Judge Mike Rubino is seeing tiny elephants.
"Just call Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig, paranormalists at large. Spooks spooked, goblins gobbled, UFOs K.O.ed, aliens alienated, vampires evaporated, and monsters remonstrated."—Daffy Duck
Daffy Duck's Quackbusters harkens back to a time when Warner Bros. could just chop up a bunch of old cartoons, string them together with a really loose plot, and send a fresh new film into the theaters. This practice has its advantages—like allowing the Looney Tunes to capitalize on the popularity of the original Ghostbusters films—but also means that there's a chance you've seen this all before.
Quackbusters begins with Daffy Duck hocking gags on the streets of New York. The duck just can't seem to catch a break (he's even trying to peddle Billy Beer and Delorians); until he hears the call of aging buzz saw baron J.P. Cubish, who is looking to laugh once more before he dies. Daffy makes him laugh alright—so hard that Cubish eventually laughs himself to death and bequeaths all of his riches to Daffy. The greedy duck would like to take the money and run, but the ghost of Cubish insists he use the money to run an honest business; Daffy decides to run a ghost-busting business, ostensibly to rid himself of Cubish.
The premise is simple enough, but ingeniously allows Warner Bros. to work in a whole slew of old, paranormal-themed Looney Tunes shorts into the mix. Daffy immediately goes into business with Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Sylvester, and Tweety, doing Ghostbuster-esque commercials advertising their services. The film consists of brief segments featuring characters going on their own adventures. You can catch classic shorts like Hyde and Go Tweet (1960), Claws for Alarm (1954), Transylvania 6-5000 (1963), and Punch Trunk (1953). There are a few original segments as well, including a very funny sequence called The Duxorcist in which Daffy tries to cure a lady-duck of ghoulish possession.
What's most impressive is how everything meshes together so seamlessly. Most of the time, the difference between the vintage toons and the newly animated material is hardly noticeable. The picture quality is generally good for a cartoon from the '80s, with hardly any grain or dirt. Contributing to the continuity is the legendary voice work by Mel Blanc. This was actually one of the last Looney Tunes cartoons he would work on before his death in 1989.
The classic cartoons woven into this plot are timelessly sharp. They deftly mix slapstick with rapid fire one-liners in a manner not easily found today (at least in children's shows). That said, the new overarching story that links everything is sort of weak. The whole thing clocks in around 70 minutes with a somewhat satisfying epilogue cleaning up all the loose ends.
Because the film is so brief, Warner Bros. has included three six-minute shorts from various decades as bonus features: Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 1/2th Century (1980), Superior Duck (1996), and Little Go Beep (2000). None of them are as funny as the classics featured in the film, but their inclusion does add a pinch more value to the disc.
Not counting the three extra shorts, this is a pretty barren edition of a film comprised mainly of old parts. Still, what's here is enjoyable, especially if you add in that ever-important nostalgia factor.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Bonus Shorts
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