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As a lifelong fan of Warner Bros. animation, I acquired all volumes of THE GOLDEN AGE OF LOONEY TUNES during the days of Laserdisc, as well as the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION when the classic animated shorts came to DVD. Now in the era of high definition, Warner Home Video has once again seen fit to upgrade the studio’s legendary animated output to Blu-ray. In my youth, I loved the slapstick nature of the Warner Bros. cartoons; however, when I became an adult, I came to appreciate the sophistication of the humor and the beauty that the animators brought to the characters and situations of these delightful animated shorts. LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE offers fifty classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, plus numerous supplements in a three-disc set.

Being able to enjoy these classic animated shorts in glorious high definition is indeed a privilege, and therefore, my hat goes off to Warner Home Video for the wonderful restorative and mastering efforts. As there are over 1,000 of these marvelous animated shorts in the Warner library, I would venture to guess that it would take a considerable amount of time for all of the cartoons to find their way to high definition. In their efforts to represent the Warner Bros. animated shorts in high definition, it would be my hope that such shorts as Bob Clampett’s Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs and Tin Pan Alley Cats, as well as those other "notorious" cartoons that have been withheld from circulation for decades and are often referred to as The Censored 11 will also find their way to Blu-ray.

Disc one serves up the following twenty-five animated shorts featuring such immortal characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepé Le Pew, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and Speedy Gonzales: Hare Tonic (1945), Baseball Bugs (1946), Buccaneer Bunny (1948), The Old Grey Hare (1944), Rabbit Hood (1949), 8 Ball Bunny (1950), Rabbit Of Seville (1950), What's Opera, Doc? (1957), The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946), A Pest In The House (1947), The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950), Duck Amuck (1953), Robin Hood Daffy (1958), Baby Bottleneck (1946), Kitty Kornered (1946), Scaredy Cat (1948), Porky Chops (1949), Old Glory (1939), A Tale Of Two Kitties (1942), Tweetie Pie (1947), Fast And Furry-ous (1949), Beep, Beep (1952), Lovelorn Leghorn (1951), For Scent-imental Reasons (1949) and Speedy Gonzales (1955).

Disc two serves up the following twenty-five animated shorts featuring One-Shot Classics and the complete collection for each of the following characters- Marvin the Martian, Tasmanian Devil, Witch Hazel, Marc Anthony & Ralph Phillips: One Froggy Evening (1955), Three Little Bops (1957), I Love To Singa (1936), Katnip Kollege (1938), The Dover Boys (1942), Chow Hound (1951), Haredevil Hare (1948), The Hasty Hare (1952), Duck Dodgers In The 24˝Th Century (1953), Hare-Way To The Stars (1958), Mad As A Mars Hare (1963), Devil May Hare (1954), Bedevilled Rabbit (1957), Ducking The Devil (1957), Bill Of Hare (1962), Dr. Devil And Mr. Hare (1964), Bewitched Bunny (1954), Broom-Stick Bunny (1956), A Witch's Tangled Hare (1959), A-Haunting We Will Go (1966), Feed The Kitty (1952), Kiss Me Cat (1953), Feline Frame-Up (1954), From A To Z-Z-Z-Z (1954) and Boyhood Daze (1957).

Warner Home Video has made all fifty animated shorts representing LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE in their proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratios, all of which have been encoded to disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentations are really quite beautiful, offering a film-like appearance for the shorts, each displaying a noticeable grain structure that reflects the character of vintage cartoons. Considering that the majority of these cartoons were produced anywhere from fifty to seventy-plus years ago, variations in the picture quality from short to short have to be expected. Despite the variations in picture quality, visuals tend to be quite good, of not, outstanding. Color reproduction is a bit variable, depending on the short in question, but overall, the hues are fairly eye-popping and beautifully saturated in the Technicolor range. Blacks are wonderfully deep and inky, while the whites appear crisp. The elements from which the shorts have been mastered appear quite clean, with only modest blemishes and signs of age being present. Sure, there are some flaws that were present in the original animation, which maintains the handcrafted quality of the traditional cel animation. In varying degrees, the animated shorts display a noticeable grain structure, which makes the presentations quite film-like.

