Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a 2003 American live action/animated adventure comedy film directed by Joe Dante and starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Timothy Dalton, and Steve Martin. The film is essentially a feature-length Looney Tunes cartoon, with all the wackiness and surrealism typical of the genre and all the legendary Looney Tunes characters we all know and love. It is the third live action/animated movie the characters were featured in, the first being Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1989 and the second being Space Jam in 1996. The film sadly became a box-office bomb due, making not enough money to cover production costs while receiving mixed to positive reviews. It was also the last film to feature a score by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith before his death in 2004. The film was released in American theatres November 14th,2003 and while the movie failed to make alot of money in theatres ,it remains a Cult favourite today and still is shown often on Cartoon Network and other networks quite occasionally
Tired of playing second fiddle to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck (Joe Alaskey) demands his own movie from the Warner Brothers only to be fired by VP of Comedy Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman) and the Warner Brothers themselves. DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser), son of action star Damian Drake (Timothy Dalton) and a part time stunt actor ,is also fired from his job as a Warner Brothers Studios security guard after trying to escort Daffy (unsuccessfully) from the studios. Daffy steal the Batmobile and DJ pulls him out of the driver's seat, when DJ accidentally drives the Batmoblie right into the studio's famous watertower and causes it to topple down of Kate's car with her and Bugs in it, DJ upon seeing the massive damge tries to tell her it was all Daffy's doing and immediately afterwards is fired and stripped of his uniform while being told by his superior officer that his father would be very ashamed of him. Kate meanwhile tries to make Bugs' film more educational and socially relevant, but he refuses to work with her unless Daffy is brought back; she is ultimately forced to comply to keep her job after Bugs is injured during a routine that required Daffy's presence,with the Warner Brothers demanding that Kate bring Daffy back by Monday!. DJ returns home and is surprised to find Daffy snuck along. Finding a hidden video screen, DJ is told by his actual super spy father to go to Las Vegas to find a woman named Dusty Tails to get a mysterious diamond called the Blue Monkey. DJ and Daffy head out in a yellow 1975 AMC Gremlin (the car DJ used to deliver pizzas in) on their way to Las Vegas. Kate arrive at the house and finds Bugs in the shower and upon realizing who DJ's father is,realizes that she fired the son of one of the Studios biggest stars. Bugs calls Daffy and learns that he and DJ are on their way to Vegas to find the Blue Money, and he and Kate pursue them to Las Vegas in Damian's spy car, a silver TVR Tuscan RHD. Also after the diamond are the ACME Corporation run by the evil Mr. Chairman who,upon hearing Bugs' phone call to Daffy over a satellite devises an evil plan to use the Blue Monkey diamond's mysterious powers to transform people into monkeys to build more ACME products and turn them back into people afterwards so they can buy more ACME merchandise!.
DJ and Daffy arrive in Las Vegas and find Dusty Tails performing at a casino run by Yosemite Sam (Jeff Bennett). Dusty gives DJ a playing card with the Mona Lisa's face on it.After receiving the playing card,DJ and Daffy are chased through the casino by Yosemite Sam and his hench men Nasty Canasta and Cottontail Smith until the playing card falls out of DJ's hand during a brawl with the hench men and lands in a card shuffling machine ,causing DJ and Yosemite Sam to have a card game to get it back,Yosemite Sam asks Foghorn Leghorn to "Hit Him" one too many time and is promptly flattened by Foghorn with a huge mallet,while DJ gets the playing card back and makes a run for it with Daffy,attempting to make a get away in DJ's Gremlin which,as he turns the key, sadly falls to pieces after it's long journey to Vegas. Yosemite Sam and his hench men steal Jeff Gordon's number 24 stock car and chase after DJ and Daffy leading to a car chase with Bugs and Kate being dragged into the mayhem when DJ takes the wheel of the TVR spy car (Danny Mann). The heroes escape via the spy car's flight ability thanks to Daffy saying the password for the auto pilot whilst Yosemite Sam crashes into his own casino,flying out the window of the 24 car into a shack of Dynamite,and blowing himself up with a match. The spy car crashes in Death Valley and DJ,Kate,Bugs and Daffy all spend the night resting. The next day the heroes conviently find a Wal-Mart thanks to Kate's desire for more product placement. Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) sends in Wile E. Coyote to kill the heroes but he fails via a misdirected missile. The heroes wander into Area 52, (According to Mother,Area 51 was created as a "paranoid fantasy" to hide Area 52's identity) where they meet Mother (Joan Cusack), a Q-like figure who gives DJ new gadgets (among them,a pair of rocket powered dress pants and a grappeling hook) to help find the diamond and reveals that ACME will use the diamond to turn mankind into monkeys to create their merchandise and then turn them back so they'll buy the products. Marvin the Martian (Eric Goldberg) and a group of famous aliens (including 2 Daleks) attack, but the heroes escape just in time before the secret entrance closes. They conclude after examining the playing card closer the next clue is in the Mona Lisa painting in Paris.
