There’s a problem comparing Space Jam: A New Legacy to the original Space Jam. I could say the new movie lives up to old one; but the thing is, despite its popularity over the last quarter century, the verdict of whether or not it’s any good is still very much undecided.
That’s always been a bit of a mystery to me, however, because the original Space Jam is fine. It’s a movie for kids, and I was actually a bit old for it when it first came out, but I remember smaller kids than me absolutely loved it, so instant pass right there. Target audience likes it, you win. I rewatched it last year while binging a bunch of Looney Tunes stuff while in pandemic lockdown. I enjoyed it. Lots of the jokes held up. You’re a comedy. You make me laugh. There’s another instant pass. It’s fine. That’s my mini stealth review of the original Space Jam in my Space Jam: A New Legacy review. So you got two Space Jam reviews for the price of one. You’re welcome.
The movie Space Jam: A New Legacy is about LeBron James (charmingly credited as “Himself”) playing basketball with a bunch of Looney Tunes. It is a mixture of live action, CGI animation and hand drawn animation, directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It is playing in theaters now, or is available to stream until August 15 on HBO Max for those with a subscription to that service. It is also fine.
This is the part of the review where I should say which Space Jam is better, but actually if you get the HBO Max subscription, they also have the original to stream, plus a decent collection of the original shorts, some of the more modern iterations of the property, including the The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, The Looney Tunes Show, New Looney Tunes (a.k.a. Wabbit!), the HBO Max original Looney Tunes Cartoons and even something called Baby Looney Tunes: Musical Adventures – which I don't think shares a common target audience with Flayrah, but if that's your jam, you do you. So I'd recommend doing that.
It was notably hated by Chuck Jones, an animator famous for his work on the original Looney Tunes shorts, though, to be fair, Chuck Jones pretty much hated anything Looney Tunes that he didn't do himself, and also about half of his own stuff. Joe Dante directed the next live action/animation hybrid Looney Tunes movie, Back in Action, and his stated goal was basically to direct the anti-Space Jam. Flayrah's own coverage of Back in Action was not pro-Space Jam, calling it a "disaster". On the beloved side of the equation, however, Warner Bros. will be releasing a very belated sequel to the movie on July 16 of this year (both theatrically and on the HBO Max streaming service), and they usually don't do that if no one liked it (and, seriously, you can probably find someone who actually does like Space Jam very easily).
But despite the fact that the original 1996 website is still up (with the following link, this article is now in compliance with ancient Internet law stating that all articles about Space Jam must mention the original website), there isn't really a good list anywhere on the Internet that provides the complete line-up of the members of the Tune Squad, the Looney Tunes basketball team in the film. Seriously, the Space Jam Wiki does not have a team roster. The IMDB trivia page for Space Jam has a bare bones roster buried half way down the page (and it's very incomplete). Well, that won't stand. Here's the full roster of every character (animated or otherwise), who played against the Monstars in the movie's big game.
Squarely in the “It’s about time!” department: Warner Brothers Home Video has announced the release of Road Rovers: The Complete Series on DVD later this month. “Meet ‘Cano-sapien’ the next, heroic step in the evolution of man’s best friend! After the evil General Parvo unleashes Professor Shepherd’s inventions upon the world, mutating dogs into monsters, Professor Shepherd recruits an international team of canines and transdogmafies’ them into super-heroic, humanoid crime-fighters.” That description barely scratches the surface of just how completely odd this popular anthropomorphic cartoon series from the 90’s could get. So head on over to the Warner Brothers web site and check it out. And remember: Don’t be weird boy!
Funny Animals and More: From Anime to Zoomorphics, based on Fred Patten’s weekly columns from Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research animation website, was published March 26 by Theme Park Press. It is available in paperback and digital formats, and on Amazon.com.
The book is about animation and comic books rather than specifically anthropomorphic animals, but cartoon and CGI funny animals are a major theme. Topics include anime cat girls; Pokémon and Monster Rancher; Astro Boy and Atomcat; how a popular 1970s anime TV series led to the import of thousands of baby North American raccoons into Japan as pets, whose descendants are ruining thousand-year-old Buddhist and Shinto shrines today; animated Summer Olympics mascots like Misha the bear cub, Sam the eagle, Hodori the tiger, and Cobi the sheepdog, from 1972 to 2012; Patten’s favorite childhood comic-book funny animals like Amster the Hamster, Doodles Duck and his nephew Lemuel, Nutsy Squirrel, Dunbar Dodo, and SuperKatt, and how he would still like to see them animated; Crusader Rabbit; rats in animation; Reynard the Fox in animation; and Disney’s forthcoming 2016 Zootopia.
Warner Bros. are celebrating their 90th anniversary, and in honor of that are releasing a series of DVD collections known simply as The Best of Warner Bros.. Around here, the collection most folks are likely to find interesting is The Best of Warner Bros.: 50 Cartoon Collection — Looney Tunes. This 2-DVD set is coming out this week. Here’s the skinny, from CD Universe: “It’s always ‘wabbit’ season now that the best Looney tunes Cartoons from the Warner Bros. vault are available in this wild two-disc collection! Reunite with Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Daffy Duck and all the Looney Tunes gang in an animated assortment of hits that have tickled the funny bones of cartoon lovers for generations. There’s something for everyone in this must-own collection of 50 Looney Tunes classics that helped contribute to 90 years of Warner Bros. cartoon magic. ” There are bigger box-set collections out there, but this best-of collection brings together many well-known favorites like Rabbit of Seville, One Froggy Evening, Duck Amuck, and more, all in one set.
