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That's Not All Folks: The Return Of Looney Tunes

Ever since the end of the golden age of their theatrical animated shorts, Warner Bros has tried to recreate the success of the original Looney Tunes. These efforts have been met with various degrees of success, as WB has tried to fit Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and the rest of the roster of classic cartoons in various formats. But whether they were movies, sitcoms or whatever the hell Loonatics Unleashed was, somehow they have never quite been the same.

Finally, Warner Bros Animation decided to go back to basics, and announced New Looney Tunes Cartoons, that would consist of 1000 minutes of cartoonist-driven new animation featuring the iconic characters. The first 10 shorts were premiered at the 2019 Annecy International Animation Festival, and word of mouth was extremely strong. It left animation fans wondering when wider audiences would get their chance to see them. In 2020, the answer was revealed that for viewers in the United States, Warner Media's new streaming service HBO Max would be the home of the new cartoons.

The initial batch of episodes have now arrived and are well up to expectations. Each episode consists of an 11-minute package of shorts of various lengths. They range from short sketches to full-length shorts of six-or-so minutes.

The Looney Tunes have updated visuals, but they are not as radically different from the originals as some revivals, such as Disney's (brilliant) new Mickey Mouse shorts. The characters are instantly recognisable but have a noticeably more modern style. At the same time, the animators have tried to make the shorts as close to the originals as possible.

They look excellent, and the animation quality is extremely high. It's genuinely mystifying that I've seen some people online complain that they look 'cheap'. They look anything but.

There's not much here to give away that these are modern productions, as the animators and writers have mainly avoided showing much current technology or references that would quickly date them.

Crucially, the new shorts have managed to capture the feel of Looney Tunes in a way that no revival attempt has before (and that definitely includes Space Jam). The fast-paced slapstick humour will appeal to a wide audience across the board. Yosemite Sam may not be allowed his gun any more, but otherwise, not that much has changed. Bugs is still wisecracking, Daffy is still mad as a bag of frogs and Porky is still as downtrodden as ever. The voice cast does an amazing job as well. It's not an easy job to step into such big shoes- but you wouldn't know that from their performances. The new music too, is perfect, sounding like it could come straight from the original theatrical shorts.

From the moment the original iconic music starts, until the credits role, The Looney Cartoons are about a perfect modern incarnation as you could hope for. These really feel like they are the real thing and not a pale imitation.

Unfortunately, I only got access to screeners for the initial three episodes (of 10 currently available), and as yet there is no news of a full release of the series in the UK or elsewhere outside of the United States. Those first three episodes were packed with great episodes, including the award-winning Curse Of The Monkey Bird, featuring Daffy and Porky. It's only served to whet my appetite for more.

Luckily, Warner have generously released a couple of episodes that you can watch for free. They work in the UK, but I can't guarantee that they aren't blocked in your country. Check them out, below!

Watch More Episodes Here