Back in Action: 2nd re-cap draft

From Bugs Bunny to Tom and Jerry to Popeye and Woody Woodpecker, the TTTP is the best place around to talk about the classic cartoons from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Moderators: Larry T, Jon Cooke, Jack, Duck Dodgers, Matthew Hunter, Pietro, Lee Glover

User avatar
Brandon Panther
Posts: 3277
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:00 am
Location: At my home.

Back in Action: 2nd re-cap draft

Postby Brandon Panther » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:07 am

JBWarner offered to co-write the recap with me, and here's the 2nd draft. JB's ideas and revisions are in bold:

There are few universal constants in this world. Everyone is different, everyone has varying tastes and opinions, and very rarely do people see eye to eye on every issue they hold dear. But there is one thing that just about everyone has in common - everybody loves the Looney Tunes.
Unfortunately, “everybody” also includes people who have no business working with the characters. The atmosphere that created the classic Warner Bros. cartoons is gone, and it pretty much can’t be replicated. Brilliant masterworks of American animation like “Porky Pig’s Feat”, “Book Revue”, “Duck Amuck”, “One Froggy Evening”, “Birds Anonymous”, and “What’s Opera, Doc?” would have a hard time being made in today’s corporate animation industry. Through isolated production and a lack of executive input, the Warner ‘toonsmiths like Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, and Frank Tashlin were allowed to create cartoons that were about whatever the hell they wanted. And this sense of creative freedom basically resulted in some of the funniest short cartoons ever made. (Of course, complete creative freedom is no guarantee that a cartoon will be good - the recent output of one John Kricfalusi is plenty of evidence in that regard.)

Only a few people understand what made the Looney Tunes great. Among those people is Joe Dante (no relation to Alighieri), perhaps most well known for directing Gremlins and getting Chuck Jones to animate a lengthy sequence featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck for Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Dante also directed that segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie where Bart Simpson’s voice actress gets eaten by demonic cartoon characters. So it’s safe to say that the guy’s not only aware of why these cartoons hold up, he also likes dropping references to them at every chance he gets.


And like most historically-aware Looney Tunes fanatics, Dante hates Space Jam. The 1996 live action/animated feature was Warner Bros.’ first attempt to bring the Looney Tunes back to theater screens (back in the pre-TV days, people actually had to go to the movies in order to be entertained). It also contained a bizarre plot about Bugs Bunny needing Michael Jordan’s help to win a basketball game against aliens who want to kidnap the Looney Tunes as theme park attractions. Oh yeah, and there was a subplot where Bugs found a love interest in the form of the disturbingly shapely Lola Bunny. Not quite the same thing as what came out of Termite Terrace.

Space Jam did well enough, thanks to its elevendy-eight-bazillion merchandising tie-ins and product placements (Nike’s Air Jordans being the most obvious culprit), but as a Looney Tunes movie, it’s a disaster. With no personality, no originality, and not even very good voice acting, the Looney Tunes characters are empty shells throughout the feature, doing things just ‘cause the script says so. Dante envisioned doing a movie that’d feature the Looney Tunes the way they’re supposed to be - brash, anarchic, and full of life, each character sticking to the personalities that the classic cartoons established for them. And a plot that actually made an ounce of sense.

But the best laid plans of wabbits and men can still go awry. Looney Tunes: Back in Action ended up so far removed from Dante’s original plan that it might as well have been called Space Jam 2: Electric Boogalooney. Rumor has it that the script went through 27[!] rewrites, each one by a different writer (even though the only one to receive screen credit is former “Simpsons” scribe Larry Doyle, who did the first draft). And it shows - the plot is so full of holes and abandoned story threads, it almost makes Casino Royale look coherent. Executive nose-sticking-in continued to neuter the film, resulting in jokes, scenes, and even entire character motivations being deleted. The Warner suits wanted a movie that was suitable for kids (since, y’know, it’s not like anyone over the age of 12 can possibly enjoy animation), which resulted in a lot of dumb, juvenile humor interspersed with in-jokes directed at the intended adult audience.
And then, to top it all off, Warner Bros. killed the movie before it even made it into theaters, thanks to its November 14, 2003 release date. Sandwiched between the Will Ferrel Christmas comedy Elf and the Mike Meyers nightmare-inducing-yet-still-inexplicably-successful The Cat in the Hat, this movie never had a chance. It didn’t help that WB only started promoting the film about a week before it got released.


But enough sob stories about what could have been. Let’s take a look at what is. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny himself, “Hold on to your hats, folks, here we go again.”

Well, hey, look! It’s the return of our old friend Video Box Idiocy! The DVD case helpfully points out that this is Looney Tunes: Back in Action: The Movie. Not to be confused with Looney Tunes: Back in Action: The Salad Spinner, I’m sure.

The movie begins with the modern Warner Bros. logo, and the sky and clouds fade into the familiar concentric circles. On the soundtrack is the Carl Stalling tune “What’s Up, Doc?”, which played under the opening titles of approximately seven thousand Bugs Bunny cartoons (including, yes, Robert McKimson’s “What’s Up, Doc?”). Then the title “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” appears in big block letters, and then the movie starts. No build up, no suspense, no pre-credit sequence. We get right to the movie. I guess I can’t accuse them of not being prompt. This is actually our first example of WB executive meddling, as the original opening sequence featuring Daffy as a superhero named “Duck Danger” was much more entertaining, not to mention much funnier.


What we get instead is a complete, unnecessary re-hash of the Bugs/Daffy/Elmer hunting trilogy. It’s sort of a catch-all potpourri of “Rabbit Fire”, “Rabbit Seasoning”, and “Duck! Rabbit! Duck”, because Lord knows these cartoons haven’t been over-exposed enough in the last 50 years. We see Elmer walking through a forest covered with “Rabbit Season” signs. Naturally, he looks at the audience and says “Be vewy, vewy quiet! I’m hunting wabbits!” Because he’s Elmer Fudd, and that’s what Elmer Fudd says.
Pan over to Daffy Duck, nailing another “Rabbit Season” sign to a tree. As he reminds us that he’s “a duck bent on self-preservation” (a line lifted directly from one of the original hunting pictures, come on now), Bugs Bunny just strolls up for no real reason and adjusts the sign. Elmer points his gun at both Bugs and Daffy, and they go into that tiresome “rabbit season/duck season” argument, until Bugs does the “switcheroo” trick, Daffy says, “Duck season, fire!”, and gets his beak blown off. And then it happens again. And again, and again, each time with some lame variation on the gag. At one point, Bugs even dons his matador costume from “Bully for Bugs” and waves his cape at Daffy’s beak as it flies off his head.
Anyway, after the ninth or tenth instance of pronoun trouble, Daffy’s voice cuts into the scene with “Hold everything!” Suddenly, we see Daffy in a live action boardroom flipping through the script and whining about getting blasted all the time, how old it is, and such. His complaints never reach the brain-dead Warner Brothers (played by twins Don and Dan Stanton), because you know, they’re executives. They never listen. It’s worth mentioning here that subtle satire is not this film’s strong point.

Daffy insists that he “shouldn’t have to play stooge to that long-eared, carrot-chomping, overbite-challenged...” Just when you think the duck’s going to start spouting off expletives, Bugs casually strolls into the boardroom (announcing his presence, naturally, with an utterance of “Eh...what’s up, Doc?”) and sucks up to everyone in the room, then thoughtlessly proposes he go on vacation and visit his nieces and nephews. He then whips out a wallet and a mile-long photo strip of his family flops out. Yep, seen that before, too. Not even five minutes in and this film has yet to show us anything new. I think Daffy had a point when he said “Warner Bros. doesn’t have an original bone in its body.”


