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Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, Volume 1

Blu-Ray Review by Jon Cooke

dvd cover
Own it now on Blu-Ray


The classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies have made their inevitable debut on the Blu-Ray format with Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, Volume 1. They really pulled out all the stops for this release, packing it with virtually every one of the greatest hits from the Warner cartoon filmography. "What's Opera, Doc?" is here. So are "One Froggy Evening" and "Duck Amuck" and "The Rabbit of Seville" and "Duck Dodgers" and "Baseball Bugs". You'd be hard-pressed thinking of a popular WB short that isn't stuffed into this 3-disc set. That's great news for anyone who doesn't own any previous Looney Tunes DVD releases, but a tad frustrating for longtime collectors who already have purchased a bulk of this material before. However, seeing all these cartoons presented in high definition and looking flawless is a treat. If you own a HDTV and Blu-Ray player, then the Platinum Collection is definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Disc One is a compilation of the most famous WB cartoons. It is essentially "Looney Tunes 101" -- a perfect introduction (or re-introduction) for anyone who may be unfamiliar with the core cast of WB superstars. There's plenty of Bugs, Daffy and Porky cartoons included here in some of the most brilliant shorts from Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Bob McKimson and the Termite Terrace crew. Tweety, Sylvester, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy Gonzales and Pepe Le Pew all make appearances as well. Cartoons included on Disc One: "Hare Tonic", "Baseball Bugs", "Buccaneer Bunny", "The Old Grey Hare", "Rabbit Hood", "8 Ball Bunny", "The Rabbit of Seville", "What's Opera, Doc?", "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery", "A Pest in the House", "The Scarlet Pumpernickel", "Duck Amuck", "Robin Hood Daffy", "Baby Bottleneck", "Kitty Kornered", "Scaredy Cat", "Porky Chops", "Old Glory", "A Tale of Two Kitties", "Tweetie Pie", "Fast and Furry-ous", "Beep Beep", "Lovelorn Leghorn", "For Scent-imental Reasons", and "Speedy Gonzales".

Disc Two kicks off with a collection of favorite one-shots and musical cartoons ("One Froggy Evening", "The Three Little Bops", "I Love to Singa", "Katnip Kollege", "The Dover Boys" and "Chow Hound"). This is followed by showcasing the complete filmographies of some of the most fondly remembered Warner supporting characters who only appeared in a handful of classic-era cartoons: Marvin the Martian, the Tasmanian Devil, Witch Hazel, Marc Antony the bulldog, and Ralph Phillips. Curiously, 1958's "Cat Feud" is missing from Marc Antony's "complete" filmography here. I really liked this idea of presenting the complete cartoons of these lesser-known characters and it certainly opens the door for great possibilities on future collections (the complete Goofy Gophers or the complete Hubie and Bertie, perhaps?).

Finally, Disc Three is devoted to bonus content. The bulk of the disc honors the legendary Chuck Jones. Three documentaries are included here: Chuck Amuck - The Movie, Chuck Jones: Extremes and Inbetweens, A Life in Animation (both previously released on the Golden Collections) and Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood (previously released on the Tom & Jerry: Chuck Jones Collection DVD). "The Animated World of Chuck Jones" section highlights miscellaneous films directed by Jones including several which were made for the United States government. The highlight being a very rare short from 1955, "A Hitch in Time". Long believed to be lost, the film is presented here in pristine shape. A reenlistment film for the U.S. Air Force, it features a pair of characters who reminded me of Private Snafu and the Technical Fairy, First Class from the WWII shorts. Also included is a 1968 anti-war cartoon, "The Door", co-produced by Bill Cosby and released by WB. That's not all, there are also nine more recent bonus cartoons starring the Looney Tunes characters produced in the last three decades. Of particular interest to collectors are "Father of the Bird", a 1997 cartoon starring Sylvester, and "Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension" (1996), a predecessor to today's 3-D CGI Looney Tunes, that was shown at various theme parks and at the Warner Bros. Studio Store flagship location in New York. Discs one and two also feature bonus content, most of it is recycled from various Golden Collection sets. There are a few exceptions, such as new "Behind the Tunes" featurettes focusing on Ralph Phillips and Marvin the Martian. There are also some new gems to discover if you dig deep enough (for example, the music-only audio track for "Ducking the Devil").

I should also note that all cartoons are presented in fullscreen as they were originally made. There is no nonsense of having to choose between fullscreen or cropped faux-widescreen on the post-1955 cartoons like there was on the Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs. The cartoons that were previously released in cropped widescreen format only on the Bugs and Daffy Super Stars discs are presented correctly here ("Mad as a Mars Hare", "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare", "Ducking the Devil").

The set is a very nice package. The case that holds the three discs also contains a handy booklet filled with rare, original artwork, the contents of each disc and some history, information and notes on the cartoons compiled by Jerry Beck. The so-called "Ultimate Edition" has a few extra trinkets housed in an oversized box (but no differences on the contents of the actual discs): a Bugs Bunny shot glass (er... "collectible glass"), a magnetic tin sign of Bugs and Daffy, and a miniature lithograph cel of the whole gang. If you are looking to save some money, you could skip this version and just purchase the standard edition instead.

This is easily the best "best of" Looney Tunes collection you could ask for.

(Thanks to Trond Michelsen for making the screen captures for this review. For more images, see the GAC Facebook page!)


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Textual content © 2011 by Jon Cooke.
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