In Memory of Joe Alaskey (1952-2016)
The story of Looney Tunes Back in Action takes place in a world in which the classic Warner Bros cartoon characters exist in the real world, and the leader of the Acme corporation Mr. Chairman (played by Steve Martin) wants to obtain a magical item called The Blue Monkey so that he can turn everybody into monkeys and use them as slaves to make products for Acme. Famous Hollywood actor and real undercover spy Damian Drake (played by Timothy Dalton) tries to stop Mr. Chairman’s plan, but ends up getting captured by the Acme corporation. It’s now up to his son DJ Drake (played by Brendan Fraser), Bugs Bunny (voiced by Joe Alaskey), Daffy Duck (also voiced by Joe Alaskey), and the Vice President of Comedy for Warner Bros Kate Houghton (played by Jenna Elfman) to find the Blue Monkey and stop Mr. Chairman’s evil plan.
Before I talk about how I felt about this movie, I want to explain its history. Originally, Looney Tunes Back in Action was suppose to be a direct sequel to Space Jam titled Space Jam 2, but was canceled because Michael Jordan didn’t want to be in it. It ended up getting change into a spin-off called Spy Jam which would’ve starred Jackie Chan, but got scrapped because Jackie Chan resigned from the project. Much later on, Warner Bros contacted film-maker Joe Dante to make the movie, he did agree to an extant. He wanted to make a Looney Tunes movie, but not have it be related to Space Jam because he hated the movie claiming that it didn’t represent the classic Looney Tunes characters well. Warner Bros decided to agreed on Joe Dante’s idea for a brand new Looney Tunes movie, and thus, Looney Tunes Back in Action was made. Even though it got good reviews when it was released in theaters back in 2003, it sadly failed to make back it’s 80 million dollar budget as it only made 68.5 million dollars at the box office.
Looney Tunes Back in Action is a very good family movie with a well-written story, great performances from all the actors in it, a phenomenal blend of good 2D animation and live action, memorable music, and has everything else that will make Looney Tunes fans love it as Joe Dante succeeded in making a great movie with passion and effort put into it that will make kids, teens, and adults enjoy it.
The acting from the entire cast in this film turned in brilliant performances. Steve Martin as the villain Mr. Chairman is entertainingly funny, and his acting helps carry the movie’s lighthearted tone as he is not a very serious villain, but it works because it’s a Looney Tunes movie. Joe Alaskey’s voice acting as both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck is a good example of his voice acting talent as he was able to voice two characters, and sound very different for both of them without it hinting that it’s him providing the voices. Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman’s performances were great, and they had good chemistry with each other in the movie.
The 2D animation used to create all the Warner Bros cartoon characters is very well done, and the animators did a fantastic job at making them work in the real world as the interactions with them and the human characters looks very real.
The only thing that I disliked in this movie was that the CGI used in it is sometimes very poor looking and unnecessary where as the practical effects and the 2D animation are brilliant and fit well to the story.
While Looney Tunes Back in Action may come off as a Who Framed Roger Rabbit clone to some people because both films are about worlds in which real people and cartoon characters exist with each other, it is still a really good movie to watch and not be disappointed with, and is a movie that Looney Tunes fans will love and cherish forever.
I give Looney Tunes Back in Action Two Thumbs Up, and 4/5 Stars.