At one end of the table, Dharma Montgomery argues the logic of making a Bugs Bunny movie without Bugs Bunny. Well, actually, it’s just some executive lady, but she is being played by Dharma herself, Jenna “I’m Danny Elfman’s daugter” Elfman. Daffy (who for some reason has never met this executive before, even though it’s established later she’s worked there for an extended period of time) asks “whose glorified personal assistant” she is, and she introduces herself as Kate Houghton, executive V.P. of Comedy. The two shake hands, and Daffy’s hand is left frozen. Could have been worse, Daffy. If you had shaken hands with Dr. Elliot Reid, your entire body would be frozen!
See, the joke here is that Warner Bros. has put someone utterly humorless in charge of their comedy division. It’d be funny if it weren’t for the fact that it probably happened in real life. Apropos of nothing, one of the Warner Brothers (Don or Dan, I can’t tell which - these guys are like the Goofy Gophers) mentions that Kate did Lethal Weapon Babies[!], gesturing to a movie poster on the wall with what are apparently supposed to be baby versions of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Mildly amusing, but I can’t help but think this concept was actually considered in real life at one point too.
My DeviantArt Page
"I must defend the remarkable prescience of the Hanna-Barbera writers. In the early 1960s, they dreamed up a futuristic world that seemed impossibly beyond our reach. Their creativity predicted the microwave oven, slide walks, smart phones and robot teachers. All these inventions are now routine realities of the 21st century." - Janet Waldo (LA Times, 2011)

User avatar
Brandon Panther
Posts: 3277
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:00 am
Location: At my home.

Postby Brandon Panther » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:11 am

Kate tells everyone to check their phones [?] which display Bugs and Daffy’s demographics. “Hilariously”, the Warner Brothers pick up the receivers of their 1940s-style rotary phones directly in front of them. Oh, those crazy old people! Kate comments that while Bugs is universally loved by everyone, Daffy’s fan base consists entirely of “angry fat guys in basements.” Something tells me this pronouncement is going to rankle the millions of fans of cartoons like “Draftee Daffy” and “Duck Dodgers in the 24th ½ Century” who aren’t angry fat guys in basements. And does such a phone even exist that tells you how popular you are? If so, I want one! Then again, never mind. I know I’d hate the results.


Daffy whines that he’s thrice the entertainer Bugs is. Bugs responds with a random belch, causing laughter from everyone in the room. Well, I suppose a belch joke isn’t totally low enough for the Tunes to do. At least it wasn’t a fart joke. (Note from the future: I spoke too soon.) Then, for no reason, Daffy insists that kids today want action, and goes into a karate routine that’s just a buck-and-a-quarter-quarterstaff away from being a direct rehash of the “Dodge, turn, parry, thrust” gag from “Robin Hood Daffy”. You know, sticking to the characters’ original personalities doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to redo everything they’ve already done before. Anyway, Daffy predictably ties himself into knots, and splutters “Top that, rabbit!”. Bugs responds by...kicking Daffy’s eyeballs out of his head[??]. Way to endear the world’s greatest cartoon character to the audience, movie.


Daffy basically tells the Warner brothers (are they even really descendents of the real Warner brothers?) to choose between him or Bugs, and Dan (or Don, whatever) stoically says, “Whichever one’s not the duck.” Daffy makes a complete turnaround here and starts kissing ass, but Kate drags him out anyway. And at this point, it becomes apparent that maybe Jenna Elfman could have used a bit more practice when it came to interacting with characters who aren’t there. As she yanks Daffy off her torso and offers to escort him out, it literally looks like she’s got her hands around a piece of cardboard. Someone should have told her that even though cartoon characters are drawn in two dimensions, live actors who’ll be made to interact with them shouldn’t treat them as such.

Suddenly we cut to a cop show! Starring Brendan Fraser even! He busts through a door and flashes his badge, then jumps off a balcony and…OUCH… lands back first on a food table complete with high glasses. Turns out this is actually a stunt man audition. The stunt directors watching are Archie Hahn (no stranger to Joe Dante films - you might remember him as the ill-fated technician guy from Gremlins 2: The New Batch) and the Crusher, that huge boxer/wrestler that Bugs fought in “Rabbit Punch” and “Bunny Hugged”. This is just the first of many random live action and animated cameos, folks, so get used to ‘em. I guess Joe Dante couldn’t resist winking at his fellow Cartoon Brew nerds in the audience. Brendan, whose character’s name is DJ, stands up and laughs sheepishly, but his weight overturns the entire table, sending food splattering all over the stunt directors. Naturally, he fails the audition, and Archie ushers him out while Crusher chomps on an extremely fake head of lettuce.


To the sounds of derisive laughter, DJ exits the soundstage, buttoning up his regular security guard uniform. Hmm, a security guard who yearns to be in pictures? I can’t possibly see where this plot thread is headed. DJ meets up with another guard. This guy is a lot older and… hey, it’s Dick Miller! I found Dick Miller! I won the “Find Dick Miller” Game! Whoo-Hoo! Really, it wouldn’t be a Joe Dante movie without a million random cameos. Anyway, Dick tells DJ his father Damian Drake can get him a stunt job anytime he wants to. Damian Drake, as the movie helpfully reveals via a huge poster hanging on the soundstage wall behind them, is the star of Warner Bros.’ new spy film License to Spy (I’m laughing on the inside), and he’s also DJ’s father, even though the poster makes him look like he’s only somewhere in his late 20s. But DJ is too goody-two-shoesand would rather earn his job himself. I think he just doesn’t want “nepotism” added to his felony list. Working on the side of the law and all…


Dick randomly changes the subject, and tells DJ that Mr. Warner wants him to wax his car (wait, WHICH Mr. Warner? There’s at least two!). DJ does so, and the car in question happens to be right in front of the building that Kate is forcibly trying to eject Daffy from. Daffy’s still pleading for his job, insisting that he can do voice overs (launching into impressions of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, and...Jack Nicholson, for some reason). Kate asks DJ to “eject this duck” in a tone that screams “I’m so much better than you.” DJ asks her why Daffy got fired, and they get into a back-and-forth that’s not worth going into detail over. Kate says, “You don’t know me,” prompting this snappy comeback from DJ:

“You’re Kate Houghton, you’re the VP of comedy. Go figure. You drive a red 1988 Alfa Romeo. Good engine, little under-driven. I know this because YOU nearly ran me over last week!”

So, that’s their connection. Isn’t Six Degrees fun? I find it interesting though that the “red 1988 Alfa Romeo” he describes is supposedly Kate’s car, but the car DJ is waxing that very moment IS a red 1988 Alfa Romeo! What, do Mr. Warner and Kate coincidentally own the same type of vehicle? Or do they share it together? What else do these two share together? Perhaps there’s a reason stiff, emotionless Kate got the job as VP of comedy.

DJ finally returns to the subject of “ejecting” the duck and hilariously, Kate has automatically gotten all gooey-eyed over DJ. Apparently men talking about her and what type of car she drives gets her sexed up. By the way, if you’re expecting this foreshadowing of romantic tension to pay off at any point in the film’s denoument, save yourself the trouble and just forget it. Finally, DJ snaps her out of it by making quacking noises [!] and tells her he can’t “eject” Daffy because he’s gone. See, while Kate was weakening in the knees over DJ’s knowledge of her automotive history, Daffy managed to escape from her kung-fu grip, with Bugs substituting for him. It’s just as convoluted as it sounds, trust me. Kate just glares at DJ and says, “Well, what are you waiting for, back-up?” DJ then walks off, actually laughing at that comment like it was some real joke, even though she was really chastising him.

