Quality film news, reviews and features
2nd February 2004 12:00:00
Posted by Karl Wareham

Looney Tunes All Stars Volume 2

DVD Video Review
NOTE Looney Tunes All Stars Volume 1 is also available and reviewed here

They're back, those Looney Tunes for another volume of Warner Brother's All-Star collections, and, again, there is a large amount on here to enjoy. Watching these cartoons today, you really appreciate how superb the animation is, and not a hint of CGI. Never has a cartoon cat looked so evil as the one animated by Virgil Ross and co, the grin, the eyes, everything just spells out mean and hungry. Anyway, let's have a look at the disc in a bit more detail.



Canary Row
It's Sylvester and Tweety, of course, and the animation here is really superb. It's the one with Sylvester attempting to gain entry to a high-rise building where poor Tweety is sitting on the windowsill. Fast, funny and with some quite superb sight gags. For proof of the quality of the animation, look no further than the sequence where the animators convince you that it is possible for a cat to imitate a monkey, badly. Excellent.

Bunker Hill Bunny
Quite a strange one, this. Bugs and the wonderful Yosamite Sam do battle over.... well, it's not clear exactly, but it's set during the American revolution so one assumes Bugs is a patriot, which would make Sam, er, British which doesn't quite fit, but no matter. It's not the best example of their pairings, and involves many repetitive sight gags about cannons, which irritates after a while. It's the only appearance of Yosamite Sam on here, though, so make the most of it.

Kit For Kat
A classic. No other words for it. Elmer Fudd finds himself having to choose between two cats, both of which seek shelter from the cold. Torn between a 'cute widdle kitten' and Sylvester, hilarity ensues as Sylvester tries to get the kitten in trouble with results that invariably backfire. You'll laugh aloud at this one, and it has quite a good twist ending.

Putty Tat Trouble
Tweety Pie in the wild? He wouldn't last five minutes, but here he is, living al fresco and being pursued by, not one cat, but two, who end up fighting each other of course. A solid, funny cartoon with a wonderful ending.

Bugs and Thugs
Bugs Bunny outwits some bank robbers. Rather strange and not at all involving.

Canned Feud
Another goody. Sylvester has the tables turned on him by a sneaky mouse, thanks to being locked in a house and without a tin opener. Lots of good sight gags here, and the whole thing works wonderfully.

Lumber Jerks
Those Gofers, not the most memorable of Warners cartoon creations, are attempting to stop their forest being turned into furnitute. Apart from the dubious ecological message and some weird and wonderful contraptions in the lumberjack factory, there's little in this one to be excited about.

Speedy Gonzales
The fastest mouse in Mexico makes his appearance here and manages to sneak across the border to steal some cheese for his fellow 'mec-hicans'.

Tweety SOS
Poor Tweety, not even safe on holiday, where he's pursued all round a ship by 'dat bad old putty tat'. Fast and funny.

The Foghorn Leghorn
The Foghorn Leghorn is, I say, is the basis for Weatherfields' legendary master butcher Fred T Eliot and here you can see why. Leghorn is a wonderful creation, loud, funny and smart arse despite having little to be a smart arse about.

Daffy Duck Hunt
Daffy Duck is one of life's tryers. Always getting the wrong end of the stick, but refusing to give up. Here, he's slightly better matched by a dimwitted dog whom he actually manages to outwit. A nice cartoon, but not the best and runs out of ideas half way through.

Early's To Bet
Here's a real oddity. Ever heard of a character called 'The Gambling Bug'? Thought not, but here he is anyway, 'biting' a hapless cat who then gets obsessed by gambling fever and is driven to play a weird penalties game with the local dog. It makes no sense, isn't funny and you wonder what they were thinking off. As an anti-gambling device it's worthless, as the dog, which always wins, looks like he's having a splendid time torturing the cat.

A Broken Leghorn
It's Foghorn again, this time helping out the local spinster chicken by making it look as though she's laid an egg. It backfires and the egg turns out to be a new rooster, who is, of course a threat to Leghorn. Hilarity ensues once more as Leghorn tries to dispose of the young rival.

Devil May Hare
The Tasmanian Devil makes an appearance and a nice little cartoon it is as well. Very fast and funny, but highlights a weakness inherent in these cartoons. They never really seem sure how to end. This one has the weirdest, most forced ending of them all, and is quite bewildering, involving a lonely-hearts column and a speedy wedding.



Picture
Standard academy ratio for these, and the look very good indeed. There is a hint of print damage at times, and there is a tendency for grain to occur over large areas of solid colour. However, they look clean and bright and the contrast levels are excellent.

Sound
Single channel mono. Bright and loud, though, you won't miss the rears at all.



Extras

Commentaries
(Not Subtitled)
Best extra on here are the commentaries. Short and incisive, the historians point out rare occurrences in the cartoons and a wealth of background information you'd otherwise miss. It's a shame that not all the cartoons have commentaries, for the one provided are amongst the best you'll hear. The short lengths of the cartoons means that a lot of information is packed in and they are perfect to dip in and out off.

Behind The Tunes
Needy For Speedy (3 mins)
Putty Problems and Canary Rows (6 minutes)
Southern Pride Chicken (3 minutes)
(fully subtitled)
You get three short films giving some background information on the creation of the cartoons and the characters. Interesting, and there are some wonderful little clips of rare cartoons, such A Tale Of Two Kittys which marks Tweety Pie's first appearance. Too short, though, but they will leave you wanting more. The three on here deal with the creation of Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester and Tweety and Foghorn Leghorn.



From The Vaults
(fully subtitled)

Bosko The Talk-Ink Kid
Witness the first appearance of one of Warner’s first cartoons and least successful character. Though it's never stated, you just know that the inspiration for this character was in the cinematic equivalent, the 'Steppin Fetchit' style black character so beloved of the old vaudeville days. He has exactly the same character traits. Nonetheless, this is interesting from an historical point of view, though it wouldn't keep any child entertained.

You also get a minute long segment which features some pencil animation from Virgil Ross. Slightly interesting, but not long enough to enable any real insight.

Music Only Programs
You can choose from Putty Tat Twouble, Broken Leghorn and Speedy Gonzales, all of which work very well indeed with no dialogue.

Stills Gallery
A selection of stills, posters and designs from the cartoons. Worthwhile.

Conclusion
Not quite as impressive a package as Volume One, which wins on account of that wonderful documentary chronicling the secret history of the cartoons, but worthwhile none the less. The commentaries are interesting, and the other extras, though thin on the ground, are all worth watching. The cartoons themselves are mostly excellent, however, and stand up to repeated viewings very well.

Details and Specifications
DVD Video Review

Region: 2

Certificate: U

Distributor:
Warner Home Video

Running Time:
95 mins approx
Soundtracks:
English
French
Italian
Dutch
Hungarian
(All Mono)

Subtitles:
English
French
Italian
Dutch
Hungarian
Arabic
Greek
Croatian
Slovenian
Romanian
Bulgarian
English HOH
Italian HOH


Director:
I Freleng
Robert McKimson


Main cast:
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner and more!

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Ratings
Film
9
Video
7
Audio
7
Extras
6
9