In the Louvre, the heroes discover the playing card doubles as a viewing window and find a map of Africa behind the Mona Lisa painting and take a photo on Kate's mobile phone. Elmer Fudd (Billy West) arrives to gain the card, turning out to be "secretly evil". Bugs and Daffy flee playfully around the museum, leaping through various famous paintings until Elmer is defeated by Bugs via a fan when he jumps out of a Pointillism painting. Mr. Smith, top henchman of Mr. Chairman,steals Kate's phone and kidnaps her ,heading right for the Eiffel Tower where Beaky Buzzard is waiting with a chopper, DJ chases after them,and attempts to use his rocket powered pants to get him to the top of the Eiffel Tower,after the pants take off (without DJ in them),DJ is laughed at by a family of tourist bears,and seeing the Father bear had pants,DJ takes his pants,and gets up to the top of the Eiffel Tower just in time to see Mr.Smith and Kate flying away,Kate,dsperately trying to hold on,looses her grip and falls,DJ does a leap and follows her,catching her in mid air,and using his grappeling hook to hook on to a beam,he swings safely to the grond with Kate (grabbing flowers and candy for her in the process) and lands in a cafe next to Bugs and Daffy who are waiting for them. The heroes then travel to Africa where they hitch a ride on an elephant ridden by Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird and Granny (June Foray). Bugs remarks that "it quite a coincidence seeing them here" which Granny and Sylvester reply with a sly laugh, They soon find the ancient tempel,and after finding a small monkey figure,Daffy mistakingly believes it's the Blue Monkey,Kate then sees that the figure is actually part of a puzzle and puts the figure in a small pattern,immediately,darts and arrows start shooting in all directions and DJ uses his sword to block them while Daffy gets hit with a few. After Kate moves the figure in the right position,the tempel opens up,and the real Blue Monkey is revealed! Daffy instantly goes gaga for the huge blue diamond and tries to grab it,but DJ prevents him,while holding the statue with the diamond with it up in the sun light,DJ is suddenly transformed into a monkey! while Daffy attempts to grab the diamond and leave,Bugs stops him and tells him to change DJ back to a human,after DJ is turned back from a monkey,Granny and the others reveal themselves to be Mr. Chairman, Mr. Smith and the Tasmanian Devil. Mr. Chairman uses a disintegration pistol to transport himself and the heroes to ACME Headquarters and gains the diamond The diamond is taken to a satellite by Marvin; Mr. Chairman explaining he will fire an energy beam worldwide which will turn everyone into monkeys aside from himself and his love interest,Mary (Mary Woronov) one of the ACME Board members. DJ and Kate,after freeing themselves from a rope and distracting a giant robot dog save Damian from being killed by a speeding train driven by Wile E. Coyote, DJ jumps and grabs Damien just in time before the train hits him; Wile E. Coyote,upset at the lose,then notices all the lit explosives that were originally on the train trcks next to Damien and are are now on the front of the train and promptly blows up. Bugs and Daffy chase Marvin to the satellite, and while Bugs fights Marvin, Daffy becomes Duck Dodgers and manages to destroy the satellite by plugging its dish with his beak. Bugs defeats Marvin by overloading his own bubble gun. The energy beam strikes Mr. Chairman, turning him into a monkey (Frank Welker).DJ's dad Damien arrests the now monkey-fied Mr. Chaiman and as they're leaving Daffy learns the entire adventure was part of Bugs' film, but Bugs suggests the two become equal; Daffy starts cheering until he is flattened by the Looney Tunes' title iris ironically. While Porky Pig (Bob Bergen) tries to say his ending line,"Th-th-th-that's all folks," the studio starts to close. After that, when it's almost pitch black, Porky tells the audience to go home. In the credits we see drawn characters from the movie. In the post credits scene Daffy goes back to the casino and pulls a trick on Nasty Canasta and Cottontail Smith (The two hench men that pair with Yosemite Sam in the casino scenes). Cast and characters Joe Alaskey as Daffy Duck,Bugs Bunny, Sylvester,Beaky Buzzard,Mama Bear
