Looney Tunes Collection-Best of Road Runner-Volume 1

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Released 4-Oct-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-6 Episodes
Alternate Audio-6 Episodes
Bonus Episode-The Adventures Of Road Runner
Featurette-Crash! Bang! Boom! The Wild Sounds Of Treg Brown
Credits-The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show Opening Sequence
Featurette-The Trace Show
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 100:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Charles M. Jones
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Carl Stallings


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Croatian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Hungarian
Croatian
Arabic
Slovenian
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Heaps of Acme stuff
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It has been 18 months since the last batch of Warners' Looney Tunes Collection arrived on our shores. The effect of this delay is that this new set of four discs is being released at the same time that the third wave of releases hits the shelves in the land of Region 1. I hope that we don't continually have to wait twelve months for each new batch to get a local release.

    The new batch includes discs devoted to Tweety and Sylvester, Bugs Bunny of course and an All-Stars mix. The other disc is Volume One of the Best of Road Runner series, and contains 11 Road Runner cartoons and four miscellaneous cartoons, all directed by Charles M. Jones.

    There's not much to comment on regarding the plots of the Road Runner cartoons. Wile E. Coyote, Genius spots the Road Runner somewhere along a desert highway, then spends about 7 minutes devising new ways to cause himself bodily injury in the pursuit of said morsel. This usually involves devices acquired from the Acme Corporation, ranging from Super Leg Vitamins to Dehydrated Boulders (just add water). The cartoons have no dialogue apart from the occasional shriek, though the characters sometimes hold up signs.

    The idea for the original cartoon came from an observation in one of Mark Twain's books in which he refers to starving coyotes chasing roadrunners. That first cartoon is not included here, having been on one of the discs in the previous set.

    Each cartoon is filled with gags varying in length from a few seconds upwards, and each of which has obviously been carefully thought out to obtain the maximum comic effect. The thing that always surprises me about these cartoons is the impeccable timing, which cannot be that easy to create. Each of these cartoons is a little gem, and while the thought of watching eleven of these back to back may seem excessive, I felt I wanted more at the end.

    The transfers here are just as good as those in the first wave of Looney Tunes releases, so no need to hesitate about buying them. The cartoons included in this set are:

Beep, Beep (1952) (6:32)

    This was the second Road Runner cartoon after Fast and Furry-ous.

Going! Going! Gosh! (1952) (6:09)

Zipping Along (1953) (6:34)

Stop, Look and Hasten (1954) (6:48)

Ready, Set, Zoom! (1955) (6:41)

Guided Muscle (1955) (6:27)

Gee Whiz-z-z-z (1956) (6:20)

There They Go-Go-Go (1956) (6:22)

Scrambled Aches (1957) (6:37)

Zoom and Bored (1957) (6:03)

Whoa Be Gone (1958) (5:59)

Cheese Chasers (1951) (7:15)

    A strange cartoon in which mice Hubie and Bertie engorge themselves on cheese, and decide that life is no longer worth living. So they decide to sacrifice themselves to Claude Cat, which causes him some emotional disturbance.

The Dover Boys (1942) (8:36)

    A satire on those turn of the century adventure stories featuring upright boys and dastardly villains.

Mouse Wreckers (1948) (6:38)

    Hubie and Bertie decide to force Claude out of house and home by driving him insane.

Bear for Punishment (1951) (6:54)

    Father's Day in the Bear household, with a reluctant Pa inadvertently terrorised by Junyer. The animators managed to slip a copy of The Kinsey Report past the censors. "Now Henry..."

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    All of the cartoons are in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The original aspect ratio was 1.37:1. Some of the opening titles are shown in this aspect ratio, slightly windowboxed.

    Like the first set of releases, the transfers are excellent. Each cartoon is sharp and clear, looking much better than it has ever done on television. In fact they probably never even looked quite this good on the big screen. Colours are bright, rich and vibrant.

    I did not see any film to video artefacts, though some interlacing issues were noticed in the Region 1 set. Film artefacts are limited only to problems caused in the original filming, such as dust between the cels.

    Optional English subtitles are provided, which are of little use in the Road Runner cartoons. The others have subtitles which accurately represent the dialogue, and are well-timed and easy to read. There are also Hard of Hearing subtitles which describe the sound effects and music.

    The disc is dual-layered but there is no layer change during any of the programmes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is provided in Dolby Digital 1.0, which is basically the original audio.

    The sound is as good as the video, with clear dialogue and sound effects. I did not notice any distortion or hiss, and there is a good frequency response down to low levels.

    The music score is directed by Carl Stalling, and is vitally important in the Road Runner cartoons given the absence of dialogue. It comments on the action and is often used for comic effect by itself. Some of the music is original, but a lot comes from old tunes owned by Warners. One example is the familiar Powerhouse theme by Raymond Scott, which appears in a lot of Warners' cartoons. In this set it crops up in Gee Whiz-z-z-z. Stallings also liked using themes from Wagner, and at least three cartoons in this set quote his music, including a lengthy bit from Rienzi. Also of note are the sound effects by Treg Brown. The sound the Road Runner makes when sticking out its tongue comes from him flicking his fingers across the top of a Coke bottle, and there are numerous other clever effects.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The widescreen enhanced menu has some cheesy audio and animation.

Audio Commentary-6 Episodes

    Audio commentary is provided for Beep Beep, Stop! Look! and Hasten!, Whoa, Be-Gone!, The Dover Boys, Mouse Wreckers and A Bear For Punishment. The commentaries are by Michael Barrier or Greg Ford, each of whom has interesting things to say. Ford's delivery is a little hard to understand at times, but he does include snippets of audio interviews with Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese.

Alternate Audio-6 Episodes

    Music only tracks are available for Guided Muscle, Gee Whiz-z-z-z!, There They Go-Go-Go!, Scrambled Aches and Zoom And Bored, and there is a music and effects track for A Bear For Punishment.

Bonus Episode-The Adventures Of Road Runner (24:52)

    This is a 1962 two reel pilot for a TV series that never eventuated, but this material was released in theatres. Wile E. Coyote speaks, describing his reasons for wanting to eat the Road Runner and analysing his failures via strategically placed cameras. There is also a sequence with the dreamy Ralph Phillips taken from the 1954 cartoon From A To Z-z-z-z-z.

Featurette-Crash! Bang! Boom! The Wild Sounds Of Treg Brown (11:13)

    Brown was credited as editor on the cartoons, but he was really the sound effects editor. This featurette looks at the man and his work. Of interest is how some of the sounds were achieved.

Credits-The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show Opening Sequence (2:11)

    The opening credits for the old Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show, with the "the Coyote's after you" music.

Featurette-The Trace Show (1:25)

    A short demonstration of how the characters are drawn by one of Warners' current stable of animators.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 equivalent is only available as part of a four disc set called Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection Volume 2. This material is on disc 2, and appears to have the same contents. As Region 4 are getting the entire set including all of the extra material as four separate discs, the decision as to whether to get the Region 1 set or the Region 4 discs comes down to price and convenience.

Summary

    15 classic cartoons from the greatest cartoon studio of them all.

    The video and audio transfers are excellent.

    There is plenty of extra material, though not all of it would be worth more than one look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Monday, October 31, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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