All of animated shorts featured on the LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 1 channel Dolby Digital monaural 192kbps soundtracks. No surprises here, the lossy monaural soundtracks are not marvels of fidelity, but hold up well enough, especially when one considers the modest sonic qualities of recordings made from five to seven decades ago. Therefore, mild variations in sonic quality should be expected from one short to the next, but nothing is out of sorts. Digital scrubbing has been employed for all the soundtracks contained in the collection, eliminating or greatly reducing the majority of the background hiss and other audible anomalies. While the fidelity has its limitations, the music and zany sound effects come across in a respectable manner. The limited dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. Select shorts offer Spanish and/or German Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Depending on the short, subtitles are available in combinations of English, French, Spanish and German.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off are thirty-seven running Audio Commentaries on following animated shorts contained in the collection: Baseball Bugs, Buccaneer Bunny, The Old Grey Hare, Rabbit Hood, 8 Ball Bunny, Rabbit Of Seville, What's Opera Doc?, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, A Pest In The House, The Scarlett Pumpernickel, Duck Amuck, Robin Hood Daffy, Baby Bottleneck, Kitty Kornered, Scaredy Cat , Old Glory, A Tale Of Two Kitties, Tweetie Pie, Fast And Furry-ous, Beep Beep, For Scent-imental Reasons, Speedy Gonzales, One Froggy Evening, The Three Little Bops, I Love To Singa, The Dover Boys At Pimento University, Chow Hound, Haredevil Hare, Duck Dodgers In The 24˝Th Century, Devil May Hare, Bewitched Bunny, Broom-Stick Bunny, Feed The Kitty, From A To Z-Z-Z-Z and Boyhood Daze. Assorted commentary participants include the following: director Bob Clampett, director Chuck Jones, director Eric Goldberg, director Friz Freleng, voice actor Mel Blanc, filmmaker Greg Ford, historian Jerry Beck, historian Daniel Goldmark, writer Michael Maltese, layout artist Maurice Noble, director John Kricfalusi, writer Paul Dini, historian Michael Barrier, layout artist Corny Cole, voice actor Stan Freberg, voice actor June Foray, layout artist John McGrew, Paul Julian, background artist Gene Fleury, background artist Pete Alvarado, ink-and-paint girl Martha Sigall, author Amid Amidi and sound editor Treg Brown.

In addition the following animated shorts include Music-Only Tracks: What's Opera Doc?, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, Duck Amuck, Robin Hood Daffy, Speedy Gonzales, One Froggy Evening, The Three Little Bops, Hare-Way To The Stars, Ducking The Devil, A Witch's Tangled Hare, Feed The Kitty and Boyhood Daze. The following animated shorts include Music And Effects Tracks: Bewitched Bunny, Broom-Stick Bunny, and Feline Frame-Up. The following animated shorts include recording session Vocal Tracks: The Three Little Bops and What's Opera Doc?.

Disc one and two Featurettes and other programs include the following: Wagnerian Wabbit: The Making Of What's Opera Doc?, Twilight In Tunes: The Music Of Raymond Scott, Powerhouse In Pictures, Putty Problems And Canary Rows, A Chuck Jones Tutorial: Tricks Of The Cartoon Trade, The Charm Of Stink: On The Scent Of Pepe Le Pew, It Hopped One Night: The Story Behind One Froggy Evening, Wacky Warner One-Shots, Mars Attacks! Life On The Red Planet With My Favorite Martian Razzma-Taz: Giving The Tasmanian Devil His Due and The Ralph Phillips Story: Living The American Daydream.

Disc three starts off with A Greeting From Chuck Jones (four minutes). Next up are several Documentaries on noted animation director Chuck Jones. Chuck Amuck: The Movie (fifty one minutes), Chuck Jones: Extremes & In-Betweens, A Life In Animation (eighty five minutes) and Chuck Jones: Memories Of Childhood (twenty six minutes). We get even more to Jones about in The Animated World Of Chuck Jones (eighty six minutes). Nine post-classic era Bonus Cartoons are also provided: Fright Before Christmas, Spaced-Out Bunny, Duck Dodgers And The Return Of The 24 1/2Th Century, Another Froggy Evening, Marvin The Martian In The Third Dimension, Superior Duck, From Hare To Eternity, Father Of The Bird and Museum Scream. A How The Grinch Stole Christmas Pencil Test reel is also provided. An animated/live action short entitled The Door closes out the standard supplements. The Limited Edition release of LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE ($80) comes in oversized packaging that features some bonus swag that includes an animation cell, certificate of authenticity, oversized refrigerator magnet and what I like to call a Bugs Bunny shot glass, although it is referred to as a Collectable Glass. The LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE ($60) also comes swag free, and features the same book styled case that offers fifty-six pages of liner notes and artwork.

Classic animation fans prepare to revel in the delight of the LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE. The Blu-ray presentations look pretty wonderful for animated shorts produced more than a half a century to seven plus decades ago, plus said animated shorts maintain their film-like integrity in hi-def. Lossless audio would offer modest improvements on future sets, but otherwise the lossy sound is fine. Warner’s first high definition effort gets a wholehearted recommendation and I look forward to future volumes.




Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume One [Blu-ray]

Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume One (Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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