December 6, 2006

DVD Review: Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas

I admit, it has been some time since I dug out any of my Golden Collections of Looney Tunes shorts, but I have a great affinity for the classic Warner characters. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and others like a couple of my favorites, Taz and Marvin the Martian. The thing with the Warner characters is that whenever they try to do something new with any of them, the end result is ultimately a letdown, take Looney Tunes Back in Action for example. I am pleased to report that Bah, Humduck! is nowhere near that level, even if it doesn't reach the classic predecessors of those older shorts.

If you couldn't guess, this is a take off on the classic Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. This version features Daffy Duck as the Scrooge of this tale. He is the owner of the Lucky Duck department store, and he rules with an iron fist. He is out to make as much money as possible, taking advantage of the season. His Bob Cratchit is Porky Pig as the assistant manager, while the rest of the store is staffed with a roster of Warner characters, Marvin to Speedy Gonzalez to Elmer Fudd, to Wile E. Coyote. Meanwhile, Bugs Bunny plays a character that doesn't correspond to a Dickens character, but is always present to add a little bit of levity during Daffy's journey of self discovery.

The story is familiar enough that I shouldn't have to go through the plot of the piece. It has had so many iterations that we all should know it, even if we have not read it. The fun lies in the execution and inventiveness with whatever gimmick that it is saddled with. In this case, they layer in as many of the Warner classics as they can. That gives it a little fun as you try to recognize all of the cameos that wind their way through the narrative.

It is easy to have fun with this one, especially if you have any cartoon loving, sugar munching, kids in the vicinity to add some running commentary. Despite it being easy to enjoy, it is not a project without its problems. The biggest among them is the voice acting. Some of the voices just don't sound right, nobody has ever been able to replicate what Mel Blanc was able to do. Bugs, in particular just doesn't sound right, he is vocied here by Billy West (Buster Bunny of Tiny Toons and The Crypt Keeper of Tales from the Crypt).

The animation is very nice. They are able to capture the look of the characters, and the general animation style of the old shorts, but still take advantage of modern techniques. The movie is crisp and clean and looks fantastic, not a spot to be seen. Of course, this was most likely a digital to digital transfer. The colors are bright and well defined and is a joy to watch.

Besides the enjoyable nature of the movie, the music is very good. The score combines music that wouldn't be out of place in the old shorts, with jazzy renditions of familiar Christmas carols. The music only adds to the fun here.

  • Bah, Humduck! The Lucky Duck Challenge. This is a DVD game where the remote is used to guide Daffy through his store so he can count his money. Fun for the kids for a few minutes.
  • Deleted Scenes. Nearly five minutes of scenes cut from the movie, they don't really add much and probably could have been left in with no change in quality.
  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band Bah, Humduck! This is a music video setting the jazzy score to performance in the studio and clips from the movie.
  • Trailers. Lots of kids trailers to be found.

Bottomline. Gorgeous looking and sounding, this is a mildly entertaining holiday diversion that makes slight misuse of some characters but doesn't sully their image. Sure to be a crowd pleaser for the kids, this is one to check out.



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