Judge Dennis Prince says even a little Tune goes a long way. C'mon, don't be a "golden collection" snob.
What's this then—classic Looney Tunes coming under fire?
While Looney Tunes fans are thrilled to receive yet another holiday gift from Warner Bros. in the form of its fourth annual release of classic cartoons, many are asserting, "foul, boy, I say foul!" The cause of their complaint isn't so much about the cartoons themselves—another tasty offering done up oh so well—but, rather, that the big WB seems to pulling another day-and-date double-dip, so to speak.
Following suit with previous years' releases, Warner Brothers Home Video again delivers a "spotlight collection" issue, culling from the more expanded "golden collection" issue offered simultaneously. So what's the deal? Well, the aforementioned golden collection delivers four full discs of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies favorites plus a cavalcade of bonus features. This new Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection 4, however, grants buyers just two discs and minus the extra enticements. And so, with a collection that actually contains less than half the amount of material of its more rounded golden sibling, fans see this as a money grab by the WB wascals.
But, before you take up your torch, pitch fork, frying pan, or what have you, consider that these spotlight collections are offering something different—value pricing. As cherished as the adored golden collections are, their price tag of around $60 often imposes some consternation over such a non-trivial home video investment. Sixty bucks would certainly buy a lot of carrots, cheese, or ACME surplus goods. So, with the spotlight alternative, fans need only surrender about $20 to indulge in the goodness of the latest crop of cartoons. This suits the casual fans, they who enjoy the nostalgic head-knocking of the Looney Tunes stalwarts but perhaps in trimmed-down doses. Warner Brothers likely understands this and cleverly ensures they'll be getting a bit of everyone's dough-ray-mi rather than merely be satisfied with that of the selective audience of completists. You may say, this way everyone wins.
Of course, if you're a value shopper, it's wise to carefully inspect the goods to be found within the two variations of this year's Tunes. Unfortunately, these spotlight collections continue to dodge the more prudent approach of culling the best of a golden collection's four-disc complement, electing to simply repurpose two of the discs verbatim. In this case, however, it's arguable that the studio chose the best two discs of the set (many, like myself, not too eager to endure a complete disc of Speedy Gonzalez while others proclaim the left-behind Frank Tashlin 'toons aren't part of their own golden memories). To that end, this particular collection features Discs One and Four from the golden offering, bringing the following to you:
Disc One: Bugs Bunny Favorites
• "Roman Legion-Hare"
Disc Two: Kitty Korner
• "The Night Watchman"
Forget that you're looking at a slimmed-down collection of 'toons for a moment to be sure you soak up the incredible quality of the image. The 28 shorts offered here are in near-impeccable condition, remarkably restored of most all source damage and boasting an incredibly vibrant color palette. Truthfully, these look as if they were produced yesterday (save for a few imperfections and some tell-tale signs of cell animation); they're really breathtaking to see in this condition some five decades since their original creation. The audio is offered in a very aggressive Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono mix that thoroughly exercises your center channel. But, did I say these were repackaged discs from the larger collection? Well, not exactly. While it doesn't make much sense that the WB team would refuse to pull gems from all four of the golden discs, it seems they did have enough time to leave behind the extra features that accompanied the content in the more expensive set. The only extra you get here is a montage of cartoon clips of iconic Bugs Bunny's travels in a throwaway piece, Wrong Turn at Albuquerque. Idjits!
Before you skewer the notion of these bastardized sub-sets of the concurrent golden collections, review the 'toons at hand, determine the need for the extras, and know that the image quality here is nonetheless superlative. If you think you can trim your Looney Tunes diet of the golden collection's excesses without feeling starved, then give this spotlight collection a good hard look.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Wrong Turn at Albuquerque montage
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