DJ calls out for Daffy, and the little black duck jumps out from God knows where, and attacks DJ up. Meanwhile a bunch of tourists are in the background watching, and a young girl videotapes the whole thing and laughs. I guess the "Good Samaritan Law" never caught on in LA. Daffy takes off again, causing generic mayhem around the studio lot. Generic mayhem! Just as good as prescription mayhem, but 50% cheaper! At one point, Daffy runs into a matte painting, while DJ merely tears through it. As Daffy puts it, “Now that’s just cheating!” And not only that, it’s now the fourth or fifth instance of a gag being lifted verbatim from a classic Looney Tunes cartoon. If someone shoves a gun into a hole in the wall and another gun barrel comes out of the floor, I’m out of here.

This sequence is also indicative of the schizophrenic nature of this film - it can’t decide if it features 1950s greedy Daffy or 1940s screwball Daffy. Both come and go as the script dictates, it seems.

The duck rushes into a dark studio, and leads DJ up a staircase to the top of the building, where there is a conveniently placed door on the edge of the roof [?].Daffy warns DJ, “Don’t follow me!” and runs out the door. Naturally, DJ (which by this time, I think must stand for “Dumb Jackass”) follows Daffy out the door, falls off the roof and plummets to what certainly must be his horrible death. Now, he can’t possibly blame Daffy for this. After all, Daffy distinctly warned him not to follow him.
On the street below, a director emerges from his folding chair and yells that this is not how the stunt is supposed to go (oh right, Brendan Fraser was supposed to yell, “Cowabunga!”, not “AHHHHHHHH!” on the way down), and he orders, “Cut!” And in another instance of this movie’s case of cameo-itis, this director is none other than Roger Corman, whom you may remember as the man behind about half the b-movies made in the 1950s. Much to my dismay (I really wanted to see DJ smashed onto the pavement below), DJ lands safely on one of those giant Hollywood airbags, and in the process, deflates it. Corman storms up to DJ and gripes about how the airbag cost a lot of money. Oh right, Corman. As if you’ve ever worried about high movie budgets. The topper of all this, is it’s revealed that Corman is directing a Batman movie, of all things (and in broad daylight, no less). An actor portraying Batman is seen on the roof looking ever so annoyed. I’m sorry, but the idea of Corman making a Batman movie frightens me. Anyone who thought “Batman & Robin” was awful, just imagine what it’d be like with Corman at the helm! *shudders*

Daffy sneaks by and hops into a nearby Batmobile. And whattayaknow? It’s a fully functional Batmobile, complete with air-conditioning and stereo[!]. Daffy flips on some tunes, which happen to be a remix of Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)”. This isn’t quite the same effect as when Carl Stalling would insert Cab Calloway’s “Blues in the Night” into his Looney Tunes scores.

DJ sees Daffy try to take off with the Batmobile and quickly pries him from the vehicle (Daffy insists that “I’m allowed to steal, I’m a celebrity!” which is probably the same thing Winona Ryder once said), unaware that Daffy already started the thing. It rolls off, driverless, no doubt to take out the Penguin’s masked goons. Actually, it crashes into one of the “legs” of the WB water tower, and the tower begins to topple over. Despite the crunching and creaking noises, DJ seems completely oblivious to all this. Top-notch security they got over at the Warner studio. Top-notch, I say!

Kate and Bugs drive up in the red 1988 Alfa Romeo (seriously now, who is the real owner of this car? First the movie says it’s Mr. Warner’s, then they say it’s Kate’s, and Kate is seen driving it...is she ripping her boss off? Oh, forget it. My head hurts), and both see the tower collapsing. A few dozen bystanders take off running, pushing each other out of each others' way George Costanza-style.

The water tower finally crashes, and spews water everywhere, flooding the studio. And unfortunately for Kate… or Mr. Warner, or whoever, the red 1988 Alfa Romeo is drenched completely. Well, she can always sell it online, and let buyers know about the “recent water damage” and “new upholstery”. Kate sits in her car soaking wet. Bugs is unfazed by the damage; instead he gets in a funny Finding Nemo joke, because he’s such a trooper.

And despite the fact that water shot out everywhere, DJ is completely bone dry[???]. Allow me to repeat - ??? Come on, now, DJ and Daffy were directly between the water tower and the Alfa Romeo, dead center in the path of the flood - you’d think they’d be at least slightly damp after this, wouldn’t you? DJ and Kate exchange frustrated looks. Daffy tells DJ, “I think she likes you.” Because an angry look on a woman’s face totally equals, “I want you in my bed now, Mr. Hunk!” DJ offers a half-hearted “Oops!” that I’m sure will be enough to save his job.

Or maybe not, ‘cause the next thing we see is Dick Miller again, this time looking quite mad, stripping DJ of his badge and uniform, then ordering him out of the studio. I don’t understand what Dick’s canning him for. The only thing DJ failed at was “ejecting” Daffy. It was Daffy who resisted arrest, stole the Batmobile, crashed it into the water tower, and demolished the home of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. Why’s DJ taking the heat for all this?
My DeviantArt Page
"I must defend the remarkable prescience of the Hanna-Barbera writers. In the early 1960s, they dreamed up a futuristic world that seemed impossibly beyond our reach. Their creativity predicted the microwave oven, slide walks, smart phones and robot teachers. All these inventions are now routine realities of the 21st century." - Janet Waldo (LA Times, 2011)

User avatar
Brandon Panther
Posts: 3277
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:00 am
Location: At my home.

Postby Brandon Panther » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:13 am

Now, we’re in the WB commissary, and find Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzales having lunch. Porky tells him about how he was told to lose his stutter (unbelievably, this is based on a true story), and now they tell him he’s not funny. He then echoes a comment that often rings through the minds of any average American: “It’s a pain in the butt to be p-p-p-politically correct!” Speedy concurs. Again, Joe “Subtlety” Dante drives home another point.

Pan left to another table, and...wait a minute, what the hell? I thought this was a Looney Tunes movie! So why are Shaggy and Scooby-Doo (both Hanna-Barbara characters) seated at a table with Matthew Lillard? Shaggy (who’s at least being voiced by Casey Kasem here, so I can’t fault the movie on that) lectures Lillard for his performance in the live action Scooby-Doo movie, and then threatens him, “If you, like, goof on me in the sequel, I’m comin’ after ya!” And now I realize why this sequence is here - it’s a shameless plug for the then-unreleased Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Isn’t corporate synergy grand?
Pan further left; Bugs and Kate are at another table, and Kate is still drenched from the previous scene (hey, you got to give Dante props for continuity). Kate mentions that “there are some areas of the script I think we need to address.” If this is the movie she’s talking about, she ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie. Then she poses the question about how to reposition Bugs’ brand identity. You’d think the natural response to this dilemma would be to just put the Looney Tunes cartoons back on TV, but no - Kate’s own solution is teaming Bugs up with a hot, female co-star. This, of course, is the first of several digs at Space Jam, in this case being a knock at the rather unnecessary creation of Lola Bunny. But frankly, all this “rebranding identity” talk is pretty boring. I’m more interested in what’s going on at the table across from them, where Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog are eating lunch (and Sam beats the tar out of Ralph for somehow sneaking a sheep into his lunchbox). Cameo, party of two!

