Ain't Judge Clark Douglas a stinker?
Our reviews of Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume One (published November 25th, 2003), Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Two (published January 24th, 2005), 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 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.
Grab a chair, a comedy cohort and a carrot!
"I do this kind of thing to him all through the picture."
Facts of the Case
Another batch of 50 classic Looney Tunes shorts have been given the hi-def treatment. Here's what you get:
Don't let the modest appearance of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume Two fool you: despite the fact that the first set received swanky digibook packaging (not to mention a limited edition collector's box set), this simple-looking second installment is just as impressive and loaded as its predecessor. It's a joy to dive into another sprawling batch of these energetic shorts; an appealing blend of well-known classics and little-seen rarities. While it's true that the first collection grabbed many of the most famous Looney Tunes shorts ("Duck Amuck," "One Froggy Evening," "What's Opera, Doc?"), there's still plenty of grade-A material on display in this collection.
The structure is basically the same this time around. The first disc offers a nicely organized assembly of shorts featuring the most popular Looney Tunes characters. You get a few Bugs Bunny cartoons, then some with Bugs and Daffy, then some with Daffy, then some with Daffy and Porky, then some with Porky, then some with Porky and Sylvester, then some with Sylvester and Tweety…you get the idea. The whole thing flows very nicely and offers an appealingly diverse viewing experience that is a bit more fun than sitting through twenty-five shorts featuring just one of these characters. While the OCD collector side of me would love to see everything presented in chronological order (an approach being taken by the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Blu-ray sets), this is probably the most effective way to ensure that each set will have a little bit of something for everyone. Not a big fan of Tweety? Don't worry, Road Runner is just around the corner. Don't care for that? Pepe LePew will turn up in a few minutes. Don't like any of that? Then why are you still reading this, you soulless monster?
The second disc takes a similarly enjoyable approach, offering a handful of miniature collections. While the first set gave us complete character collections for folks like Marvin the Martian, The Tasmanian Devil and Ralph Phillips, this set gives us every appearance of Beaky Buzzard, A. Flea and Nasty Canasta (a 19th century villain who torments Bugs, Daffy and Porky in various historical adventures). In addition, there are some themed collections which offer tons of fun: the complete "Wabbit Season Trilogy," the complete competitions between Bugs Bunny and Cecil Turtle, a handful of "Early Wabbit" shorts (in which we encounter early Looney Tunes bunnies who share some of Bugs' DNA but aren't quite the same character) and a handful of intriguing one-shots. There's hardly a stinker in the whole collection.
Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume Two (Blu-ray) features the same strengths and weaknesses as the other Warner Bros. hi-def cartoon collections released thus far. On the visual side, the 1080p/Full Frame transfers are generally excellent, offering superb detail while retaining a bit of natural grain. There are a few shorts which become a bit soft on occasion, but for the most part these look fantastic (a fact you'll really appreciate when you dig through many of the unrestored shorts included as supplements). Unfortunately, we're still stuck with a lossy Dolby 1.0 Mono track which isn't quite as vibrant as it could have been. The audio is consistently crisp and clean, but it's a shame that nothing has really been upgraded from the Golden Collection sets in this department. Again, what we have is stunning in contrast to many of the unrestored shorts.
Once again, Warner Bros. has delivered an astonishing array of bonus features to dig through—it'll take you even longer to plow through these than it will to watch all six hours of the featured cartoons.
Audio Commentaries: A whopping thirty-seven commentary tracks are offered, featuring (deep breath) Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, Bob Clampett, John Kricfalusi, Eddie Fitzgerald, Kali Fontecchio, Constantine Nasr, Mark Kausler, Robert McKimson, Chuck Jones, Eric Goldberg, Bill Melendez and Will Friedwald.
Alternate Audio Tracks: A handful of the shorts can be viewed with isolated score tracks or score-and-effects tracks.
Featurettes: You'll find informative, engaging pieces on a wide variety of topics including "Leon Schlesinger: The Merry Cartoon Mogul" (20 minutes), "Man From Wackland: The Art of Bob Clampett" (21 minutes), "Bosko, Buddy and the Best of Black and White" (9 minutes), "A Hunting We Will Go: Chuck Jones' Wabbit Season Trilogy" (10 minutes), "Looney Tunes Goes Hollywood" (9 minutes), "Looney Tunes Goes to War" (10 minutes), "Real America Zero: The Adventures of Private Snafu" (9 minutes) and the Elmer Fudd tribute "Forever Befuddled" (3 minutes).
Documentaries: While the first Platinum Collection offered a boatload of info on Chuck Jones, this set gives the same treatment to Tex Avery. You get the documentaries "King-Size Comedy: Tex Avery and the Looney Tunes Revolution" (42 minutes) and "Tex Avery: King of Comedy" (55 minutes), plus a vintage interview with Tex (7 minutes). In addition, Friz Freleng enjoys the spotlight in "Friz on Film" (55 minutes), while the 45-minute Cartoon Network documentary "Toonheads: The Lost Cartoons" offers info on a variety of intriguing rarities.
Bonus Shorts: As if the aforementioned features weren't enough, you also get enough bonus cartoons to fill another collection. Unfortunately, these shorts are almost all in standard-definition and look pretty beaten up. Still, they're hardly unwatchable and there are some real treats to be found. You get 49 minutes of early Leon Schlesinger efforts ("Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid," "Sinkin' in the Bathtub," "Crying for the Carolines," "It's Got Me Again," "Haunting Gold Title Sequence" and "Schlesinger Production Christmas Party Reels"), 44 minutes of Friz Freleng MGM shorts ("Poultry Pirates," "A Day at the Beach," "The Captain's Christmas," "Seal Skinners" and "Mama's New Hat"), 84 minutes of Tex Avery shorts ("The Blitz Wolf," "Red Hot Riding Hood," "Screwball Squirrel," "Swing Shift Cinderella," "King-Size Canary," "Bad Luck Blackie," "Senor Droopie," "Wags to Riches," "Symphony in Slang," "Magical Maestro" and "Rock-a-Bye Bear"), 34 minutes of Private Snafu shorts ("Coming! Snafu," "Gripes," "Spies," "The Goldbrick," "The Homefront," "Rumors," "Snafupermen" and "Censored") and 11 minutes of Mr. Hook shorts ("The Good Egg," "The Return of Mr. Hook" and "Tokyo Moves"). Whew!
Booklet: Since the digibook packaging of the first volume has been abandoned, you get a 28-page booklet offering tons of interesting info on the shorts featured in the set plus a helpful guide to the supplemental materials.
Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume Two would be highly recommended even if it were a bare-bones presentation of the wonderful shorts it features. Considering the overwhelming amount of compelling supplemental material you get in addition to those shorts, the set is a must-buy for animation fans. Here's hoping Warner Bros. has many more of these collections planned.
Not guilty, doc!
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