Looney Tunes: Back in Action

Looney Tunes: Back in Action ★★★★

Hugely enjoyable. The scene at the Louvre is the first and only genuinely masterpiece-level Looney Tunes scene since Termite Terrace disbanded in the '60s. I'm even warming up to Steve Martin's performance a tiny bit. Joe Dante always says that making this movie was a hellish experience and that the final product is severely compromised, but he should be proud that he got the Man from Planet X (title character from the 1951 Edgar G. Ulmer-directed film) into a megabudget major-studio release in the year 2003. By the way, I saw this twice theatrically, so you can't blame me for Space Jam: A New Legacy.

I like how, in contrast to the Space Jams where the Looney Tunes all live together as a family in some parallel reality, this one imagines them as just inhabiting our world and everyone is chill about it. Bugs and Daffy are still employees of Warner Bros, while Yosemite Sam has become a casino magnate, and Sylvester, Tweety and Granny live next door, and not everyone is friends. Even though they inhabit our reality, the characters still follow their own laws of thermodynamics - so, Daffy can run into a painting, while Brendan Fraser can't.

While the new Looney Tunes cartoons on HBO Max look pretty good, and I'm sure that these characters will continue to be revived for as long as money can be drained from them, this movie nevertheless feels like the unofficial Last Looney Tunes Movie. It's the last one that will be made by and for people who grew up in a world where the original cartoons were constantly being played on TV.

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