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Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, Volume 2

Blu-Ray Review by Jon Cooke

dvd cover
Own it now on Blu-Ray

Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, Volume 2, the second of Warner Home Video's series of high-definition Blu-Ray releases of the classic Warner shorts, is another solid collection. Once again, all fifty cartoons looked pristine and, yes, once again if you already own the six Golden Collection DVD sets you'll notice quite a bit of repeated material. However, there are ten new-to-disc cartoons spread out on the first two discs and some very worthwhile bonus features.

The set follows the same format as Volume 1. However, the first difference you'll notice is that the digibook packaging has been abandoned in favor of a standard sized Blu-ray case with a slipcover. It still includes a handy booklet breaking down each disc with artwork and notes by Jerry Beck, it is just inserted inside the case this time.

Disc 1 showcases the Looney Tunes all-stars with more of the "greatest hits" of Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy Gonzales, Pepe le Pew, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. Highlights include a trio of great black and white Porky shorts (Bob Clampett's "Porky in Wackyland" and "Porky in Egypt" and Friz Freleng's classic, "You Ought to be in Pictures", co-starring a live-action Leon Schlesinger). New-to-disc cartoons include a long-overdue restoration of "Birdy and the Beast" (1944), the second appearance of Tweety; another Tweety short, "Home Tweet Home" (1950); and Daffy Duck as an Ace Novelty Company salesman who sells pranks to Foghorn and the Barnyard Dawg in "The High and the Flighty" (1956).

Most of the bonus material on Disc 1 is carried over from past Golden Collections with a noteworthy exception, "Leon Schlesinger: The Merrie Cartoon Mogul". A new 20 minute "Behind the Tunes" featurette that sheds a bit more light on the man who made the cartoons of "Termite Terrace" possible. A businessman who was smart enough to just leave his artists alone to create the cartoons, the piece paints a picture of a boss with a personality almost as large as the on-screen cartoon characters. There are some great anecdotes --- such as Leon faking a heart attack when animators cornered him for a raise or how directors got their stories approved by exploiting his fondness for Porky Pig.

Disc 2 kicks off with a "Fan Choice" cartoon which was picked by Facebook users ("Wabbit Twouble"), then it's a pure variety. We get the short filmographies of fan-favorite supporting players (Nasty Canasta, A. Flea, Beaky Buzzard); Chuck Jones' "Hunting Trilogy" cartoons (Duck Season/Rabbit Season); and the trio of cartoons where Bugs raced Cecil Turtle. "Early Wabbits" showcase the pre-Bugs Warner rabbits with some truly historic shorts available for the first time such 1938's "Porky's Hare Hunt", the first cartoon to introduce a "crazy rabbit". 1939's "Hare-um Scare-um" may be worth the price of admission alone for Looney Tunes collectors as it finally restores the cartoon's long-lost ending putting to end decades of speculation and rumors. Chuck Jones' early wabbit short, "Prest-o Change-o" (1939) looks absolutely stunning after being so used to watching faded versions on public domain collections for years. The disc is topped off with a selection of five classic one-shots ("Hollywood Steps Out", "Page Miss Glory", "Rocket-Bye Baby", "Russian Rhapsody" and "Dough Ray Me-ow").

Disc 3 is a disc entirely of bonus material and is available exclusively with the Blu-Ray set (the DVD edition only includes Discs 1 and 2). The main focus on this disc is a tribute to Tex Avery with a brand-new 40 minute documentary showcasing just how groundbreaking Avery's work and style was in animation history. The 1988 documentary "Tex Avery: The King of Cartoons" is also included and so are a sampling of some of Tex's best MGM shorts (unrestored and presented in standard def). Watching all these bonus materials makes you realize what a crime it is that there still hasn't been a restored collection of Avery's cartoons yet.

While Disc 3 is jam-packed with bonus material, the rest are repeats of Golden Collection extras. There is some great stuff, though: the "Friz on Film" documentary; Cartoon Network's Toonheads: The Lost Cartoons; Friz Freleng's MGM "Captain and the Kids" shorts; rare Leon Schlesinger-produced films (including two Christmas gag reels); and WWII-era Hook and Snafu shorts.

For a full breakdown of contents, check out the review on Home Theater Forum.
For another review, with plenty of screen shots, check out the review on Blu-ray.com.

For longtime collectors, this set offers up a total of 10 new-to-disc restored shorts ("What Makes Daffy Duck?", "Birdy and the Beast", "Home Tweet Home", "The High and the Flighty" on Disc 1. "Porky's Hare Hunt", "Hare-um Scare-um", "Prest-o Change-o", "The Lion's Busy", "Strife with Father" and "A Horsefly Fleas" on Disc 2). Plus, the folks behind the restorations have gone the extra mile to reattach the original titles where available - "A Horsefly Fleas" has its full opening sequence restored and original (non-reissue) titles are intact for "Home Tweet Home", "The Lion's Busy", "Strife With Father" and even the previously released "Canned Feud". The correct titles are something only the hardcore fans would probably even notice. Topped off with some great bonus materials (like I said, the Scheslinger and Avery tributes are well worth it) and you have another top-notch collection.

or Click here to order LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM COLLECTION, VOL. 2 (2-Disc DVD Edition)

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Textual content © 2012 by Jon Cooke.
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