Film #5: Daffy Duck's quackbusters
First let me tell you ,dear readers, that it is always a pleasure to be able to review cartoons, especially when you have kids. Not that I would ever need an excuse to watch cartoons, but it is nice to be able to share some of these 1988 classics with them. I am a huge animation fan. I did my history day project in 7th grade on animation history, and was in heaven when I was doing voice over work. I was excited at the levels that Joey was in “Full House” when he got to be a cartoon voice with Frankie and Annette.
So, I watched Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters the other day. This is the cartoon film equivalent of a television “clips show” that interweaves older Looney Tune Cartoons into a cohesive story. If I recall, (pretending I didn’t do any background research) this was the last of 3 of a series put out by Warner Bros in the 1980′s. Perhaps they were designed to reintroduce the Looney Tunes to a new generation or to lay the ground work to create a platform for Ted Turner’s recent purchases of the older cartoons (and his future purchases of the rest). It was also the year that many of the characters were featured in Who Framed Roger Rabbit; and the year that Nickelodeon began running the cartoons as well.
The Plot: The story is Daffy Duck centered. Daffy sells novelty gags and one day enters the home of wealthy JP Cubish. A classic "get past the butler scene" ensues, reminiscent to me of the great scene in Peewee’s Big Adventure; between Peewee and Francis’ butler) in order to answer an add to make Cubish laugh. Needless to say, he makes Cubish laugh and is left a fortune upon Cubish’s death. The requirement attached to the money is that Daffy use the funds for public good. Cubish takes money when Daffy does not show a good attitude. Daffy decides to open a Ghostbusters type agency to hunt down ghosts like Cubish. He hires on Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny as employees and sends them off on missions to find haunted happenings,using the old cartoons to tell the interior stories. In the end Daffy is embarrassed by a tiny elephant and his business collapses.
If you are in the mood for some fantastic Looney Tune memories with your kids, then this is a great movie to watch, especially at Halloween if your kids faint from stronger, scarier material. The cartoons that are reused are some of the best. Hyde and Go Tweet; where Tweety drinks the Dr Hyde concoction to terrorize Sylvester is a particular favorite, as well as Transylvania 6-5000; where Bugs plays his head games on a Vampire. “I’m a Vampire!”"Oh yeah, well I’m an umpire”. The capstone to the Looney Tune treasure trove is Punch Trunk; where a tiny elephant terrorizes the inhabitants of an unnamed city. This film has held up over time. The sight gags and the puns are still fresh and timeless, and there are a lot of them, so don’t look away to make a sandwich.Mel Blanc, in his last Looney Tune work, will forever rule the voice over universe. These cartoons will always make me remember Showbiz Pizza (pre Chuck E Cheese buy out) when they would run shorts like Last of the Do Do’s between animatronic gigs. (Wherefore art thou Billy Bob?).The only criticism I would have for the film is the uneven cuts. They took the modern animation and spliced it together with the old, in order for the story to gel…but it is really obvious in the way that Mel Blanc’s voices got deeper and older. The animation is also clearly superior in the modern plot. However, out of all of the “best of” Looney movies from the decade, I consider this to be the best product. "I will pet him, and love him, and call him George."It will reinvigorate your love of the Looneys and make you want to revisit much older slapstick films. I myself was inspired to watch Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances;..which I found comical until the disturbing blackface character. It is filled with solid jokes and gags,you will not be disappointed. It is a remnant of the final days of pure hand-drawn animation that was about to come to an end with the Lasseter revolution. Check it out!
9 out of 10 stars from me and my 9 year old.