Looney Tunes has had a rather interesting 40 years. When their glory days faded, they started releasing box office films that acted as glorified clip shows. They made crossover/cameo appearances in a Disney movie. They spent a few years acting as torch-passing professors to a crop of teenage knockoffs. Then they did a movie with Michael Jordan that wasn’t very good, but is so weird that it’s considered a beloved cornerstone of the ‘90s. There were a couple of spinoff shows for Taz and Tweety, as well as a whole lot of embarrassing shirts featuring characters wearing baggy pants and backwards caps.
Things got worse when their Brendan Frasier movie failed to scrounge up interest. They became extreme space superheroes, Daffy became a different kind of space superhero, and then they tried some more modern takes on the Looney Tunes concept with mixed results. Though it did teach me that Bugs Bunny totally freaking hates Porky Pig, apparently.
Now things are critical, as for the first time in nearly 100 years of coexistence…Mickey Mouse is actually funnier than Bugs Bunny! Wha happun?!
Well, it’s a good thing HBO Max is on the way because its launch is a perfect showcase for Looney Tunes Cartoons. Announced back in 2018, the new take on the classic formula was originally supposed to come out in 2019. Ten shorts were shown at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 2019 and while it brought positive word of mouth, Warner Bros. gave us folks in the public a little proof of concept with this teaser clip entitled “Dynamite Dance.”
Now that we’re just over a month away from HBO Max soothing away some of our quarantine pains, a new trailer for Looney Tunes Cartoons has been released. It’s very, very promising.
So we have Bugs screwing with Yosemite Sam, Daffy pissing off Porky Pig, Tweety Bird getting the better of Sylvester the Cat, the Roadrunner outrunning the Coyote, and some quick appearances by Marvin the Martian and Gossamer. All as it should be. The animation has an extremely frantic pace and it feels legit, even though the coloring feels very Ren & Stimpy at points. And, of course, there are references to streaming TV and cell phones because even the old classics – timeless as they are – fell into the trap of being topical to their era.
There were SO MANY Peter Lorre references back in the day, man. So many. Why were there so many Peter Lorre references?
The first season of Looney Tunes Cartoons will feature 80 episodes of 11-minute shorts, featuring everyone from the marquee toons (Bugs, Daffy, Porky) to the more obscure (Pete Puma, Petunia Pig). Oh man, I hope we get something new with the Dover Boys. I’m ready. The world is ready.
This Peter Browngardt production seems to know what it’s doing so far and it’ll be refreshing to see Bugs Bunny relevant again. Well, unless you count Bugs’ impression of a fat Elmer Fudd from a 1941 cartoon being turned into an internet meme as being relevant.
The anvils will start dropping on May 27, available on HBO Max.