: Volume One (Blu-ray) Collector's Edition (published November 27th, 2011), and Looney Tunes: The Premiere Collection (published November 10th, 2003) are also available.
"Kill da wabbit."
Here's a list of the 'toons that appear on the Looney Tunes—Golden Collection, Volume Two set, broken down by disc:
Disc One—Bugs Bunny Masterpieces
• "The Big Snooze"
Disc Two—Road Runner and Friends
• "Beep Beep"
Disc Three—Tweety & Sylvester and Friends
• "Bad Ol' Putty Tat"
Disc Four—Looney Tunes All Stars: On Stage and Screen
• "Back Alley Oproar"
Facts of the Case
Paying homage to the great Quentin Tarantino (the first thing any good writer should do in reviewing a cartoon) when discussing the Beatles and Elvis, I would like to suggest that there are two kinds of people in the world: Disney People and Looney Tunes People. Disney People can like Looney Tunes, and Looney Tunes people can like Disney, but sooner or later you have to make a choice; that choice tells you what kind of a person you are. Now, it is not my intention to play favorites or to pass judgment on either party—no one group is better than the other—but I would like to begin talking about the recently released Looney Tunes—Golden Collection, Volume Two by stating that I am, in fact, a Looney Tunes person. Nine out of ten times, I'll take a pie in the face over a cuddly hug—assuming it's not my face on the receiving end. Maybe my preference articulates an extreme denial of my own mortality: Unlike the Disney universe, when a hunter takes a shot at an animal in a Looney Tunes cartoon, no one ends up orphaned. They provide a world without boundaries, not governed by rules (or, at least, not any rules that apply to the tangible physical universe); they are the originators of the kind of cartoon violence that Marge Simpson so vehemently opposed—you know, the kind we now save for our video games. The Looney Tunes legacy still exists today, extending even beyond the realm of animation; you can see it in the careers of film directors like Joe Dante and Sam Raimi. See? We wouldn't have had The Evil Dead if it weren't for the Looney Tunes. Take that, Mickey Mouse.
And here I said I wasn't going to play favorites.
Commenting on the actual quality of Looney Tunes shorts included on the Golden Collection, Volume Two is a daunting task. For what they are—unadulterated animated anarchy—these cartoons are the Only Game in Town; they're one of those rare, unassailable things that have transcended their status as art form and became an institution—reviewing them would be comparable to reviewing Christmas or Milk or Sunlight. This being a review site, however, I suppose I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that no, the quality of the 'toons on this release are not on par with those included in the Looney Tunes—Golden Collection, Volume One. Two of the four discs are devoted to shorts starring Wile E. Coyote, The Road Runner, Sylvester the Cat, and Tweety Bird—characters and cartoons that are all well and good, but whose antics get incessantly repetitive after three or four installments. Sure, there are those few long-awaited classics like "One Froggy Evening" and "What's Opera, Doc?" that make the Golden Collection, Volume Two worth owning alone, but short for short, it would appear that many of the best titles were used up when compiling Volume One. Ultimately, that may not matter much—the true fans and collectors will want to gobble up this set anyway, and they're right to do so. Every Looney Tunes short should eventually be released (and, from the looks of it, will be), meaning that they can't all be home runs. The important thing is that we have them now.
All I really can pick apart, then, is Warner Bros. presentation of the sixty cartoons that make up this set; lucky for us, that's the area where Volume Two does rival Volume One—it's another bar-raiser. The full-frame, digitally restored transfers look superb, with the colorful animation looking more vibrant than it previously ever has; what flaws there are either barely noticed in comparison to the strong picture or forgivable when considering the age (and use) of many of the shorts. The audio, presented in its original mono format, is not only acceptable but totally appropriate; affection and faithfulness to the original material is a lot of what this collection is about.
The extras that Warner Bros. have included (some created, some dug up) are what really sets these Golden Collection releases apart. While not entirely exhaustive—they're not necessarily overwhelming, the way some Super Deluxe Editions can be—the bonus content really does a nice job of rounding out the cartoons and truly supplementing the primary material. Brief documentaries detailing the history of Looney Tunes provide not only background information and context, but a glimpse into the creative processes of a truly inspired collection of individuals. There are 30 commentary tracks spread out over the four discs (or half as many commentaries as there are cartoons, though some feature more than one track), ranging from indispensable (a few of the tracks provided by historians, especially Greg Ford) to sweetly novel (vocal artist June Foray on "Broomstick Bunny") to bafflingly rambling and repetitive (animator Bill Melendez on the set's first track, "The Big Snooze"). In addition to the commentary tracks, there are alternate audio tracks highlighting score, sound effects, or vocalizations, providing just how valuable each element is and reminding us how much one relies upon the other two.
Also included in the Golden Collection, Volume Two are a number of older cartoons from the Warner Bros. vaults, including several Saturday-morning incarnations of various Looney Tunes characters, as well as pre-Looney Tunes shorts "Orange Blossoms for Violet," "Sinkin' in the Bathtub," and the Academy Award®-winning short, "So Much for So Little." A couple of fluff inclusions top off the set, including an occasionally embarrassing (and badly dated) "Anniversary Special" from several years back, and a humorless and blandly animated brand-new short, "Daffy Duck for President," a painful reminder of the current state of our beloved Tunes (and, as one of the few Daffy inclusions, a bit of a slap in the face for fans of the put-upon Duck).
The Rebuttal Witnesses
My main complaint about Golden Collection, Volume Two—more so than the shorts included—is that there doesn't seem to be any kind of organization to it all. Sure, like 'toons are grouped with like 'toons (meaning we get an entire disc's worth of Tweety and Sylvester, when one or two shorts would have personally suited me just fine), but within the discs there doesn't seem to be any kind of rationale behind the arrangements. Why not organize the cartoons by chronology, allowing us to see how both the animation and the characters evolved over time? No? Okay, then, what about categorizing them by animator? We could see the similarities or themes appearing throughout the collective works of a Chuck Jones or a Fritz Freleng; a Robert McKimson or a too-rarely appearing Tex Avery. By giving the collection a better sense of order, we could better view it as a complete work—art, instead of a random assemblage of cartoons.
I realize that my reservations amount to little more than nitpicking, as this really is a fantastic collection and a valuable addition to any library. I should be thankful just to have these out on DVD, and I am; that Warner Bros. has done such a bang-up job is just icing.
Despite some minor grievances, Looney Tunes—Golden Collection, Volume Two is free to wreak two-dimensional havoc for the rest of eternity. Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
I mean, come on…you had to see that coming.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• 30 Commentary Tracks
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