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Warner Home Video presents
Looney Tunes: Reality Check (2003)

"Don't you know cartoonies'll rot your brain?"
- Yosemite Sam

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: December 22, 2003

Stars: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Tasmanian Devil
Other Stars: Joe Alaskey, Bob Bergen, Greg Burson, Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, June Foray, Tom Kenny, Maurice La Marche, Billy West
Director: Steve Belfer

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (comic violence)
Run Time: 00h:56m:22s
Release Date: October 28, 2003
UPC: 085392792825
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- CA-A- D+

DVD Review

One can certainly understand the desire of Warner Bros. to attempt to revive its classic Looney Tunes characters from time to time; they're not only lucrative merchandising but well beloved by generations of viewers. This disc collects 21 recent efforts in the field (apparently made for showing on the web), all satirizing television programs, particularly the craze for "reality" shows.

Two segments entitled Sports Blab feature Porky Pig and Tweety in a satire of Sportscenter. These feature some decent verbal/visual gags and a Monty Python swipe. The Junkyard Run is a three-part cartoon that is part Cannonball Run, part Extreme Games and part Wacky Races. It's unfortunately even more tedious than that legendarily dumb program. More entertaining is Tear Factor, as Granny (June Foray, still the original voice) attempts to make the contestants break into tears. Two episodes of Aluminum Chef each feature a pair of Looney Tunes stars facing off in cooking competition. The best of these is the one pitting Elmer Fudd against Yosemite Sam. The "theme" ingredient is of course rabbit, and Bugs makes matters difficult for the would-be cooks.

Probably the funniest bits are three segments of Judge Granny as Granny settles disputes between toons with inimitable justice. Wile E. Coyote finally gets a good idea and gives up on chasing the Roadrunner and takes him to court instead. About half of the disc is devoted to a Survivor takeoff called Toon Marooned. Each of the eight chunks is devoted to a series of immunity challenges that vary from clever to eye-rolling as they try to win $100 on the desert isle of Festeroon, the malaria capital of the world. Daffy Duck also schemes to form alliances and immediately backstab his partners, making this satire uncomfortably identical to the actual program.

Though there are some good moments and even a couple spots that are clearly Tex Avery-inspired, these short cartoons (under 3 minutes each) aren't terribly satisfying. The laughs are few and far between, and there's an over-reliance on Tweety spitting to try to get a chuckle. It doesn't help that modern limited animation is used throughout, so the characters don't move quite right (and often don't move at all, other than their mouths). Except for Foray's Granny, the voicings are only partially successful. The Foghorn Leghorn imitation is particularly bad, though the Bugs and Daffy voices are acceptable. The folks who have stepped into Mel Blanc's shoes really need to go back and listen to the originals more. On the positive side, the toons do generally keep in character consistently with their classic incarnations, and there's none of the cooperative friendship foolishness so prevalent in 1980s and 1990s animation.

Due to the brief running times, even though there are 21 spots, the total running time is well under an hour, making this a questionable value.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Other than some mild aliasing that surfaces in the form of jaggies on the black cartoon outlines, the full frame picture looks quite good. Color is vivid and detail is extremely crisp and clear, as one would expect for new animation. No other artifacts or edge enhancement were noticeable.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: A 5.1 audio track is provided here and it's very clean, as it should be. Music has good presence and there's some mild directionality. There's plenty of bass and higher registers do not have a shrill quality. Very little to complain about here.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
2 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Featurette(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interviews and "outtakes" from Toon Marooned
Extras Review: Although there are numerous extras listed on the special features page, only a few have any entertainment value to them. A couple snippets of animation are featured in "interview segments" with Porky and Taz. There are also five "outtakes" from the series that are worth watching, and they feature a "play all" option. A 1m:56s featurette on the making of the Looney Tunes: Back in Action video game is little more than an ad for the game, and "New Toon Spots" are just ads for the Judge Granny and Toon Marooned segments, while "Family Favorites" is just more ads for Warner DVDs.

Happily, there is a "Play All" button for the 21 featured toons as well, an important feature given their brevity. Finally, there's a DVD-ROM only game, Bugs Bunny's Tower Trouble. I had no luck getting it to run; the Interactual player included on the disc just locked up when I clicked "Launch Game."

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Although it's good to see these classic animation characters again, the scripts and voices need some more work, and the running time is awfully short. Don't expect classic Looney Tunes here. The transfers are quite good but the extras are mostly advertising in disguise.

 


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