Published on November 17th, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Looney Tunes: Back in Action
The negative press that has been surrounding the latest live-action Looney Tunes movie has been astounding in recent months. Rumor has it that pre-screening audience really didn’t like the film, and after the debauchery that was Space Jam, did anyone really want to see Warner Bros. destroy the prized Tunes franchise anymore? Luckily almost nothing is true on the web with so many fraudulent tipsters and bogus information. Who knows if rumors are actually worth even reporting anymore?
Regardless of the pre-release buzz, or lack thereof, Looney Tunes: Back in Action proves that Warner Bros. can make a very funny film by combining the aspects of animated characters and live actors. Back in Action is a humorous, sharp-tongued satire on the movie industry as a whole which has Warner Bros. poking fun at itself, other studios, and blatant product placement in films.
After Daffy Duck is fired from his job at Warner he runs-amok on the lot until a stuntman-wannabe, security guard, DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser) captures him, only to lose his job, and pick up a new annoyance, in the form of Daffy. When Kate’s (Jenna Elfman), the VP of Comedy, job is threatened by the firing of Daffy she sets out on a quest, with Bugs, of course, to track Daffy down and stumbles into the evil ACME Chairman’s (Steve Martin) plan to sell shoddy merchandise. The story isn’t much to get in to, and certainly won’t win any screenwriting awards, but most notably is Timothy Dalton who plays a parody of himself in the James Bond movies as a spy named Damien Drake who portrays a spy in movies as a cover.
Where Space Jam actually tried to infuse some ridiculous motive to bringing a live action “actor,” and I use that term loosely when referring to Michael Jordan, into the mix, Back in Action has a really loose story that brings in many of your favorite characters for cameos with Bugs and Daffy taking on the key roles.
The most admirable thing about Warner’s handling of this film is they didn’t bring in a bunch of characters just for the sake of brining in characters. The script allows for different characters to appear at different and very appropriate times, and for the sake of sanity, no one is playing basketball. Yosemite Sam owns a casino; the Coyote and Tasmanian Devil are agents for ACME, and Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzales are regulated to making fun of the current P.C. situation in America.
But everything else aside, Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a genuinely funny film that I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong on basing my preliminary beliefs on that unfounded press I spoke of above. Even the actors make fun of themselves with Brendan Fraser getting in a few cracks about his role in the Mummy films, and Matthew Lillard getting a few pointers from the real Shaggy and Scooby. In all respects, this is one giant licensing vehicle for the WB and their upcoming pallet of films.
Sure the acting is bad, the story is laughable, but it is a story that will make you laugh. It’s nice to see the cartoons updated for present day and put in some precarious positions that allow for the films writers to go out and make a film worthy of the Looney Tunes name. Forget about Space Jam and welcome Back in Action as the savior of the big-screen Tunes adventures.