Looney Tunes: Back in Action
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman's legs team up with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck to rescue the Blue Money Diamond from the hands of the evil chairman of the ACME Corporation before he can use it to turn the world's population into primates.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As a huge Looney Tunes fan, there was nothing but apprehension in my mind as I popped this film into my DVD player and mentally prepared myself for the ordeal that it would be. Terrified of seeing my favorite cartoon characters made fools of and abused for the sake of a quick buck, I shed a few tears and wondered aloud if I'd ever be able to think of them in the same way again. Much like Indiana Sev when he decided to eat that greenish piece of chicken at the deli down the street, I made a huge mistake. BACK IN ACTION may not become the classic your Saturday morning cartoons have grown to be, but it does fulfill the prime directive of cartoons: it makes you laugh. Bugs Bunny is his usual cucumber cool as he tags along with Jenna Elfman, whose legs are almost as long a date with JoBlo, while they partner up with Lunatic Daffy Duck and Brendan Fraser, a man whose career has more lives than an entire litter of kittens.
The whole menagerie of Tunes also puts in some guest appearances, with Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martin, Yosemite Sam and a whole bunch more logging in some time and doing their shtick (which usually involves either anvils or TNT) and a pretty effective performance by Steve Martin as the nutty bad guy along with Bill Goldberg (of WWE fame), Timothy Dalton, Heather Locklear and the adorable Joan Cusack. The story itself is quite silly: Elfman is a studio exec and Fraser is a studio security guard/struggling stunt man whose super spy dad (Dalton) gets kidnapped by ACME and tortured in order for him to reveal the location of the Blue Monkey Diamond which can turn people into monkeys who can later be used as cheap labor in one ACME's assembly lines (isn't it easier to find either Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods and ask them where Taiwan is?) It never really matters though since most of the fun comes from seeing things blow up, fall, break, drown, fly or speed. The plot and story are also simple enough for kids to enjoy and at only 90 minutes, easy time spent on a rainy school night. Fun stuff for kids and cartoon nerds alike! (namely me)
We're mercifully spared the potential hours of featurettes regarding animation and given few, but fun, extras for dessert. To open the show, Bugs and Daffy host two short featurettes. Behind the Tunes (8 mins.) quickly flies through the on-set production. Our two cell shaded hosts walk around on the set and explain in just the right amount of detail how the flick happened. As usual, you can count on Daffy to be a grouch throughout the whole thing. They also present Bang, Crash, Boom! (7 mins.), which goes through the film's stunts and special effects. It does touch on the animation aspect, but only lightly and not too much that you get to feeling you've seen this a bazillion times before.
A set of deleted scenes follows. Entitled Looney Tunes Out of Action: The Best Scenes You've Never Seen (10 mins.) contains both an alternate opening sequence and an alternate ending, with a few scenes in between. You can't access them individually since they're presented in sequence by Daffy and Bugs which is a bit of a bummer, but they're not really amazing enough to make you want to do that anyway.
The biggest treat is Whizzard of Ow (7 mins.), a brand new Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner show that features the two perennial rivals once again locked in the throes of battle, which Wile E. needs no help in losing. It's not the best I've seen, but it's definitely good for a few chuckles. It's followed by the Theatrical Trailer and a 5-second long Easter Egg Yosemite Sam clip you can access by clicking "right" on the special features menu.
BACK IN ACTION makes great use of its awesome library of characters to deliver a fun, funny and entertaining little film that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The kids will be wanting to see this one over and over again and the grown ups will always find its easy laughs and short running time attractive for a quick watch, so it's a good candidate for a purchase. A good addition to any DVD library.