July 27th, 2005

hoard potato, tv, movies

Sometimes "Classic" Just Means "Old".

I've got BOOMERANG playing in the background, half-listening to their Looney Tunes hour. They just finished one of the Road Runner cartoons from the '60s, after Warner farmed everything out to DePatie-Freling and Format Films.

The Format Films Road Runners are sooooooooo cheap. The animation is shoddy, the music is terrible, and the gags are tired. They're a pale imitation of the work Chuck Jones did at Termite Terrace. And the music -- oh, sweet Maud Gonne, the music! After the witty, snappy orchestral scores of Carl Stalling, that tinny, repetitive canned cacaphony is agonizing, especially when you just have it on as background noise. In a dialogue-free Road Runner cartoon that you're not actually watching, all you have is the music. It's... not pleasant.

The lack of dialogue is a mixed blessing, I suppose. Yes, it underscores the painful mediocrity of the score -- but at least we're spared the talky, static, unfunny tedium of the DePatie-Freling Looney Tunes of the same period. The "blackout gag" format (ahem) of the Road Runner series is pretty robust, and they at least tried to sustain some level of physical comedy. Even so... they're crap. Surrounding these cheap bits of hackwork with the real classics does them no favors.

You know, recently, everyone was up in arms about the "reimagination" of the Looney Tunes stars into the "Loonatics", a far-flung future superhero spoofs featuring sleek, stylized, oil-slick-black characters whose resemblance to the "reimagined" protagonist of Batman Beyond was surely not accidental. "This is going to ruin the franchise!" they howled. "It desecrates our beloved icons!" (As if Loonatics were somehow worse than Tiny Toon Aventures or Baby Looney Tunes...)

Boys and girls, if "our beloved icons" could survive the staggering, gasping tail end of their own "classic" phase, ain't no Buzz Bunny gonna ruin'em.
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    nauseated *bloork*