Bugs argues that he usually plays the "female love interest" and - true to cross-dressing form - he dons a Marilyn Monroe disguise, complete with the mole on his cheek. This is apparently so titillating that Michigan J. Frog, seated at the table behind Bugs, suddenly jumps up and starts singing “Hello My Baby”. Wow, and his owner’s nowhere to be seen! Kate insists that Bugs’ cross-dressing shtick is just creepy in today’s society (I don’t know, Robin Williams sure made it work), and Bugs offers this glimmering bon mot:
“Lady, if you don’t find a rabbit with lipstick amusing, you and I got nothin’ to say to each other.”

Bugs then proposes they should get Daffy back, and Kate foolishly challenges his suggestion, spouting off more corporate buzzwords with every sentence. I think if Lindsay Naegle were real, she’d be this character. Bugs brings out his little rabbit Oscars [?] and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to show off that he knows what he's talking about because he's got all these awards. I'm with Bugs on getting Daffy back, but honestly, those "rabbit Oscars" shouldn't mean anything (hell, the REAL Oscar awards don't mean anything). I'm sure Bugs is the only celeb to win those. Oh, and in case anyone cares, throughout the entire golden age of Looney Tunes, only one Bugs Bunny cartoon ever won an Academy Award. I don’t know where he got the other four, but I’m thinking Sylvester, Tweety, Pepe le Pew, and Speedy Gonzales should double-check their trophy cases.

Cut to DJ on his motorcycle, pulling up into his driveway. Well, actually it’s his father’s driveway. Yep, DJ’s a bum mooching off his dad. Poor guy. I mean his father, not DJ. And remember, his father is Damian Drake, famous spy actor. Again, this’ll be important in a minute. It’s revealed that DJ’s neighbors… er his FATHER’S neighbors are Granny, Tweety, and Sylvester. Granny is trimming the hedges, and Tweety asks DJ how work went. DJ is either too proud or too embarrassed to admit that he got fired (I’ll bet it’s the latter), and walks his motorcycle into the garage. At that moment, Sylvester tries to catch Tweety, and Granny somehow gets distracted, and cuts Sylvester’s tail off. Perhaps it wasn’t a distraction. I always thought that old bag was evil.

By the way, this is another confusing aspect of the film - some of the Looney Tunes are celebrities at the Warner Bros. Studio, while others are just regular citizens, and others still are working for the bad guys. I’m guessing all the behind-the-scenes turmoil that Warner’s classic animation division has faced over the years finally forced a few of these guys to off and quit. My heart goes out to you, Tweety!

DJ glumly walks through the front door, but he doesn’t get four feet into the house when Daffy pops out of his backpack! He does a very Woody Woodpecker-ish “Guess who?” and kisses DJ. Daffy then gads about how he’s glad he was fired because soon WB will be “kissing [his] be-feathered rump”[?] I don’t know what sense that makes. Eventually, Daffy sees an article in the Hollywood Reporter about him getting canned from Warner Bros. and destroying the studio water tower. And somehow, even though this only happened five minutes ago, it’s not only made its way into the trade papers, but it was buried under several other magazines on the desk that were already there when DJ came in the front door. Does Daffy get fired every week?

Anyway, Daffy quickly realizes his career is kaput, and says he’ll starve, and will have to eat envelope glue [?]. Daffy sees DJ’s fish tank-- I mean DJ’s FATHER’S fish tank… no actually it’s never implied whose fish tank it is. It probably doesn’t matter. Daffy declares it a “sushi bar” and tries to eat one of the fish, but DJ yanks it back out of his throat. This movie out-does the classic cartoons in at least one way - it portrays Daffy as about a hundred times more annoying than he ever was to Porky Pig or anyone else he encountered.

DJ tells Daffy to leave his father’s house, and then randomly squashes Daffy’s body. But, Daffy springs back like an accordion, and then realizes that DJ just mentioned that he lives with his dad. He begins whining about how he’s hanging out with a security guard who lives with his father. Actually Daffy, he’s an ex-security guard now. You‘re the one who got him fired, remember? Daffy then sees posters of DJ’s father Damian Drake (posters bearing names like Operation Conspiracy and More is Never Enough. In this movie’s case, however, more was way more than enough) and instantly changes his tune upon realizing that “daddy” is a super spy. DJ informs him he’s just an actor who plays a spy, but Daffy somehow gets it in his head that Drake is a real spy, with a cover-up as an actor playing a spy. It’s worth mentioning that Damian also appears to have an MTV Movie Award. When did he win that?
Suddenly DJ’s phone… uh… remote control rings. DJ presses random buttons on it and even puts it to his ear like a telephone (I have to admit, in this situation, I’d probably try the same thing), until one button finally causes a painting of DJ’s father to rise up into the ceiling, revealing a TV screen, On screen is Damian Drake, played by (occasional) James Bond himself, Timothy Dalton.

Damian, dressed in a tuxedo and accompanied by a Bond-knockoff score, seems to be getting his ass handed to him by some unidentified bad guys. Well, one of the baddies is probably named “Wilhelm”, because at one point, the thug lets out the Wilhelm Scream. DJ watches, transfixed, and under the assumption that his dad is filming a movie. (At this, Daffy leaps onto the sofa with a bucket of popcorn and an obnoxiously product-placed Jolt Cola.) Damian pleads for his son to go to Las Vegas, and ask someone named “Dusty Tails” about the “Blue Monkey”, which he further explains, is a very special diamond. What, is there a flaw in the center of the diamond, and if you hold it up to the light you see a cartoon gibbon? Before the camera feed goes out, Damian says, “I’m sorry I never told you this before, but I--”. Well, looks like Daffy was right, Damian IS a real spy! If Daffy’s deduction skills are that good maybe HE should join law enforcement,. Of course, for all we know, all Damian was really trying to say was “I’m sorry I never told you this before, but I slept with your girlfriend from high school, and the other one from college.”

Predictably, all Daffy heard during the transmission was “diamond”, and slipping back into 1950s Chuck Jones mode, he immediately wants to get his greedy wings on it, and become the richest duck ever. Oh yeah, and help DJ rescue his dad. DJ rushes out to the garage (while Daffy yammers about “exploding bikinis” and “tigers hanging from helicopters”, either of which would probably improve this movie by a great margin), and jumps into an old beat-up AMC Gremlin. Daffy thinks this is a spy car, but DJ denies it being so. Daffy gets left behind as DJ putters out of the garage, but the persistent duck suddenly jumps out of the backseat and argues it is a spy car because “it looks absolutely nothing like a spy car.” DJ responds by punching Daffy in the bill. Wow, touchy fella aren’t you? Considering, Daffy was proven right about his father being a spy, you’d think DJ would be willing to believe more of Daffy’s wild premonitions. Still, he’s wrong about the spy car - since the real one rises out of the floor after DJ drives off in the Gremlin.
Oh, and when the Gremlin car first appears, the theme music to Joe Dante’s Gremlins can be heard on the soundtrack, and Mel Blanc’s “Speed Buggy” sputtering is heard when driving. We’re barely even half an hour in, and already this film is dangerously close to being crushed under the weight of its own in-jokes.
My DeviantArt Page
"I must defend the remarkable prescience of the Hanna-Barbera writers. In the early 1960s, they dreamed up a futuristic world that seemed impossibly beyond our reach. Their creativity predicted the microwave oven, slide walks, smart phones and robot teachers. All these inventions are now routine realities of the 21st century." - Janet Waldo (LA Times, 2011)

User avatar
J. B. Warner
Posts: 1794
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:57 am
Location: Anywhere you're not

Postby J. B. Warner » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:48 am

Brandon, I'm quite enjoying working on this recap with you - in fact, I've even gone ahead and begun working on recapping more of the movie than what you've already posted. I figure, since you're also collaborating with The Chase, we can compare our three drafts and assemble the best material from each. Would it be all right if I put up what I've got?
:bugs2: This post is intended for adult collectors and may contain material that is unsuitable for younger children. :daffy:


User avatar
Brandon Panther
Posts: 3277
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:00 am
Location: At my home.

