Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MR Bah, Humduck!

Movie: Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas
Directed by Charles Visser
Release date 2006
Genre Animated Christmas special
Country USA

Based on the timeless classic Charles Dickens tale "A Christmas Carol", Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas was the first new Looney Tunes film in years since Looney Tunes: Back in Action back in 2003.

This appropriately named film "Bah, Humduck!" uses our classic toon characters in the well known familiar roles.

This story has been done so many times, it's easy to not get that much enthusiastic about yet another retelling.

This Looney Tunes Christmas Special isn't the first one to use popular characters in the roles Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. There's been countless retellings of Diclens' classic, turning other popular shows into new adaptations of this tale, from The Simpsons, The Flintstones, The Muppets and even the very same Looney Tunes got the occasion to already play these parts in the past before.

Only this time it's an hour and half-long feature instead of a simple animated short.

Let's take a look...

In this classic Holiday tale, we are introduced to Daffy Duck, head of a huge megastore in this incarnation, Lucky Duck Superstore.

Bugs Bunny is our de facto-narrator and point of view.

It's December 24th and Daffy's making his employees work all day long, they can't catch a break or even get to see their families. And the story will even be reopened the next day for all customers.

It's a Daffy very much in line with his 1950s jerk persona. Here, a big annoyance and snobbish to boot. Bugs warns him this won't end well if he can't go easy on the people around him, he might end up miserable and alone.

Daffy throws Bugs outside... only to want him by his side later on that night as he is visited by several ghosts with a warning!

He first gets a warning by the ghost of Sylvester the Cat, previously the owner of Bix Box store who also treated his employees badly until they ran him over! Three more ghosts soon visit him afterwards, which each new one counting down his ultimate demise if he can't change his ways.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past are represented here by Tweety & Granny, we get to see how Daffy was in an orphanage and grew up to despise Christmas. Yosemite Sam takes the role of Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows Daffy how he's seen by others and how Christmas is looking up from Porky and his daughter Priscilla's side. Finally Taz the Ghost Of Christmas Future comes for Daffy...

This Christmas tale was already rendered through the Looney Tunes interpretation in Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol, an 8-minute short back in 1979 with Yosemite Sam in the role of Scrooge originally. But I got to say Daffy in the role of Scrooge was not only fitting but perhaps a better take on the character.

With these super familiar stories, it's more about how the plot can this time be played with, with different settings and through other characters, than the originality of it all.

The first thing that comes to mind will looking at Bah, Humduck! is how great looking the picture is. This is your regular classic Looney Toons, albeit with colors a bit more modernized and flashy.

Only the animation really shows the small budget of this kind of direct-to-video production. It's decent, mind you, but far from a big budget animated feature film.

But don't let that put you down.

Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas is a fun modern animated film, such a rare occurrence nowadays.

Usually simply having Looney Tunes around in modern cartoons tend to make Warner Bros produce cheap cash-in animation and, for a lack of a better world, not be much creative.

Daffy & co look great, with their classic appearance. There's plenty of cameos from old obscure toons and favorite character all around the store. From Gossamer to Marvin the Martian. Each shot has a ton of references. Sure, some old favorites might not have much screentime, but at least they tried incorporating as many characters as possible (I'm thinking about Pepé Le Pew here).

The film features a great cast of talented voice actors. Joe Alaskey reprises the voice of Daffy, a role he had taken over since the 2000s, after voicing Plucky Duck back in Tiny Toons. Daffy Duck might be the main character, but he simply steals the show for his other co-stars.

The others are not on rest, we also have the great Billy West, Jim Cummings, Tara Strong and Maurice LaMarche as the other toons.

Finally, Bah, Humduck! features a brilliant soundtrack, which I'd dare even recommend on its own! This great score was provided by Gordon Goodwin's "Big Phat Band". It will be pretty familiar to cartoons fans, very reminiscent of his work on Animaniacs. Fantastic and appropriate, it follows the slapstick on screen and bring that Holiday spirit to life.

Overall, it's a fun Christmas special done right. Not great, far from it. But it does the job pretty well, and without it being to cheesy or forced on the characters.

They end up fitting and matching their roles pretty well.

Sure, it is yet another rendition of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol",  everyone's seen their share of adaptations. But it's also far from the worst.

There's some great scenes to enjoy for everyone, children and adults will have a great time. Some funny puns. And the film does manage to find its heart warming moments.

Fun and fast paced. Certainly not perfect but a decent entry in the Looney Tunes franchise.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Felixes!

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