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Tunes - Back in Action ."
French and Spanish
|| 92 minutes
||PG for Some
mild language and innuendo
||"Bang, Crash, Boom: The
Rabbit and Duck Perspectives on Special Effects"; "Behind The
Tunes: Bugs and Daffy Take You on a Looney Tour of the Film
Out of Action"
of Ow" Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote new cartoon; DVD-ROM link
to other deleted scenes
Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Joan Cusack, Heather Locklear, Robert
Picardo, Ron Perlmanl
and Bernie Goldman
Perhaps a Warner Brothers executive
had an ACME anvil drop on him. How else to explain the long
period of time between "Space Jam" and "Looney Tunes- Back
in Action"? While the Looney Tunes characters work best in
short cartoons (or short stretches), "LTBIA" is surprisingly
entertaining and, at its best, recalls the best work of Chuck
Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson and Bob Clampett. Daffy
Duck has been fired by Kate (Jenna Elfman) a Warner executive.
DJ (Brendan Fraiser) the aspiring
stuntman/security officer on the lot is assigned to get rid
of Daffy and, in the process, manages to get fired himself
when Daffy wrecks havoc on the studio lot. Stuck together,
the two of them are drawn into a plan for world domination
by Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) the head of ACME Corporation.
It seems that Mr. Chairman plans on stealing the Blue Monkey
a gem with awesome magical powers that will allow him to bring
the world to its knees. Dj's father movie star and real life
secret agent Damien (Timothy Dalton in a wonderful spoof of
his Bond performances) discovered the plans and has disappeared
having been taken prisoner by, who else?, Mr. Chairman. Meanwhile
Bugs gets sucked into defending the world when he tries to
get Daffy his old job back (at less than his usual salary
cut). It seems that the cartoons just don't work without Daffy.
Kate gets sucked into helping DJ and the result is romance
between the two. While it's inconsistent, "Looney Tunes" manages
to occasionally channel the spirit of the old cartoons.
There's a marvelous sequence in
the Louvre where Daffy, Bugs, Elmer Fudd and assorted bad
guys chase each other through the paintings of Dali, Seurat,
Lautrec and others. The action recalls the best moments of
the old cartoons with imaginative, witty animation and a couple
of marvelous in jokes as well. The live action has its appeal,
too. DJ at one point complains about losing his job as a stunt
double for actor Brenda Fraiser when Fraiser gets jealous
of the work DJ did in "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns".
Later, Fraiser playing DJ gets to confront "Brendan Fraiser"
about losing his job. It's a clever moment that provides a
chuckle for adults familiar with Fraiser's work. Fraiser also
provides the voice of the Tazmian Devil in the film doing
The film sags a bit in the middle.
Steve Martin's over-the-top portrayal of Mr. Chairman is a
bit much even for this movie. There are also a number of funny
cameos by well known character actors in the film. Although
"Looney Tunes" doesn't work quite as well as the shorts, it's
a much better movie than the studio's first attempt at a feature
length film with the characters. "Space Jam" was an awful
mix that missed the target more often than not.
color reproduction and a lack of digital artifacts, "Looney
Tunes" looked flat to me. Perhaps its due to the transfer but
the film doesn't have the depth that you can see on a detailed
transfer. The widescreen aspect ratio is preserved although
for those who prefer a full screen version, you can purchase
that separately. Since the film was shot in 2.35:1, there's
a good chance much of the action will be cropped.
DVD is ready to travel as the bags are packed with some really
nice extras. The new Road Runner cartoon doesn't quite have
the zest of the best that Chuck Jones produced but there are
enough clever ideas in the short to make it appealing. "Bang,
Crash, Boom" is an amusing look at special effects from the
perspective of the animated actors in the film. The montage
of deleted scenes includes an alternate ending that doesn't
quite work as well as some nice moments that probably slowed
the pace of the film too much which would explain why they were
didn't have much to say. Silence is golden. Not a word. Denada.
No commentary at all. ---
"Looney Tunes Back in Action" will never be mistaken for "Citizen
Kane", it's a fun adventure with the Duck least likely to succeed
and the Rabbit who makes his life miserable