Postby Brandon Panther » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:56 am

Of coarse you can!

BTW, Chase has told me he may not have time to write a draft, so I advised him to simply come up with jokes or observations. I think it'd be easier that way.
My DeviantArt Page
"I must defend the remarkable prescience of the Hanna-Barbera writers. In the early 1960s, they dreamed up a futuristic world that seemed impossibly beyond our reach. Their creativity predicted the microwave oven, slide walks, smart phones and robot teachers. All these inventions are now routine realities of the 21st century." - Janet Waldo (LA Times, 2011)

User avatar
J. B. Warner
Posts: 1794
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:57 am
Location: Anywhere you're not

Postby J. B. Warner » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:05 pm

That sounds good - maybe he can do captions and stuff.

Anyway, here's the first of my original pages...

-------------------------------------

Meanwhile, over in the Warner Bros. screening room, Kate and her identical twin bosses are viewing dailies from the Bugs Bunny movie. I must commend the studio for remaining operational even after a disaster on the scale that DJ and Daffy caused. On screen, Bugs and Elmer try to do the “rabbit season/duck season” routine without Daffy. Naturally, it’s confusing to the point where Elmer has to double-check his script - and then shoots Bugs in the face. Fortunately, it’s nothing like that tasteless “Family Guy” cutaway, though we do see Bugs seated near Kate in the screening room, bandaged from stem to stern and wailing melodramatic Smokey Garner-esque cries of “Oh, ag-o-nee!”

Maybe this is just my inner animation geek talking here, but I can think of at least ten or more Bugs/Elmer hunting pictures that didn’t feature Daffy. Seems to me that this scene would work perfectly if it drew influence from any of those pictures instead of the three that everyone seems to remember the most. I guess that’s why I’m not an executive.

Speaking of which, this revolting development doesn’t sit well with the brothers Warner, who grimly tell Kate that she’s fired. Man, WB goes through employees like Kleenex, don’t they? Kate begins backpedaling like crazy, offering to reverse her decision and hire Daffy back. Y’know, just like Bugs said she should. More ham-handed anti-executive satire, courtesy of the good folks at Dante Industries!

Of course, getting Daffy back won’t be easy, since he’s currently being thrown out of DJ’s Gremlin in the middle of the Nevada desert. And no sooner does he hit the pavement than he suddenly springs out of the glove compartment and into the passenger seat, causing a perturbed DJ to remark “You know, I’m getting really tired of throwing you out of the car.” Wow, you know, after seeing this movie, I’m kinda glad cartoon characters aren’t real.

The conversation turns to Daffy belittling DJ for his security guard job (which he no longer holds, so the point seems kind of moot now), and DJ lies and says that he’s really a stuntman. And then, adding to the already festering pile of in-jokes in this over-bloated meta-movie, he snarks “You ever seen those Mummy movies? I’m in there more than Brendan Fraser is!” Very humorous. I’ll laugh when I find a spare minute, mmkay?

Daffy’s cell phone rings, and his ringtone is “Merrily We Roll Along”, a.k.a. the Merrie Melodies theme music. Okay, kinda clever. I can’t help but wonder just where Daffy keeps his phone upon his person, though. It turns out to be Bugs on the other end of the line, telling Daffy how he can get his job back, and the screen splits in the middle to show the conversation between them. In a bit that’d probably make Tex Avery smile, Daffy and Bugs push the divider across the screen throughout this entire conversation, each one trying to gain the most screen space. This movie doesn’t just break the fourth wall, it tears it down and spits on it. The gist of the conversation is that Daffy doesn’t want his job back, since he’s headed to Las Vegas to get his hands on that diamond. Before hanging up, he adds “It’s a little adventure I call Daffy Duck’s Quest for the Blue Monkey!”

Helpfully, this conversation contained just enough exposition, because the camera pulls out into space to reveal that the whole call has been traced by an ominous satellite orbiting the earth. This little satellite is apparently also equipped with a camera, as we cut to a huge bald-headed thug watching DJ’s Gremlin and listening to the intercepted call. The thug lumbers down a green-lit and smoke-filled hallway (giving me more Batman and Robin flashbacks), and the movie straps us down and smacks us upside the head with another useless cameo as we realize this guy, identified in the credits as Mr. Smith, is played by professional wrestler Bill Goldberg. But this is nothing compared to the awesome celebrity power we’re about to witness.

Mr. Smith...oh, hell, I’ll just call him Goldberg...anyway, he enters a steel-colored boardroom with the word ACME rotating outside its huge plate glass window. A guy in a large wingback chair lisps about how something is “unacceptable”, and he leaps to his feet to reveal that he’s a thoroughly embarrassed Steve Martin [!!!] playing the closest thing this movie has to a villain, the Acme Chairman. I barely even recognized this as Mr. Arrow Head himself, since he’s pretty heavily obscured by slicked-down hair, huge geek glasses, and high water pants with visible socks. Basically, imagine Long Duk Dong as a supervillain. Man, between this and Bringing Down the House, 2003 was not a very good year for Steve.

Mr. Acme goes on about how the ACME Sneaker factory is losing money by employing 9-year-olds in their sweatshops, when “3-year-olds work for so much less”. So I’m guessing this guy is supposed to be evil. Goldberg sidles up and whispers something in the Chairman’s ear, which apparently delights him, as he directs his board’s attention to the video screen. And thus begins this movie’s unfunny running gag, wherein the Chairman can never figure out how his video screen works. He fumbles meaninglessly with a couple of remote controls, as the screen displays static, then a test pattern, and then a clip from Tex Avery’s early Merrie Melodie “I Love to Singa” [!]. I take back what I said about Avery enjoying this film - I doubt he’d sit well with one of his masterpieces being used as part of such a lame gag as this.

The screen finally displays DJ’s car, and the Chairman exposits that DJ knows about “the Blue Monkeah”, and that he’s on his way to “Lath Vegath”. And yes, that’s really how he pronounces them. I would think a comedian as esteemed as Steve Martin would know the difference between acting and community theater rejection, but shows what I know. It’s unbelievable how much the guy’s mugging here, and I can only guess this direction was taken so that the villain wouldn’t be any sort of real threat. This is a kids’ movie, after all, and bad guys in kids’ movies always have to be bumbling morons. It’s some kind of law in Hollywood, I think.

The screen briefly cuts to a couple of ACME thugs beating up Damian Drake, who’s tied to a chair. Well, they’re supposed to be beating him up, but he’s kicking the snot out of them with his unbound legs. So everyone in the ACME company is incompetent, then. Way to kill any suspense this movie might have had.

Mr. Acme turns his screen off (after more unnecessary fumbling) and blathers about how they must “capture this son-of-a-spy” and keep him from obtaining the Blue Monkey. And all the while, he’s hopping and twitching worse than Torgo ever did, and almost falls over backwards when he lets out an overblown maniacal laugh. I hate this movie’s villain, but not for the reasons that they want me to.

One ACME executive takes down what the Chairman just said, and he reminds her to include the laugh. “Because I like the laugh, don’t you?” I honestly can’t believe this is the same guy who was in Three Amigos. He gets Lady Executive’s name - Mary, for the record - and then hits on her in the lamest way possible. Seriously, all he says is “How’d you like to do a little kissin’ later?”, and yet Mary reacts like Carrie-Ann meeting Dalton for the first time. Considering this woman looks to be in her mid-50s, this is probably the best she’ll ever do.

