Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Back in Action Alternate Opening
I really wanted to like 2003's Looney Tunes: Back in Action more than I did. I remember buying into the hype of how this was finally going to be the modern-day LT project that brought the characters back to their roots and would finally wipe away the stench of the likes of Space Jam, Baby Looney Tunes, et al. Well, the release day finally came and it still stands out in my mind as one of the most depressing movie going experiences I have had in recent memory. Sure, Space Jam has aged terribly and I will probably never own the DVD, but I remember seeing it in a packed house with an audience who was really in to it. On the other hand, I saw BIA in a nearly-empty theater (maybe five or six others, including some rather uninterested kiddies). I think you could have heard the crickets chirping (a la "Show Biz Bugs"). What went wrong?
The movie had some super talent on board, folks who cared about the Looney Tunes characters like director Joe Dante and animator Eric Goldberg... but the plot of the movie is where it crashed and burned. Despite the dozens of rewrites, the whole thing felt half-baked and overloaded with too many smug, Hollywood in-jokes for its own good (see also - The Rocky & Bullwinkle Movie, many Animaniacs cartoons). It's no wonder it didn't catch on with mainstream audiences. Don't get me wrong, there are some bright spots in the finished film... but for every bright spot, there are also embarrassingly unfunny scenes like the one with Brendan Fraser prancing around with midgets in Yosemite Sam masks. Another problem was how the LT characters took a backseat to the uninteresting live-action lead characters. The finished film feels like a Brendan Fraser/Jenna Elfman movie that just happens to have some cartoon characters in it. Perhaps a mostly animated "buddy" comedy starring Bugs and Daffy (minus the hammy human co-stars) would have made a more satisfying final product.
Anyway, I bring up the movie since I discovered someone posted the complete original opening (Daffy envisioning himself as the star of a Batman-like action movie) to YouTube. It was released as an excerpt (with Daffy's "commentary") on the official DVD, but here it is in its entirety. I actually think it's funnier than the rehash of "Rabbit Fire" that ended up kicking off the finished film.