On Presidents’ Day weekend in Los Angeles, February 16 – 18, The Cinefamily and the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity will present a three-day Chuck Jones Centennial Celebration, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth (which was on September 21, 1912 actually, but what’s a few months among friends?), at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323) 655-2510. The program begins at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and at noon on Monday.
The Cartoon Brew has reported earlier on Warner Bros. making tests of live-action/CGI versions of Marvin the Martian and Hong Kong Phooey for “live-action” features featuring the cartoon stars. Now the CB has that test footage, thanks to director Alex Zamm.
The Cartoon Brew says, “Quick! Check these out before they remove them from the internet…”, which presumably means that this may be considered too embarrassing to leave up for long, due to the literal toilet humor..
Wired reports that Chicago artist Rob Loukotka has created an advertising poster for fictional ACME Corp. that shows 126 of its products that Wile E. Coyote has ordered in his attempts to catch the Road Runner, including the jet-propelled tennis shoes, rocket-powered pogo stick, and tornado seeds.
The giant poster (24” x 36”, or 2’ x 3’) is not quite ready to order. Loukotka has a Kickstarter project to raise $3,000 to print it. Considering that the project is still going and that he has $79,110 pledged so far, this looks assured. Loukotka is asking for $30 pledges; each pledger will receive the poster. Non-pledgers can buy it for $30 after it is printed; $40 outside the U.S
Loukotka has other posters, but this is the only one with an anthropomorphic tie-in.
Update (21 Dec): The Cartoon Brew reports that Warner Bros. trademarked the ACME logo, too, though Loukotka was careful not to mention WB or Wile E. Coyote on the poster. [Ed.: The USPTO cancelled the trademark in 2010 as they failed to file a 10-year renewal.]
For fans of Robert McKimson’s Leon Schlesinger/Warner Bros. 1940s-1950s theatrical cartoons, there will be a screening of 35 mm. prints of eleven of them on Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403; (310) 260-1528. The eleven, which McKimson was the director of, include Hillbilly Hare, Devil May Hare, Rabbit’s Kin, Hot Cross Bunny, The Foghorn Leghorn, Bedevilled Rabbit, Bill of Hare, Tabasco Road, The High and the Flighty, Falling Hare, and Walky Talky Hawky; featuring Bugs Bunny and Foghorn Leghorn & Henery Hawk.
This event is in celebration of publication of the brand-new biography I Say, I Say….Son! A Tribute to Legendary Animators Bob, Chuck, and Tom McKimson, by Robert McKimson Jr., with a foreword by John Kricfalusi (the creator of Ren & Stimpy) and an introduction by Darrell Van Citters. McKimson Jr., Kricfalusi, and Van Citters will sign copies of the book in the lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m., and hold a discussion following the screening.
(And don’t miss my review of the book.)
The Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA) has inaugurated its Hall of Fame with its first three inductees, announced tonight at a ceremony at the Rainfurrest 2012 convention in Seattle.
The ALAA Hall of Fame is intended to honor those so prestigious that it is impossible to imagine the field of anthropomorphics without them. A person - a character - a book - a film - a comic strip - a Hall of Fame honoree is as well known to the general public as Sherlock Holmes, Superman, or William Shakespeare.
The inductees to the ALAA Hall of Fame are chosen by a vote of the fifteen members of the ALAA Committee during July, with runoffs extending into August if necessary. There are many potential honorees, and those outvoted in one year may be renominated in future years.
For fans of anthropomorphized mice, Jerry Beck has announced on The Cartoon Brew website that Warner Bros. is releasing “Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles”, a complete DVD and Blu-ray set of all Chuck Jones’ Sniffles the Mouse and Hubie and Bertie cartoons, on August 28.
The two-disc, 133-minute set will contain 19 restored complete cartoons and one brand-new featurette, “Of Mice and Pen”. There will be the usual audio commentary by animation historians and animators.
Some of these cartoons have been released for collectors before, but this is fans' first chance to get all of the Sniffles and Hubie & Bertie cartoons together, in the latest state-of-the-art film restoration.
If you don’t know about the McKimson brothers, you should — especially if you love anything about 20th Century animation. Chuck, Bob, and Tom might not be the household names that Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng have become, but they probably should be as they had their hands in an amazing number of animation projects. Now there’s a new book by Robert McKimson Jr., I Say, I Say… Son! that attempts to fill you in on their amazing story. This new hardcover book is arriving from Santa Monica Press in early July, but here’s a preview from Amazon: “The first survey dedicated to the work of the McKimson brothers, this book offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the upper echelon of 20th-century animation and examines the creative process behind the making of numerous popular characters and classic programs. Featuring original artwork from the golden age of animation, this book includes a wealth of material from many professional archives—screen captures, original drawings, reproductions of animation cels, illustrations from comic books, lobby cards, and other ephemera from the author’s collection—while surveying the careers of three groundbreaking animators whose credits include Looney Tunes, the Pink Panther, and Mr.
This short, "Coyote Falls", was shown before Cats & Dogs 2. Future shorts are expected before Legend of the Guardians ("Fur of Flying") and Yogi Bear ("Rabid Rider"). Extended versions form part of The Looney Tunes Show, airing from November on Cartoon Network.