The camera pulls out of the office, but zips back in when another executive asks a question. This executive is revealed by his nameplate to be the “VP of Rhetorical Questions” (a-hyuk-hyuk), and he inquires “What about the duck?” To which the Chairman leans in close and hisses “Extra crispy!” Sorry, but I don’t fear for Daffy’s well-being in the least here. I mean, really, what does it say about a Looney Tunes movie when the live action villain is more of a cartoon than the animated stars?

Back at the old Drake place, Kate has arrived in search of her much-needed duck. (By the way, we see a taxi backing out of the driveway as she comes in the front door, so I believe it’s to be implied that the Alfa Romeo really was hers. You can all sleep soundly tonight.) She cautiously enters, observing that nobody appears to be home, and calls out to DJ (how does she know his name? Did he almost run her over once too?), assuring him that she’s not here to fire him again, even though I doubt she’s the one who fired him in the first place. Something tells me the VP of Comedy doesn’t have authority over studio security.

Kate hears something behind one of the doors and slowly opens it, revealing...the bathroom. With the shower running and the curtain closed. And ominous trilling violins on the soundtrack. Oh boy, who wants to guess where this is headed?

Yep, sure enough, she yanks back the shower curtain, and there’s Bugs (in black and white, to boot) who does an all-too-predictable parody of Janet Leigh’s death scene from Psycho, screaming his fuzzy little head off while Kate rolls her eyes in exasperation. Finally, the rabbit keels over and pours a can of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup down the drain. See, Hershey’s syrup was what Alfred Hitchcock used to simulate blood in the shower scene, since it wasn’t going to be in color anyway. Which means we’ve just had another in-joke shoved down our throats. Hope you’re hungry, ‘cause there’s still plenty more where that came from!

Kate, who’s understandably just as fed up with all these lazy meta-references as I am, storms off down the hallway, where she finds a wall lined with Damian Drake movie posters and realizes she just laid off the son of Warner Bros.’ biggest star. So I guess she does have the authority to fire security guards. Quite a strange pecking order they’ve got at this studio, I must admit. Kate starts talking to herself about what a crappy day she’s having, while Bugs inexplicably eavesdrops from inside a coat of armor that’s randomly at the end of the hall. Noticing Bugs’ presence, Kate turns on the crocodile tears to earn Bugs’ sympathy. Why? I have no clue. She mentions that she got into a big fight with Bugs, but if she’s talking about the spat they had in the commissary, that doesn’t seem to have been much of a factor in their working relationship. Bugs falls for it anyway, though, asiding to the audience that “I hate to see a grown man cry...’specially when it’s a girl.”

Bugs reveals where Daffy and DJ are headed, then proposes that they “travel in style” via Damian’s spy car. Wait, what? How did Bugs know about that? And for that matter, what was he doing at the house in the first place? And why do I have this sneaking suspicion that there’s a freaking scene missing from the final cut of this thing? It’s either that or slipshod writing, and with this movie, either one seems like a likely candidate.

Kate and Bugs hop in the car, which is voice-activated for the plot’s convenience and roars out of the garage with such force that it rips Sylvester’s fur off next door. Next thing you know, they’re on the same highway that DJ and Daffy were just on, while Bugs sings along to the recording of Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” that’s blaring away on the soundtrack, while strumming a ukulele. Kate loses her temper and throws the ukulele out the window. Hey, maybe it landed next to Lenny Luthor’s drumsticks.

Bugs starts futzing around with the buttons on the dashboard, even though Kate tells him not to. Lady, nobody tells Bugs Bunny what to do. One button causes a missile to shoot out of the back of the car, blowing up something in the distance, while another one pours a martini and even adds a little carrot in the glass. Quite convenient that the car somehow knew that this drink was for Bugs and had the foresight to garnish it with his favorite vegetable. Bugs takes the martini, rationalizing “Oh well, it’s 5:00 somewhere.” Bugs is such a badass.

Finally, Kate tries to slap Bugs’ hands away from the buttons and accidentally activates the “Auto Valet” feature, which causes mechanical arms to pop out of the dashboard and dress Kate and Bugs in an evening gown and tuxedo, respectively. Boy, good thing they weren’t sitting in the opposite seats. That would have been awkward.
:bugs2: This post is intended for adult collectors and may contain material that is unsuitable for younger children. :daffy:


User avatar
Brandon Panther
Posts: 3277
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:00 am
Location: At my home.

Postby Brandon Panther » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:03 pm

Great job so far. I'll tackle the next scenes later after I get off work. Thank you for your help.
Bugs reveals where Daffy and DJ are headed, then proposes that they “travel in style” via Damian’s spy car. Wait, what? How did Bugs know about that? And for that matter, what was he doing at the house in the first place? And why do I have this sneaking suspicion that there’s a freaking scene missing from the final cut of this thing? It’s either that or slipshod writing, and with this movie, either one seems like a likely candidate.

I know for a fact, that the "psycho-shower" scene was one of the last scenes filmed for the movie. There exists a still frame from an alternate version of Kate and Bugs in DJ's father's house, where Kate finds Bugs in apot of boiling water (for reasons unknown, and I don't recall if the screenplay drafts on that one website say so). This still frame was released as one of many publicity photos, and was also included in the junior novelization.

Also, Joe Alaskey was unnavailable to record Bugs' line "Doesn't anyone knock anymore?" so Eric Goldberg did that line. Note that Bugs' voice is somewhat nasal during that part, so the animators staged the scene so that when Bugs said the line, his face would be pressed up against the floor, and it would seem more natural.

I don't know for certain, but I believe Goldberg may have done the "What's up Doc?" for Bugs when he enters the WB boardroom. If you listen very closely you can kinda tell that's not Alaskey doing the line.
My DeviantArt Page
"I must defend the remarkable prescience of the Hanna-Barbera writers. In the early 1960s, they dreamed up a futuristic world that seemed impossibly beyond our reach. Their creativity predicted the microwave oven, slide walks, smart phones and robot teachers. All these inventions are now routine realities of the 21st century." - Janet Waldo (LA Times, 2011)

User avatar
The "Chase"
Posts: 1726
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:00 pm
Location: I'll tell you in 5 years.

what I miss?

Postby The "Chase" » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:22 pm

Wow, I'm really enjoying this so far. Good job J.B. and Brandon, and Brandon, I'm glad you got J.B. for this. It really shows.

Oh, and I have something to say. I'm still involved in this, but since there's no way in hell I can write stuff like this (for various reasons), I've decided to write the witty captions for whenever the pictures show up for this (you know, whenever a picture is shown, a witty caption is shown at the bottom). Hey, witty captions is easier for me, and besides, I need my 30 seconds of fame (really, I do).

So, I can't wait to see where this is going. It's really going to be a rollercoaster ride for me (thankfully, no loops).

User avatar
J. B. Warner
Posts: 1794
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:57 am
Location: Anywhere you're not

Postby J. B. Warner » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:38 pm

Sounds good to me! And I'd be willing to pitch in a caption or two as well - I enjoy coming up with 'em.

Here's my page five...

-------------------------------------------------

Fade to early evening, whereupon DJ’s sputtering Gremlin finally makes it to Las Vegas. We get enough shots of the strip to make me think that I’ve suddenly switched to an episode of “CSI”, except that one casino bears the neon likeness of Yosemite Sam. Fittingly enough, it’s called Yosemite Sam’s Wooden Nickel, and the sign out front proudly proclaims “Tonight at the Corral: Dusty Tails”. So we’ve finally found our next plot point, and the story (such as it is) can continue to unfold. Or maybe “collapse” would be a better adjective.

