Judge Aaron Bossig tried to be vewwy vewwy quiet, but watching a wabbit like Bugs, it was impossible not to laugh.
"There's only one test of a great children's book, or a great children's film, and that is this: if it can be read or viewed with pleasure by adults, then it has the chance to be a great children's film, or a great children's book."—Chuck Jones
Take a dozen of the most beloved cartoons ever penned, and then put them into one giant block. Mix in some fresh, new material created with the same love and care. Call the result a movie. Repeat.
Facts of the Case
Southern California is peppered with lavish mansions nestled in giant celebrity estates. Once movie stars make it big, they'll often construct such giant homes as a way of expressing their success. More practically, it gives them a place to retreat to, escaping the stress of life in the public eye. A single neighborhood could be home to dozens of celebrities, ranging from Hollywood legends to younger, tabloid-baiting newcomers.
Look down the right street, and you'll find the home of Bugs Bunny, one of the biggest Hollywood actors of all time. Now in semi-retirement, Bugs lives a quiet life at home, gazing at the stars and practicing his music (he plays several instruments, including the piano and banjo) all the while carefully planning his next public appearance. One evening, when I was very little, he invited me into his home for an interview, where he told me all about the history of comedy and the great chases he and his cartoon friends had seen. Sitting on my father's couch, I watched in awe as a living legend took me on a personal guided tour of cartoon history.
Now, thanks to the wonder of DVD, I can remember that special night spent in Bugs' home any time I like.
The Looney Tunes Movie Collectionis comprised of two separate films, both created by stringing together a bunch of classic Warner Bros. cartoons and using some new animation to build continuity between them. The first movie, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, finds Bugs Bunny talking about how closely chasing is related to comedy. Marvin the Martian chased Bugs. Daffy Duck chased wealth. Wile E. Coyote chased the Road Runner. Pursuit is a constant in cartoons, not to mention real life.
It is in this movie that Bugs will introduce you to his many "fathers," like Mel Blanc, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and so on. Bugs will mention that these "fathers" saw him off to numerous adventures, adventures which are showcased in such classic toons as "What's Opera, Doc?" "Hare-Way to the Stars," and "Duck Amuck," as well as a hodgepodge of Road Runner clips. Marvin tries to blow up the Earth, because it blocks his view of Venus, Elmer Fudd sings "kill da wabbit." These cartoons need no introduction; they've stood the test of time.
In Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, Bugs and Daffy are competing salesmen traveling to their territory. Daffy encounters mishap after mishap, while Bugs is taken captive by Yosemite Sam and forced to read stories to Sam's son, Prince Abadaba. The transitions into and out of the classic cartoons are much less noticeable in this movie, though the "reading stories" angle of the last half of the movie gets a bit tedious. 1001 Rabbit Tales is worth the price of admission just to see "One Froggy Evening."
In both films, some minor editing was done to the individual cartoon shorts. Recurring gags are trimmed, and often the beginning and end of each cartoon is left out. The edits adjust the pacing to keep the movie feeling like one big Looney Tunes epic, rather than a cheap "clip job" compilation. Of course, these movies are clip job compilations, and there can be no denying that, but the quality of the storytelling makes them enjoyable on their own merits. Both of these movies have shown that there is such a thing as a well-done clip job. The video and audio quality are fine, colors are vivid, and the sound is presented in its original mono glory. Some occasional flicker in solid-color areas was noted, but the effect lasted only a short time.
Of course, the purist in me will often opt to watch the shorts as they were originally shown theatrically. It's the best way to appreciate the writing, editing, and gags of a particular cartoon. These compilation movies, however, are ideal for simply deciding to spend an evening in front of the TV with Porky Pig and Daffy Duck. Want to order a pizza, take the phone off the hook, and just have a few laughs? The Looney Tunes Movie Collection will provide you with an evening's worth of fun, guaranteed.
Two small featurettes are included in the set. "Young Hollywood: Take on the Looney Tunes" is a couple minutes showing how much young actors in Hollywood today enjoy Looney Tunes. If you have young kids, this might possibly be of interest to them. The appeal was lost on me, however. The only actress with whom I was previously familiar was Melissa Joan Hart, and this clip was shot long after her work on Clarissa Explains it All. The other extra is titled "Two Brothers Draw a Looney Tune," and it literally is two brothers (named Trevor and Bryce) who take a trip into the Warner Bros. Studio to pursue their dreams of becoming professional animators. The two seem very nervous and shy, but they've got a lot of determination for boys so young. I wish them the best of luck.
I'm typically not a fan of including widgets with DVDs and labeling them "Special Features," but I did think it was awfully cool to get a film cel with this set. The one in my set featured Bugs, Daffy, and Hassan Chop, and is worthy of being framed. Why aren't these being given out with the Golden Collections?
The Rebuttal Witnesses
There's no sense in crying over the fluff extras. Anyone who wants real content will have already purchased the Looney Tunes Golden Collection sets. The only noticeable flaw in the set is that the second Looney Tunes compilation movie, The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, was not included. The set jumps right from movie #1 to movie #3. I can only hope that a Looney Tunes Movie Collection, Volume 2 is in the works.
Although many of the shorts have already been released in the Golden Collections sets, the original content in the two movies featured here makes the Movie Collection worth a look. Casual fans not concerned with the minor edits might be happy with just these two movies. Like anything else with Daffy Duck on it, it's something you can watch with the kids and appreciate even more than they do.
Bugs Bunny's doors are open to anyone who loves to laugh at cartoons. He's a very hospitable rabbit.
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their cohorts have been found guilty of endangerment of public safety, gross negligence, fraud, mischief, mayhem, and other charges too numerous to list. However, they are cartoon characters; therefore no punishment of any kind is warranted.
Warner Bros. will be issued a small fine for the omission of The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, to say nothing of any subsequent movies that should have been considered for inclusion in this set.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Young Hollywood: Take on the Looney Tunes
• IMDb: The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie
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