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Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny- 80th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray Review

“Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny- 80th Anniversary Collection” is a real treat. 

In honor of the 80th anniversary of Bugs Bunny, WB has put out a new Blu-ray set containing 60 animated shorts. 59 are classic toons ranging from the years 1940 to 1964 while the last animated cartoon

is the 90’s “(Blooper) Bunny!: Bugs Bunny’s 51st and a ½ Anniversary Spectacular.” From a plot perspective, these shorts finds Bugs facing off against Elmer Fudd in different scenarios. Of course, he’s not the only one hunting or chasing Bugs as Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin The Martian, Blacque Jacque Shellaque, a Lion, Mama Buzzard, French Poodle, Gossamer, Smidgen and wolves also face-off. Other stories involve a superhero Bugs, the Oscars, baseball, Elmer in the future, Hollywood crossovers, Bugs as a test experiment, a date, jousting, the career of Bugs, a penguin, opera, a robot, construction, Clyde (the nephew of Bugs), money, Napoleon, gangsters, show biz, and more.  There are also a number of takeoffs of storybook classics like “Jack And The Beanstalk,” “Goldilocks And The Three Bears,”and  “Robinson Crusoe.” 

This is by no means a comprehensive collection. Some folks may be miffed at the absence of classics like “A Witch’s Tangled Hare” or “Rabbit Hood.” However, this was never meant to be a complete collection but rather a tribute to one of the most iconic characters in animation history. Really, this set acts as a great “best of” that features so many of the gems that have endured for decades. Some of my personal favorites include “A Wild Hare” (a good old fashioned Bugs v Elmer toon) “Haredevil Hare” (although I may be biased as a Marvin The Martian fan), “Rabbit Fire” (the famous Wabbit season! Duck Season! short), “What’s Opera, Doc?” (an operatic Fudd hunting Bugs tale that is often cited as the greatest Bugs/Looney tunes short), and the Academy Award winning “Knighty Knight Bugs” which is an Arthurian esque story in which Bugs retrieves the Singing Sword from the Black Knight.

Although the humor, zany antics, and fully realized characters go a long way in making these cartoons so memorable, a lot of their appeal comes down to 2 individuals- Mel Blanc and Chuck Jones. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great talented folks involved in each and every short (including Tex Avery), but Chuck Jones was a creative mastermind who helped elevate the animated short form and especially “Looney Tunes” in particular. As for Mel Blanc, he is Bugs Bunny. There have been other actors to take on the mantle, but no one can personify Bugs the way he did (or say “What’s up, Doc” like him). He made the carrot loving, wisecracking, trickster spring to life both on screen and in our hearts.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 4:3 1080p. How does it look? These shorts all have print flaws (such as dirt specs and scratches), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have never looked better than they do here. The richness of the colors really stood out to me (and I’m sure it will to you as well). 

Audio Track: Dolby Digital 1.0. How does it sound? The audio is generally muted but satisfactory enough.


Extras:
* A Bugs Bunny Diamond Collection sparkly Funko pop
* Digital copy
* A Jerry Beck note (in an envelope)
* Commentaries on “Elmer’s Candid Camera by Jerry Beck, “A Wild Hare” by Greg Ford, “Hold The Lion, Please” by Greg Ford, “Bugs Bunny Gets The Boid” by Michael Barrier and Bob Clampett, “Super-Rabbit” by Paul Dini, “What’s Cookin’ Doc?” by Jerry Beck, “Bugs Bunny And The Three Bears” by Stan Freberg, “Hare-Ribbin” by Constantine Nasr, “The Old Grey Hare” by Greg Ford, “Baseball Bugs” by Eric Goldberg, “Hair-Rising Hare” by Michael Barrier and Lloyd Turner, “Bugs Bunny Rides Again” by Greg Ford, “Haredevil Hare” by Michael Barrier and Pete Alvarado, “What’s Up Doc?” by Greg Ford, “8 Ball Bunny” by Jerry Beck, “Rabbit Of Seville” by Eric Goldberg, “Rabbit Every Monday” by Greg Ford, “Fair Haired Hare” by Constantine Nasr, “Rabbit Fire” by Greg Ford and Chuck Jones, “Lumber Jack-Rabbit” by Jerry Beck, “baby Buggy Bunny” by Constantine Nasr, “What’s Oper, Doc? by Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese and Maurice Noble, “What’s Opera, Doc?” by Daniel Goldmark, “Show Biz Bugs” by Greg Ford with pre-score music, “Knighty Knight Bugs” by Jerry Beck, “Rabbit’s Feat” by Greg Ford, “From Hare To Heir” by Greg Ford, “False Hare” by Jerry Beck, and “(Blooper) Bunny!: Bugs Bunny’s 51st And A ½ Anniversary Spectacular” by Greg Ford. These tracks are filled with plenty of historical information, analysis, and factoids. I tended to find the Jerry Beck tracks to be the best personally.
* 10 Behind The Tunes extras- “Hare-Ribbin’: Director’s Cut” episode, “Forever Befuddled” (an Elmer Fudd featurette), “Bugs: A Rabbit For All Seasonings” (a Bugs centric featurette), the self-explanatory “A Hunting We Will Go: Chuck Jones’ Wabbit Season Twilogy,” “Bugs Bunny: Ain’t He A Stinker?” (another Bugs centric featurette), “Wagnerian Wabbit: The Making Of What’s Opera, Doc?,” “Hard Luck Duck” (a Daffy featurette), “Short Fuse Shootout: The Small Tale Of Yosemite Sam” (all about Yosemite Sam as you probably guessed) and the aptly named “50 Years Of Bugs Bunny In 3 ½ Minutes.”
* “Mars Attacks! Life On The Red Planet With My Favorite Martian” (Marvin The Martian extra!),
* The centerpiece of the bonus features is this new 61 minute “Bugs Bunny’s 80th What’s Up, Doc-umentary!” which contains clips, interviews, discussions about the character’s history and lasting appeal.
* Music-only track for “Rabbit Fire, music-and-effects track for “Baby Buggy Bunny,” music-only track for “What’s Opera, Doc?,” Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan vocal track for “What’s Opera, Doc?”
* The archival “bugs Bunny Looney Tunes All Star 50th Anniversary.” A fun hour-long special featuring a ton of big name guest stars!
* 60 toons not enough for you? You’re in luck as there are additional “Looney Tunes” shorts that include “Harm Wrestling,” “Pest Coaster,” “Siberian Sam,” “Big League Beast,” “Buzzard School,” “Pool Bunny,” “Grilled Rabbit,” “Vincent Van Fudd,” “Hare Restoration,” and “Plunger/Fishing Pole/Bees/Mini Elmer.” Note: these are newer “Looney Tunes” shorts though which purists may scoff at.

December 3, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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