- Jeff Bennett as Foghorn Leghorn,Yosemite Sam,Nasty Canasta
- Bob Bergen as Porky Pig, Ham And Ex, Charlie Dog
- Danny Chambers as Cottontail Smith
- June Foray as Granny
- Brendan Fraser as Tasmanian Devil, Tasmanian She-Devil
- Casey Kasem as Shaggy
- Danny Mann as Robo Dog, Spy Car
- Will Ryan as Papa Bear
- Frank Welker as Scooby-Doo, Barnyard Dawg
- Billy West as Elmer Fudd, Peter Lorre, The Scream Man
- Brendan Fraser - Himself, D.J. Drake
- Jenna Elfman - Kate Houghton
- Steve Martin - Mr. Chairman
- Timothy Dalton - Damien Drake
- Heather Locklear - Dusty Tails
- Joan Cusack - Mother
- Jeff Gordon - Himself
- Matthew Lillard - Himself
- Mary Woronov - Acme VP, Bad Ideas
- Marc Lawrence - Acme VP, Stating the Obvious
- Bill McKinney - Acme VP, Nitpicking
- George Murdock - Acme VP, Unfairly Promoted
- Robert Picardo - Acme VP, Rhetorical Questions
- Ron Perlman - Acme VP, Never Learning
- Vernon Wells - Acme VP, Child Labor
- Leo Rossi - Acme VP, Climbing to the Top
- Peter Graves - Civil Defense Film Host (uncredited)
This was the final film Jerry Goldsmith composed music for. Due to Goldsmith's failing health, the last reel of the film was actually scored by John Debney, though Goldsmith was the only credited composer in marketing materials and the Varèse Sarabande soundtrack album only contains Goldsmith's music (although the first and last cues are adaptations of compositions heard in Warner Bros. cartoons). Debney receives an "Additional Music by" credit in the closing titles of the film and "Special Thanks" in the soundtrack album credits.
Life Story - Carl Stalling (:18) What’s Up? (1:24) Another Take (:48) Dead Duck Walking (3:13) Out of the Bag (3:42) Blue Monkey (:54) In Style (1:09) The Bad Guys (2:57) Car Trouble (3:45) Thin Air (1:24) ( a version of the well known Powerhouse theme is heard.) Area 52 (1:27) Hot Pursuit (2:26) We’ve Got Company (1:50) I’ll Take That (1:19) Paris Street (1:21) Free Fall (1:15) Tasmanian Devil (1:10) Jungle Scene (1:40) Pressed Duck (3:22) Re-Assembled (:50) Merry Go Round Broke Down - Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin (:16)
The following songs are heard in the movie but not on the soundtrack album:
"Play That Funky Music" - Vanilla Ice (plays in Batmobile scene) "Viva Las Vegas" - Elvis Presley (plays during Bugs Bunny and Kate's journey to Las Vegas) "Move Your Feet" - Junior Senior (plays as Daffy and D.J. approach Las Vegas) "If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy)" - Backstreet Boys [Sang from the opposite sex approach] "Hey Driver" - Lucky Boys Confusion (plays during the chase scene) "Come Fly with Me" - Michael Bublé (plays as the spy car is flying) "Shake Your Coconuts" - Junior Senior (first section of end credits) "Wal-Mart" - Chorus (Song when Wal-Mart is shown in the movie)
Production notes and interesting facts Edit
Originally the movie was to be called Spy Jam, a follow-up to Space Jam, and was going to star Jackie Chan in Brendan Fraser's role, but Chan quit due to production disputes. This was the third live-action/animated film ever to feature on classic Warner Bros. cartoon characters. (Warner Bros. characters were also featured in Disney's Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam, which possess similar combined live action/animation themes.) Brendan Fraser did such a good job doing an impersonation of Taz that he was allowed to do the voice. During filming, Brendan Fraser was completely terrified at having to hit Bill Goldberg; Goldberg constantly told him to go ahead and do it, telling him, "It's what I do for a living." The character animation in this film was traditionally hand-drawn. Computer technology was used to color the animation drawings in, add tone mattes and shadows to the characters, and composite them over the live-action backgrounds. Computer animation was used on props that are held by the cartoon characters, such as a magnifying glass, a screenplay, and Bugs' carrots in the cafeteria, as well as larger objects, such as the spaceships, Wile E. Coyote's missile, and the robot guard dog at the end. Film director