Alphabetical Movie – Looney Toons: Back in Action
Look, I know that this movie isn’t all that good. It spends a good portion of it’s incredibly short running time recalling funny moments from old Looney Tunes cartoons in ways that make them nowhere near as funny.
When Marvin the Martian said “where’s the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an Earth shattering Kaboom” in “Hare-way to the Stars,” it was funny. When he says the same thing in this film, it feels kind of desperate.
Back in my youth, I fell in love with the Looney Toons on Saturday morning. For 60 or 90 minutes, they would play the best of the classic cartoons. A lot of them were shortened or they would splice together a couple of road runner cartoons to make a really long road runner cartoon in which Wile E. Coyote really got the shit kicked out of him.
For all those folks filled with nostalgia for shows like “Thundarr the Barbarian” or “Josie and the Pussycats,” I’m filled with nostalgia for those cartoons. I watched some of the other Saturday morning cartoons but none of them really stuck with me. Eventually, all I cared about was the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour.
I’d seen all of the cartoons at that point. Most of them, anyway.
I never got tired of them. I’m still not tired of them. I could watch “Rabbit Seasoning” over and over and over again.
Tom and Jerry? Just lame-ass versions of Tweety and Sylvester.
Woody Woodpecker? Basically just Daffy Duck with red hair.
Looney Toons were the gold standard.
They still are. That’s why I try like hell to enjoy films like Space-Jam and Looney Toones: Back in Action. They may not be the best examples of Looney Toons but they are still Looney Toons.
Mel Blanc is gone, of course. Bugs Bunny just doesn’t sound the same. Chuck Jones is gone. Bugs Bunny doesn’t act the same.
Just as Kermit the Frog is no longer Kermit, Bugs is no longer Bugs.
You can put Bugs in a Norse helmet but that doesn’t mean you’ve managed to capture the brilliance of “What’s Opera Doc?”
Now I don’t want to say that Waner Brothers animation has completely tanked. The Animaniacs were funny as hell. And they have put out some fine DC super-hero stuff.
The Looney Toons, however, don’t feel as if they have ever fully recovered. There has been attempt after attempt to revive the brand with limited success. By far the biggest success has come in simply releasing home video versions of the old cartoons.
I want them to keep trying, though. I want to keep watching them try because even though that isn’t the same Bugs Bunny or the same Elmer Fudd, someday they might just end up being as brilliant as they once were.
And I don’t want to miss it.