Comedy
Looney Tunes Back in Action
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Dir: Joe Dante
Star: Daffy Duck, Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Bugs Bunny, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton
Cert / Year: PG / 2003
Format: DVD R1
'

Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman) the new VP of comedy at Warner brothers has decided that Daffy Duck just isn't funny any more and so she has sacked him. Daffy latches onto DJ (Brendan Fraser) the security guard that throws him out of the studio, and soon they find out that DJ's dad Damien Drake (Timothy Dalton) is not just an actor who plays a secret agent but is a real secret agent. They set off to Las Vegas to search for the Blue Monkey a diamond of terrible power, a diamond that the evil chairman of the ACME Corporation (Steve Martin) wants for his own nefarious purposes. Meanwhile Kate has found out that Bugs Bunny just isn't funny without Daffy so she must get him back. Be prepared for this is one Looney spy adventure.

The first Looney Tunes movie Space Jam was a real hit and miss affair. By basing it on a predominantly US sport Basketball limited it's international appeal, also it meant that Michael Jordan got far too much screen time and the cartoon characters far too little. It was funny in places but it just wasn't Looney Tunes. Well I'm happy to report that this time they have got it right. This film manages to fit the human characters into a Looney Tunes film rather than the other way round.

Making the story a spy spoof was a gamble given that Austin Powers has pretty much done the genre to death recently. Fortunately by basing the film in a "Who Framed Rodger Rabbit style cartoons live in the real world" universe it is easy to overlook the derivative nature of the plot. The script neatly packs in tons of gags. Many hit the mark, but there are still some that fall flat. A lot of the humor is of the cartoon variety with weighty objects quite regularly hitting characters on the head. This sort of humor will appeal to the kids and those of us oldies that enjoyed the original cartoons. For the adults the film is packed full of cinema in jokes. From "You can't handle the truth" quotes, through Mathew Lillard apologising to Shaggy for the live action movie, to a selection of B-movie monsters in Area 52 (keep a look out for Daleks, the brains from Fiend Without a Face, the monster from This Island Earth, and Robbie the Robot, amongst others). While this is brilliant for movie fans like myself it may not have the universal appeal of Finding Nemo (who also is the subject of one in joke).

If you are a fan of Warner Brother's cartoons you are in for treat as nearly every character from the cartoons makes an appearance somewhere. Whether it is Sylvester and Tweetie Pie or the more obscure singing frog each one gets at least a cameo. The star of the show is rather unusually Daffy Duck, which given the slapstick nature of the script works well. Bugs fans may be a bit disappointed as he is relegated to a rather unsympathetic wise cracking support role. Overall though fans of the original Looney Tunes will be in seventh heaven.

On the human side we have the every reliable Brendan Fraser, who once again demonstrates is he is comfortable with the comic action hero role. Playing the straight woman we have the lovely Jenna Elfman who adds a little needed sanity to the piece. As chairman of the ACME corporation is a quite baffling performance from Steve Martin. Ok so it was going to be difficult not to be Dr Evil, but the end result here is strange and not whole satisfying. Apart from that we have Timothy Dalton sending up is bond persona brilliantly, and Heather Locklear looking gorgeous in a PVC cat suit. Look out for cameos from Dante regular Dick Miller, and movie legend Roger Corman.

Looney Tunes Back in Action is brilliant in a Looney Tunes sort of way. Larry Doyle's script is very funny in two ways; kids will love the slapstick, and some adults the in jokes. Joe Dante is king of the more manic family comedy and yet again he doesn't disappoint, however like most of his films it maybe suffers from a lack of universal appeal. This added to the bizarre machinations of Steve Martin leads to a small problem, but it isn't enough to ruin the film. Overall this is one funny film and fitting tribute to the Looney tune cartoons, so in the immortal words of the pig "Abreet Abreet That's all folks!"

Tagline

Real life has never been so animated .

Quote

Kate: Who has dynamite?
Daffy Duck: Welcome to my world.

Daffy Duck: What would Duck Dodgers do? Wait a minute I am Duck Dodgers!

Daffy Duck: That's not boxing. Bite his ear.

(After the first car falls to pieces and the current car starts to fly)
Daffy Duck: Do you know I'm beginning to think this is the spy car.

Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Nice, bright and very colourfull.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Lots of bangs and some nice effects.
Features Deleted scenes and alternative ending. Hosted by a very badly animated Bugs and Daffy this really shows how a film can be improved by editing.
Daffy and Bugs as they give a tour of the set
Daffy and Bugs look at the special effects
Whizzard of Ow cartoon
Yosemite Sam with TNT easter egg
Trailer
Verdict Good transfer, but nowhere near as many extras as could have been expected.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home