Joe Dante nicknamed this project, the Anti-Space Jam movie, showing his disdain for Space Jam. Deleted scenes on the DVD release reveal that the film's opening and closing scenes were much different. In the original opening, Daffy gives a plot to the Warner Brothers involving him being a superhero and fighting Elmer Fudd dressed as an insane clown riding in a large robot which is destroyed by Daffy. The brothers and Elmer object to the fact Elmer is killed in the story. The film's ending ended in the monkey ruins in the African jungle. Tweety accompanies DJ, Bugs, Daffy and Kate to the temple but is blasted by the Blue Monkey and falls into a lava pool to his death. However, he rises again as a prehistoric pterosaur who eats Mr. Chairman and the Blue Monkey. Most characters temporarily de-evolved in this scene due to being hit by the Blue Monkey's ray: Bugs into earlier animation models, Daffy into an egg, Damian Drake into a monkey, and Kate into a cave-woman.While this alternative ending was never used in the finshed film,the basic idea was used in the Looney Tune Back In Action video game,with Tweety becoming pterosaur after being blasted by the Blue Monkey to battle that game's final Boss. John Cleese made a brief cameo in the film during the Paris sequence but his cameo role was cut out because it serves no purpose to the movie itself. This movie is the last known cinema release to feature actor Peter Graves, though he is uncredited. Bosko`s laugh can be heared when Daffy smacks DJ`s lips. Several references to the Cult classic 1980's Warner Brothers movie "Gremlins" are seen in the movie,most notably during the scenes with DJ's Gremlin,when small pieces of "Gremlins" theme is heard in the backround, Joe Dante was Director of both "Gremlins" and Looney Tunes Back In Action and these references were an homage to Dante's work in that film
Reception and legacy Edit
Budgeted at $80 million, but grossing only around US$21 million (US$68 million worldwide), Looney Tunes: Back in Action was a large flop. There were multiple causes to the film's demise theatrically. On the front of family films, Looney Tunes: Back in Action was sandwiched between the releases of Elf and The Cat in the Hat, resulting in Looney Tunes: Back in Action being lost in the shuffle. It should also be noted that this film was released the same month as another Warner Brothers film The Matrix Revolutions, which the studio put more advertising money behind. Only the barest minimum of promotions were done to advertise the film, limited to advertising with the film's promotional partners (Wal Mart,Sprint, McDonald's, Aflac, among others) and very few television ads. Also, very little merchandise directly based on the film was released beyond toys made by Mattel,a junior novelization and a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament,among others. However, it was more critically successful, receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics, and also was more critically successful than the previous Looney Toons movie Space Jam. As of March 28, 2011, the film scores a 56% "Rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes; however, at Metacritic, the film ranks 64, with "generally favorable reviews". The film's poor box-office results sadly discouraged Warner Bros. from releasing the newer Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry shorts that Warner Bros. Animation had completed, and they cancelled those in production.
Roger Ebert awarded the film three stars out of four.
The film was nominated for Saturn Award for Best Animated Film, Annie Award for Best Animated Feature and Satellite Award for Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature While the film didn't make as much money as Warner Brothers would've liked,due to tough competitition from other big name films that were released around that same time ,Looney Tunes;Back In Action is now a Cult favourite today,and for it's homage to the classic Looney Tunes cartoons of old and it's wacky and hilarious plot and colourful funny characters,Looney Tunes ;Back In Action is the best film for anyone who just can't get enough of the classic and timeless comedy of the Looney Tunes!