For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Animated Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Non-Disney/PIXAR) Movies, here’s a review of Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) by Steven of Past Present Future TV and Film
Thanks again to S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Kim of Tranquil Dreams. We will be reviewing our favorite teenage/high school romance movies. Please get me your submissions by 25th June by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Kim!
Let’s see what Steven thought of this movie:
On Second Thought: “Looney Tunes: Back in Action”
Even if you know a film is dumb or bad for various reasons, that’s not going to stop you from enjoying it. You may come away enjoying it far more than you thought and are willing to see it many more times. I guess it’s just kids movies that make this okay, or where it happens most often, but either way it still happens.
The Warner Bros. Pictures film “Looney Tunes: Back in Action”, is one any other sane person would shy away from, but me, I run towards it, arms outstretched and opened wide, ready to receive this silly, silly, yet pretty funny film.
This live action animated comedy stars Brendan Fraser (upcoming “Texas Rising”, “The Nut Job”), Jenna Elfman (“Growing Up Fisher”, “The Mindy Project”), Timothy Dalton (“Penny Dreadful”, “Toy Story That Time Forgot”), Joan Cusack (“Hot in Cleveland”, “Shameless (US TV series)”), Bill Goldberg (“Staged”, “Kill Speed”), Heather Locklear (“Hot in Cleveland”, “Franklin & Bash”), and Steve Martin (“Home”, “The Big Year”).
The film was directed by Joe Dante (“Salem”, “Hawaii Five-0”) and written by Larry Doyle (“Instant Mom”, “I Love You, Beth Cooper”).
The film originally opened on Nov. 14, 2003.
Something not directed by Don Bluth! Never thought that was possible. This, of the many animated films watched, is probably the one I thoroughly enjoyed the most. The others weren’t bad or uninteresting, but unlike this one, they didn’t have me laughing constantly and loving every silly moment! I’m a little sad that the movies over now and I must continue on with other things.
The biggest problem with this film, isn’t how stupid, in general, it is. Yes, it’s a kids film, but that doesn’t keep from being dumb. No, that honor, sadly, although not all that surprisingly, is with Martin. I’ve, especially in the last 10 years, apparently farther if you include this film, have been supremely disappointed in him. He’s not funny. There, I said it. He’s not funny. It could just bee the material he’s given, but I doubt it. Even in “Bringing Down the House” he wasn’t that funny. Here, it’s worse. His villain character is too annoying and shouldn’t even be the bad guy. How he is is beyond me. He’s too dumb. All the antics and actions, anything really that Martin came up with for his character, just make me want to throw things. I was glad when he wasn’t in scenes. I blame this for the failure of this film. In a way (unintentionally) the film was making fun of this fact too when they had Martin make a joke. He said, “Well, who’s laughing now?” [crickets] “Apparently no on.” While it did bring a smile to my face, it helps make my point a little. One thing that doesn’t help his character is that his plan for world domination doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s either that or I missed when they explained why he wanted to turn everyone into monkeys.
The animation, on its own, was fine. Nothing unusual, which is really me guessing as it’s been a while since I saw any “Looney Tunes”. Still, it looks good enough to work as a part animated film. The only time it doesn’t work that well, and I’m not sure if this is the time the film was made or something, but against the real life scenery, it doesn’t blend well and seemed like it was out of place.
Then, of course, there’s the way the animation looks when interacting with the real actors. It looks weird. Okay, a little bad, but it’s only brief and is mildly understandable. When you’re not looking directly at the interactions, like pulling Daffy by the arm out of the building, then the back and forth between the actors and the toons, looks good. Provides some great, silly moments.
As this is a silly kids movie, where character isn’t really important, or really attempted, it’s not difficult to like the characters. Well, except for Martin’s. Elfman starts off being a bit icy, but as all the crazy ensues, she becomes someone you like and can laugh at and with. For me, it helps that I know she did comedy on “Dharma and Greg”, way back when, so I knew she was able to do all sorts of comedy.
Fraser, well, he’s something else altogether. While he’s never done anything that stands out, he’s done some fun films. His character here is just plain ridiculous. He’s not too annoying, but he really was only supplying a lot of the comic relief that t didn’t go to the duck and the rabbit.
Locklear, like Cusack was really just in a cameo appearance. She provided some laughs and pushed the story forward, but that’s about it. Lastly, there’s Dalton. He was surprisingly funny. I guess when you’re an older actor you can do just about anything you want.
The biggest, and arguably best thing, about this film that got a lot of laughs from me, other than the other hijinks that kids would get and love, are the pop culture references. It’s strange to say about a film like this, but there are plenty of them. This time, it really gives adults something to like about this film other than Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
Early on in the film, a water tower breaks and spills everywhere. Some of the water ends up in the car that Elfman and Bugs are in, and because of this, the next thing you see is Bugs in a a boat fishing. He says “Hey what do you know. I found Nemo.” Funny, funny stuff. Granted, of course, you couldn’t really tell what type of fish it was, but it was still super funny.
A bit later, there’s a scene that’s set in the WB dining hall. However, before the scene can begin, the camera is basically panning around and looking at the other tables where people are eating. One of them just so happens to be occupied by Shaggy and Scooby Doo and Matthew Lillard. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’ll inform you. Lillard played the live action version of Shaggy in the “Scooby Doo” films.
The references don’t stop at other kids films. There’s some for the adult crowd too. One of the characters references giant ants, and at that moment, the sound that they make is heard. A high pitch sound can be heard. I instantly knew they were referencing the classic film “Them!”! COOL!!
Then, there’s my favorite bit of the whole film. The “Psycho” reference! Bugs Bunny as Marion Crane just makes me laugh each and every time! Plus, watching Elfman’s reactions as Bugs keeps up the bit, priceless. If you’ve somehow managed to miss this, check it out below.
From the first moment I saw this film, I just loved it. Serious and better films are great, but sometimes you just need something that’s over the top. Something ridiculous on all levels. This is that something. Looking at it now, I’m not sure what I was hoping to get from it the first time. Now, which is half the reason to go back to it time and again, I’ll be expecting loads of silly moments and things that will definitely make me laugh. In this case, I don’t care if it’s dumb or not.
The equally silly trailer: