I grew up watching Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes characters. When I was a kid, I used to watch them every Saturday morning and frankly, I never stopped. Well, sure there are times when I would get a bit too busy for cartoons (even on the weekends) but I've always been a fan of Looney Tunes. I think this is mainly because the cartoons aren't really made for kids. Sure, kids can enjoy them, but many of the situations good old Bugs and the rest of gang found themselves in were better understood by adults. Suffice it to say, since Looney Tunes started showing up on DVD (and now Blu-ray), I've been adding them to my video collection. So, when Warner Bros. released the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1, I had to have it.
Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1
There are actually two versions of this title: a regular Blu-ray edition and an Ultimate Collector's Edition (of course, I opted for Ultimate). Both editions contain the same Blu-ray book and discs. The Ultimate edition adds the following collectible items: collectible glass featuring Bugs Bunny; souvenir tin sign magnet featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck; framed litho-cel featuring Looney Tunes characters; and a certificate of authenticity. The Ultimate edition is also limited and numbered with only 36,000 being made.
The first two discs in the package contain 50 of the most famous shorts, with disc three containing additional bonus content (see below). Disc one contains 25 shorts covering the more famous characters including: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Tweety, Sylvester, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, and Foghorn Leghorn. Disc two contains another 25 shorts featuring one-shot classics as well as complete collections of the following short-run characters: Marvin the Martian, the Tasmanian Devil, Witch Hazel, Ralph Philips, and Marc Anthony (the bulldog).
The Blu-ray book comes with a beautifully decorated hardcover containing disc holders inside the front and back covers. Between these are 56 full-color pages containing rare images and a cartoon guide by historian Jerry Beck. Pages 1 through 11 provide an informative introduction. Pages 12 through 25 include detailed descriptions of all the shorts on disc one as well as the bonus content on this disc, plus rare sketch art from many of the episodes. Pages 26 through 45 cover the contents of disc two. Pages 46 through 56 cover the bonus content on disc three with brief mentions of the included bonus cartoons on this disc.
Looney Tunes in High Definition
Warner Bros. did an excellent job at transferring these old cartoons to high definition. The key word in that last sentence is "old" because while the transfers are excellent, you're still getting the anomalies from the original print. For example, some of the shorts are very grainy while others are not. However, there are absolutely no artifacts (aliasing, banding, etc.) from the transfer itself. The colors are beautiful and vibrant (and only slightly muted on some of the oldest shorts).
Now when it comes to the audio, I know some fans might be disappointed that it’s Dolby Digital rather than lossless. But can you honestly tell me that you would be able to tell the difference? I am a professional musician and audio engineer and I'm sure I couldn't differentiate between the two. You have to remember that these are old cartoons and the original audio was created using a lower-quality fidelity. Simply transferring lower-quality audio to a higher-quality format does not improve the quality of the original audio. So Dolby Digital is more than enough to represent the original audio tracks.
Looney Tunes Bonus Features Extravaganza
This title is loaded with bonus features… not only do discs one and two provide their own supplements, but disc three is nothing but bonuses. Collectors and fans will enjoy no less than 37 different audio commentaries. Some of the commentaries include musings from the master, Chuck Jones. Others feature the great Mel Blanc. In addition, you'll hear from various historians who explain the content of the shorts and where some of the storylines originated. There are also some alternate audio programs that are not commentaries but variations on the short's audio track such as music-only tracks or voice-over tracks that are fascinating to hear.
On disc one the bonus features include: Wagerian Wabbit: The Making of "What's Opera Doc?" (making of the aforementioned short); Powerhouse in Pictures (a quick scene montage from different shorts); A Chuck Jones Tutorial: Tricks of the Cartoon Trade (a nice featurette talking about how cartoons were made); Twilight in Tunes: The Music of Raymond Scott (a discussion of the composer's music); Putty Problems and Canary Rows (a quick look at how Sylvester and Tweetie came to be); The Charm of Stink: On the Scent of Pepe Le Pew (a quick look at where the charming skunk originated).
On disc two the bonus features include: It Hopped One Night: The Story Behind "One Froggy Night" (the where, why, and how Froggy was born); Mars Attacks! Life on the Red Planet with My Favorite Martian (how Marvin was born out of the times when the space race was on and fears of UFOs haunted the USA); The Ralph Phillips Story: Living the American Daydream (the background story about this miscellaneous character); Wacky Warner One-Shots (a look at some of the one-shot shorts born out of the necessity for new characters); Razzma-Taz: Giving the Tazmanian Devil His Due (an in-depth look at the origins of Taz).
Disc three is comprised entirely of bonus features including: A Greeting from Chuck Jones (a brief introduction from the man himself about how Looney Tunes was born); Chuck Amuck: The Movie (an almost hour long documentary about the life and career of Chuck Jones); Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens A Life in Animation (another documentary with an hour and a half of content partly about Jones, but mainly about Looney Tunes and how it originated as well as how it progressed and came to be so popular); Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood (sort of an animated look at the history and childhood of Chuck Jones); 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' Pencil Test (a quick, rare look at this animated special during production); 'The Door' (an animated cartoon against the war produced by Bill Cosby); The Animated World of Chuck Jones (an hour and a half of rare, miscellaneous cartoons directed by Chuck Jones, with some produced for specific purposes for the U.S. government); Bonus Cartoons (a little over an hour of cartoon bonuses comprised of nine shorts featuring various Looney Tunes characters).
That's All Folks! For Now…
As if the phrase "That's All Folks!" could really sum up the sheer quantity and quality of this title… The Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 is packed not only with 50 of the best cartoon shorts ever created and displayed in high definition, but literally hours of bonuses including rare cartoons that many people have never seen. And for collector's, the Ultimate edition provides that added touch of collectible items and limited number run. I am definitely looking forward to what Warner has in store for Volume 2, but in the meantime I have plenty of Looney Tunes content to enjoy. If you're a Looney Tunes fan or just a fan of cartoon animation in general, I know you'll enjoy this Collection as well. For more information, visit warnerbros.com.
Additional information: Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1