DVD REVIEW: Looney Tunes - Golden Collection, Volume Three

Easily the best of the three (so far) previous entries in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection series, this set confirms how brilliant the Warner Bros. artists were and how durable their creations have proven...
This third entry in the popular "Looney Tunes Golden Collection" series looks to be the best yet, mostly because of the selection of cartoons. Volume 3 has the widest range of Warner Brothers cartoons yet, ranging from the debut of Porky Pig in 1935 to the end of the WB animation studio in 1963. Each disc is presented with a varied lineup of cartoons that can be watched from beginning to end with equal interest.

Disc 1 is another Bugs Bunny festival, including such classics as the last cartoon in Chuck Jones's Bugs/Daffy/Elmer hunting trilogy, Bugs's great square dance routine in "Hillbilly Hare," and less-familiar masterpieces such as the bizarre "Rebel Rabbit." Disc 2 concentrates on cartoons with Hollywood parodies and celebrity caricatures, ranging from Tex Avery's great gangster-movie spoof "Thugs With Dirty Mugs" to Robert McKimson's "The Mouse that Jack Built," with the cast of the Jack Benny Show voicing themselves. Disc 3, "Porky and the Pigs," mostly concentrates on WB's longest-running star, Porky Pig, featuring a generous helping of hilarious and imaginative black-and-white cartoons by Frank Tashlin and Bob Clampett, as well as later classics like "Robin Hood Daffy." And disc 4, "All Stars Cartoon Party," collects some of the very best cartoons of WB's biggest cartoon stars, including Tweety and Sylvester's Oscar-winning "Birds Anonymous," the debuts of Foghorn Leghorn and Pepe Le Pew, and Daffy trying to dodge the draft in "Draftee Daffy." There are many masterpieces in this collection and few duds, a tribute to the astonishing depth of the WB cartoon catalogue.

The extras match up to the standard set in the previous collections--and then some, with new featurettes including a tribute to director Frank Tashlin; from-the-vault rarities including the unaired animation/live-action pilot PHILBERT (directed by Friz Freleng and a young Richard Donner); original storyboards; music-only tracks; and additional cartoons with characters like Bosko and Private Snafu. For the commentaries, WB has engaged a wider range of commentators this time around in addition to stalwarts Michael Barrier, Greg Ford and Jerry Beck, including superhero cartoon specialist Paul Dini commenting on Chuck Jones's superhero cartoon parody "Super-Rabbit," John Kricfalusi on several Bob Clampett cartoons; "Aladdin" animator Eric Goldberg on two Jones cartoons; Joe Dante on a cartoon by one of his biggest influences, Frank Tashlin; and more. This is probably be the best Looney Tunes DVD collection so far. Set # 4 will have to be spectacular to beat this one out.

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