Daffy and DJ enter the casino, with DJ on the lookout and Daffy saying more unfunny things about spies and money and senior citizens. The camera loses interest in them (and I don’t blame it) and swoops up to Yosemite Sam’s office, where the Acme Chairman - oh God, not him again - is on a video screen. He informs Sam and Goldberg, who’s there for some reason, not to let DJ and the duck escape.

And then part of my soul dies. Because as the transmission ends, Yosemite Sam turns around, and he talks. And sweet merciful crap, it’s the worst Yosemite Sam voice I’ve ever heard. Believe me, I’ve seen just about every Looney Tunes production made after Mel Blanc’s 1989 passing, and while few have been able to match Blanc’s hellfire delivery for Sam, this is easily the furthest from the mark they’ve ever landed. For the record, Sam’s voice is being done here by Jeff Glenn Bennett, whom animation folks might remember as Bendy from that one really awful episode of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”. Suffice to say, Sam is way out of his range.

Anyway, Sam wants to know what’s in it for him, and Goldberg opens a treasure chest filled with gold [???]. Sam eyes it greedily, until Goldberg slams the lid down on his head a few times. And as Sam screams, it becomes even more evident that Bennett was the wrong man for this job. Honestly, why didn’t they use Joe Alaskey? He’s already pulling triple duty in this movie as Bugs, Daffy, and Sylvester, and he did a pretty decent Sam on “Tiny Toon Adventures”. Again, I guess this is why I’m not employed at Warner Bros. Yet.

Back on the casino floor, DJ and Daffy gather around what I presume is the corral, as Foghorn Leghorn works the stage and introduces Dusty Tails. Dusty herself is lowered from the ceiling on a swing, dressed in the stereotypical “ah do declare” Southern Belle costume. Oh, and she’s played by Heather Locklear. I’d call this another pointless cameo, except that Dusty actually has a bearing on the plot. You lucked out, Heather.

Then this movie tries to make the most of its PG rating as Dusty rips off her dress, revealing a leather bustier and miniskirt underneath as she breaks into “If You Want It To Be Good, Boy (Get Yourself a Bad Girl)”. I do believe this is a gender-swapped rewrite of a Backstreet Boys song, which means this movie’s sunk even lower than I previously thought. To add a little bit of WTF-ness, Dusty’s joined for this number by a group of midgets in Yosemite Sam costumes [!!] who parade around the stage on hobby horses chanting “Bad girl, bad girl” [!!!]. I think they’re mostly there to distract from the fact that Heather Locklear can neither sing nor dance her way out of a wet paper bag.

DJ knows he needs to talk to this girl (and, more importantly, stop her from singing), so he rushes backstage and tries to grab her attention while she’s in the middle of her dance. Naturally, she ignores the hell out of him. So he grabs one of the midgets, there are crashing noises heard backstage, and DJ suddenly dances onstage wearing the Yosemite Sam costume. And as always in the movies, it’s a perfect fit on him, even though he’s more than twice the height of the man it was meant for. Isn’t the point of a live action/animated film to show the contrast between the rules of the two universes?

DJ dances with her a while and convinces her that he is in fact Damian Drake’s son. One “beeowhup” later, they’re in Dusty’s dressing room, where Daffy demands that she hand over the Blue Monkey. Dusty asks “You brought a goose?” You know, even in a world where his fanbase is limited to basement-dwelling losers, I’d think that at least most people would recognize Daffy Duck when they saw him.

On the main floor, Yosemite Sam slaps around two of his cronies, informing them of their mission (in short, “git the varmints and what they come fer”). And Joe Dante cranks up the cameometer again, as these animated thugs are Nasty Canasta from “Drip-Along Daffy” and Cottontail Smith from “Super Rabbit”. I’m honestly surprised they weren’t also able to work Colonel Shuffle from “Mississippi Hare” into this sequence.

Back in the dressing room, Daffy turns the place upside-down looking for the diamond while Dusty changes behind one of those old changing accordion things. DJ stands with his back to her and tries to make small talk while hiding the fact that he’s obviously very excited to be here, if you know what I mean. Dusty explains that she’s also a spy, specifically a trained assassin (DJ nearly explodes here), and that her showgirl gig is just a cover. She adds “it’s really difficult to juggle the two”, and she’s referring to her jobs, you perverts.

Dusty finally emerges from behind the panel dressed in a shiny black rubber bodysuit that I honestly didn’t think you could get away with in a family film. As Daffy asks, “How many galoshes died to make that little number?” Dusty goes on to exposit that the Blue Monkey is a diamond with supernatural powers, and that it was Damian’s job to grab it before the Acme Chairman did. She also mentions that she was supposed to supply Damian with a playing card, which apparently only looks like an ordinary Queen of Diamonds. Daffy grabs it and gripes that “This is no giant diamond!” No, really? DJ offers to take it, but like any sensible human being, Dusty doesn’t trust this guy in the least. She informs him that “These evil forces [are] bad people.” Tune in next week for another thrilling installment of Stating the Obvious Theatre!

Daffy randomly opens the door and finds Sam, Canasta, and Cottontail on the other side with a lit cannon aimed at him. DJ dives on Dusty (since he needed an excuse) and pushes her out of harm’s way as the cannon explodes, with the cannonball propelling Daffy through the other girls’ dressing rooms. And sure enough, he zips back in to give a wolf whistle at the ladies before flying off again. Stop stealing from better cartoons, movie! Daffy smashes into a fire extinguisher, which bursts in a cloud of foam. And since the “Fire Extinguisher” sign is barely visible at the top of the screen, I actually had to freeze-frame this in order to see what the hell just happened. I wonder if I can sue this movie for whiplash.

DJ takes off with the card as Sam and his baddies give chase. Dusty manages to slow down Canasta and Cottontail thanks to a couple of punches to the face and gut, and tosses her hair triumphantly as they go down for the count. And that’s the last we’ll see of Heather Locklear in this movie. You know, maybe she was just another cameo after all.

DJ grabs Daffy out of the fire extinguisher as Sam runs after him, but the diminutive cowboy doesn’t get three steps in before slipping on a banana peel[?]. Naturally, he shoots at it, growling “Dad-burned slapstick cliché!” I gotta say, this movie’s got a lot of nerve making fun of comedy clichés when it’s guilty of executing so many of them itself.

Duck and dork escape to the second floor of the casino, where DJ runs smack-dab into Cottontail Smith’s fist. The two engage in some generic movie fistfighting, and DJ finally manages to drop him, only to be attacked by Nasty Canasta charging up the stairs. Daffy shouts words of encouragement, like “Bite his ear!” You know, the Mike Tyson/Evander Holyfield fight happened...what, six years before this movie? Not exactly as up-to-date as the Finding Nemo joke. Anyway, DJ totally kicks Canasta’s ass, and then knocks Cottontail clean over the balcony ledge with one punch. Why didn’t this guy pass his stuntman audition again?

Oh right, ‘cause he can’t actually take a hit. Canasta socks him one, then yanks the Queen of Diamonds out of his pocket. DJ then knees Canasta in the crotch [!!!! That’s the first time that gag’s ever been used in a Looney Tunes production, I can tell you that much], causing the card to flutter away and land on a chandelier. Attempting to replicate his stunt from the beginning of the movie, DJ dives after it...and lands flat on a table below, just like last time.

