Cast & Crew info:
Produced by Allison
Abbate, Chris De Faria, Christopher DeFaria, Larry Doyle,
Bernie Goldmann, Joel Simon, Paula Weinstein, Steven Wilzbach;
Directed by Joe Dante; Screenwritten by Larry
Comedy (US); Rated
PG for some mild language and innuendo; Running Time
- 90 Minutes
Domestic Release Date:
November 14, 2003
by DAVID KEYES
one thing that Warner Bros. can depend on, it's that there
will always be an audience for Bugs Bunny and his cartoon
costars. The "Looney Tunes," as they have been
popularized as since their inception in the early 1930s,
are among the pinnacle cartoon figures of modern pop culture,
characters who can be identified simply by walking onto
the screen for a split second before saying or doing anything.
That's because like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, they house
the earliest and purest values of Hollywood animators, who
in the early days created their creatures out of substance
instead of just for the sake of filling an empty story role.
To this day, they remain as well-drawn as they have always
been, and seeing them show up in the new "Looney Tunes:
Back in Action" not only does wonders for nostalgia,
but allows us to recall the elements that made them so distinctive
in the first place.
there are concepts at work here that greatly override the
affection we might experience with the cartoon cast. Part
of the endurance of the Looney Tunes in the past has primarily
depended on the prospect of only having to see them in innocent
five-minute cartoon shorts over the years, but with "Looney
Tunes: Back in Action," the audience is required to
tolerate them (and the gimmick, for that matter) for 90
long minutes, a prospect that is not plausible because it
exhausts their significance. Furthermore, there is a reason
why movies featuring live-action characters that mix and
mingle with animated counterparts are virtually extinct;
the idea is labored and dumb beyond hope, and for the life
of me I can't see why any filmmaker would choose to go this
route instead of simply imploring one or the other.
harebrained plot (no pun intended) revolves around Bobby
Delmont, a Warner Bros. security guard/wannabe stunt man
whose father, famous movie spy (and apparently real-life
one) Damien Drake (Timothy Dalton) has been captured by
enemies who are in search of the mysterious Blue Diamond.
Bobby, out of instinct, rushes off to Las Vegas to hunt
for his dad and said artifact, but the real problem?Daffy
Duck, the latest unemployed resident of the shrinking Looney
Tunes family, is tagging along for the ride (how the two
characters are connected in the first place, I will not
revealsuch a device is simply not important in this
kind of movie).
Bugs Bunny, Daffy's primary costar, is torturing the studio's
creative consultant Kate (Jenna Elfman), the woman responsible
for the duck's firing and the subsequent destruction of
the ever-popular Daffy-Bugs duo that the cartoon division
has depended on for a good portion of the Looney Tunes legacy.
At the beckoning of the carrot-munching rabbit, eventually
the two decide to go off hunting for the duck. But will
Daffy be that willing to return to his former job considering
the latest adventure he is involved in? After all, this
is a guy who has played second-fiddle to the egotist rabbit
for years in the past; now he has the opportunity to be
the star hero, not the baggage comedy relief.
title of the film wrongfully suggests that the Looney Tunes
themselves have been lying dormant for some time (how can
you be out of action if you're immortalized in shorts that
continue to have successful runs on television?), but that's
only the minor detail here. Even though it tries to create
the impression that there is anything resembling "action"
taking place on celluloid, the movie is rather bland and
unadventurous most of the time. That's because far too much
importance is placed on the live action characters, who
in contrast with the likes of Bugs, Daffy, Elmer Fudd and
Yosemite Sam look like they should be spectators at a who's-who
reunion of animated superstars. To top it all off, the movie
doesn't even allow the more sinister "tunes" to
occupy the role as villain, either; no, they instead give
that honor up to Steve Martin, who plays an Acme chairman
with such unsettling stupidity and amateurism, it comes
off as the most annoying role the actor has ever been involved
movie has some good moments (I loved the elongated chase
sequence in which Elmer Fudd and his counterparts Bugs and
Daffy hop from one famous painting to another in an art
museum), but they're far in between here because the movie
wants to depend on more mediocre elements. Looking back
at the hour-and-a-half experience, I realize that watching
the Looney Tunes for such an extended period of time wouldn't
necessarily be a bad thing, had it been just the Looney
Tunes involved. After all, poor Daffy Duck has been trying
so hard to be the star of his vehicles for more than a half
a century; a shame that he finally gets the chance here
and is unfairly upstaged by the script's needs to force
reality on us.
© 2003, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.