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Warner Home Video presents
Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 (Various)

"Now I've got you and I'm going to wub you out compwetewy!"
- Elmer Fudd (Arthur Q. Bryan)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: November 23, 2004

Stars: Mel Blanc
Other Stars: Arthur Q. Bryan, June Foray, Stan Freberg
Director: Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Robert McKimson, I. Freleng, Tex Avery, various

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (comic violence, thematic material)
Run Time: 07h:16m:31s
Release Date: November 02, 2004
UPC: 085393128425
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ AB+B+ A+

DVD Review

Warner Bros. began a massive undertaking of releasing the many Looney Tunes cartoons in restored, uncut form in 2003, and this followup volume is just as jam-packed with goodies. Sixty of the best of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies are included on this four-disc set, with each disc devoted to a character or theme.

Disc 1 appropriately enough is the province of the biggest star of the series, Bugs Bunny, and includes such notable shorts as Freleng's Hyde and Hare (1955) with its vivid reimagining of the Jekyll and Hyde story. The very early Tortoise Beats Hare (1941) was critical in the development of Bugs' character and makes for an historically important inclusion. Disc 2 is devoted to the Road Runner and Coyote, which was a one-joke cartoon (at the expense of Wile E. Coyote, of course), but the endless creativity of director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese helps make these one-reelers anything but repetitive.

Tweety and Sylvester, another seemingly limited pairing, carry the bulk of the third disc, though other characters intrude, such as Porky Pig in the classic Porky in Wackyland (1938). The fourth disc features screen and stage appearances in the shorts. This disc features some of the biggest gems in the Warner library, including the immortal What's Opera, Doc with its refrain of "Kill the wabbit!" as Bugs and Elmer thoroughly dismantle Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung. The memorable (if a bit overplayed) One Froggy Evening (1955) makes an appearance here, as well as I Love to Singa (1936), featuring "Owl Jolson," which was given new life by the pilot episode of South Park.

Any fan of animation will want to own this set, a worthy companion to the acclaimed first volume in the series. Note that since they are uncut, the shorts include material no longer considered appropriate for younger children, including suicide, cross-dressing, and extreme violence through the use of Acme products. Discretion is advised.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The shorts are presented in their original full-frame aspect ratio. The restoration is startling, with the vivid colors, exquisitely detailed backgrounds and strong line work back as they appeared in the 1940s and '50s. The pinkish and faded prints that saw heavy television rotation may be forgotten. Alas, a few shorts, including I Love to Singa, are flagged incorrectly, which results in interlacing of two out of every five frames on progressive displays. This results in a very unfortunate blurring of the picture and combing, especially in moments of rapid movement. The source prints reflect modest speckling and dust printed into the film (worst in Porky in Wackyland). But on the whole the improvement is astonishing.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is a 2.0 mono that reflects the age of the cartoons in the somewhat limited range and slight tinniness. But noise and hiss are quite modest and never a distraction. There's not much of anything to complain about in this regard.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 60 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Documentaries
6 Featurette(s)
32 Feature/Episode commentaries by Bill Melendez, June Foray, Greg Ford, Chuck Jones, Jerry Beck, Michael Barrier, Martha Sigall, John Kricfalusi, Stan Freberg, Michael Maltese, Maurice Noble, Daniel Goldmark
Packaging: Digipak
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Footage from television shows
  2. Bonus shorts
Extras Review: There's an overwhelming amount of bonus material here, which will keep any animation fan busy for days. Over half of the films have commentaries, some of which are newly recorded and others of which (such as for Chuck Jones) are nicely assembled out of interview footage. Many films feature music and effects tracks, highlighting the talents of musical director Carl Stalling and sound effects wizard Treg Brown. The 50th Anniversary special, featuring tons of Hollywood stars paying tribute to the Looney Tunes is fairly dispensable, but it provides a nice assemblage of clips for an overview.

Six featurettes include looks at directors Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, Treg Brown and the story behind One Froggy Evening and What's Opera, Doc. Rare bridging footage from the television appearances of Bugs and the Road Runner are featured as well as footage of Mel Blanc doing voice work for the series. Three Merrie Melodies shorts "from the vault" are included in bonus material as well as the new short Daffy Duck for President. It's truly daunting in quantity, and very high in quality, garnering that rare A+ grade. Apparently for technical reasons the commentaries and music-only tracks are not selectable on the fly when you choose "Play All," marking the only shortcoming I've found.

Extras Grade: A+

 

Final Comments

Not content to rest on their laurels, Warner outdoes themselves with excellent restorations, good transfers and a daunting quantity of extra material. The only complaint is the inattention to the proper flagging, which spoils the effect of a few shorts.

 


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