Actually, this time it’s noteworthy, ‘cause Joe Dante cranks the cameos up to 11 as DJ lands right in the middle of a Looney replication of that C.M. Coolidge painting of dogs playing poker. At the table are Charlie Dog, Spike and Chester, the Barnyard Dawg, the Mad Russian Dog from “Hare Ribbin’”, and (for the really obscure Looney Tunes fanatics) Ham and Ex from “I Haven’t Got a Hat”. Hell, I’m one of the biggest Looney Tunes fans there is, and even I’m getting sick of this. If Dante winks at me any harder, his eye’s gonna fall out.

The playing card floats down into the proceedings of the casino, ever-so-conveniently getting sucked into the card shuffler at a blackjack table. Fortunately, it’s the only red-backed card in the deck, so the tension really isn’t that high. Again. Foghorn Leghorn is the croupier (wait, wasn’t he just the emcee?), and DJ and Sam approach the table, both desperate to nab the card. DJ immediately says “Hit me”, causing Foghorn to ask why he doesn’t look at his card first, then asiding to the audience that the “boy’s about as sharp as a bowling ball”. I think we all knew that already. DJ keeps asking for more “Hit mes”, getting nothing but aces and 2's, and driving Sam crazy. “No, no, no! Hit ME, dagnabbit!”

I’ll give you all a moment to ponder about where this gag could possibly be going.

Thinking? Good. Take your time.

All right, time’s up. If you guessed that Foghorn takes out a 2x4 and whops Sam in the head, squashing him down into a mustachioed pancake, congratulations! You’re officially smarter than this film’s hero! Although that’s not hard to accomplish, I admit.

DJ asks for one more “Hit me” and finally gets his Queen of Diamonds, so he and Daffy can finally haul ass out of the casino. They hightail it into the Gremlin and prepare their daring escape...and as soon as DJ turns the ignition key, the car sputters and completely falls apart. Wow, talk about faulty auto maintenance. Hope somebody signed up with Geico!

Sam bursts out of the casino, taking time to stop and kiss a rug with his picture on it [??], and DJ and Daffy take off on foot. Then...oh, for God's sake, not another friggin’ cameo! This time it’s Jeff Gordon [!!!], informing a valet to pick up his car (“a modified Chevrolet with a big 24 on the side”, yuk yuk). And to add to the ridiculousness, Gordon’s in full NASCAR uniform, complete with the helmet under his arm. This movie might be more likeable if it actually made a lick of sense. Anyway, the car pulls up, and Sam basically carjacks Jeff Gordon on the spot, as Canasta and Cottontail dive in through the passenger window (Cottontail even yells “Shotgun!”).

Meanwhile, Kate and Bugs (remember them?) have finally arrived on the strip, wondering how they’ll find DJ and Daffy among the crowd. And sure enough, Daffy leaps in front of the car and gets splattered on the windshield as Bugs emits that perfect trailer-capping line, “Daff never misses a cue!” DJ peels Daffy off the windshield and chucks him in the backseat, then is shocked to find Kate at the wheel. Which leads to this sparkling exchange...

DJ: You!
Kate: You!
Daffy: You!
Bugs: Him!
Daffy: Her!
Bugs/Daffy: Them!

Me!

Sam and friends are still hot on their trail, driving Jeff Gordon’s car through a t-shirt kiosk and somehow emerging wearing said t-shirts. I’m not gonna ask this time. DJ peels out in the spy car, while Kate shrieks and Daffy tries to shove Bugs out the window, insisting that “This is my adventure!” Thus begins the stereotypical car chase. I suppose it wouldn’t be a lame spy movie parody without one. Kate yells at DJ for stealing her duck, to which DJ snaps back “You know what, you can have him!” See, they still hate each other at this point. It’ll be a while before they fall vaguely in love.

The race car pulls up beside them, and Nasty Canasta leans out the window and lights a stick of dynamite. Kate is completely bamboozled by the notion that a cartoon character would be armed with dynamite. And she’s been the VP of Comedy for how long? DJ loses the baddies by driving backwards down a gridlocked side street (look, he just does, okay?), and Sam tells Canasta to throw the dynamite out the window anyway. Canasta and Cottontail protest, throwing out such soccer mom concerns as “Innocent people could get hurt!” and “It’ll send the wrong message to children!” Naturally, the dynamite detonates inside the car and they get blown up real good. Joe Dante 2, political correctness 0!

Through various driving convolutions that I’m not at liberty to care about, Sam somehow ends up in front of DJ, chasing him down a dead end alley. Bugs calmly and smugly points out that they’re about to meet their horrible, fiery deaths (Bugs does just about everything calmly and smugly in this movie, in case it isn’t obvious). And as usual, Daffy can only squeak “Mother!”

Remember how the spy car was voice activated for plot convenience’s sake? Well, now it’s even more convenient, as a monitor flips out of the dashboard and an upper-crust British voice announces “Taking you to Mother!” Rocket engines suddenly sprout out of the back of the car and send it airborne, up the side of the building and into the night sky. Of course, Sam keeps going and crashes through the wall...which happens to deposit his car very noisily onto the main stage of his own casino, sending dancers and patrons fleeing for their lives. Oh, for fun! Sam himself flies out into a darkened room, where he lights a match to see where he is. Of course, since this movie rips off about half its gags from its source material, the room is filled with TNT. Why there would be a storeroom of TNT in a casino is never explained, but the point is that it explodes, propelling Sam into the stratosphere. The best part of this sequence is that it means I don’t have to hear Sam talk anymore.

To the strains of Michael Bublé’s cover of “Come Fly With Me”, DJ flies the car over Las Vegas and towards Mother, whoever that is. Kate asks what he plans to do now, and DJ assures all concerned parties that he can handle things. And no sooner does he say this than he actually puts the damn car in park. How this guy can be the son of a super spy is beyond me, unless maybe intelligence skips a generation in the Drake family.

The car plummets wildly towards the earth, with everyone inside screaming their heads off - except Daffy, who whips out his cell phone and shouts “Sell all my Warner Bros. stock! I got an inside tip that Bugs Bunny is about to die!” Almost 45 minutes in, and this movie finally made me laugh. I knew it had to happen eventually.

Anyway, falling, screaming, falling, screaming, and...oh no they didn’t.

Oh yes they did. The car stops dead in midair about two feet above the ground, and Bugs muses “Huh! Out of gas!” Any Looney Tunes fan can tell you that this is the most brazen pilfering of a classic Looney Tunes gag yet - they just ripped off the ending to Bob Clampett’s World War II-era classic “Falling Hare”, for God’s sake. Well, okay, they did put a spin on it - Kate protests that “It doesn’t work like that!” and the car falls the remaining two feet to earth, crunching its hood on the desert floor.

So let’s take stock here. DJ is an idiot. Kate is an idiot. Daffy is as annoying as all get out. And Bugs is a smug b*st*rd. Is there anyone in this movie that I’m allowed to like?
:bugs2: This post is intended for adult collectors and may contain material that is unsuitable for younger children. :daffy:


User avatar
The "Chase"
Posts: 1726
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:00 pm
Location: I'll tell you in 5 years.

I don't love that rug...

Postby The "Chase" » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:15 pm

Say J.B., how many times did you see this movie now and then? Because I must say, I really enjoyed that fifth part. Can't wait for the next scene! But I do wonder on how you're going to match wits with Daffy's speech on the next part, though.

Personally, Sam's voice didn't bother me (but even as a 10 year old, I knew Jeff didn't even try to match Mel's voice). And to be quite honest (I wished you mentioned this), I did like the joke "I don't even know the meaning of the word fear" "Fear, noun, a state of terror!" I gotta admit, that's kinda clever. Also, I don't know why you thought that stock line is funny (I mean, it was part of your Toon Zone signature).

All in all, thumbs up so far!


Return to “The Termite Terrace Trading Post”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 31 guests