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Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection(1939-1951)
No synopsis for Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection.
For more about Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection and the Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray release, see Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Margaret Hill-Talbot, Michael Maltese, Tedd Pierce, Stan Freberg, Mel Blanc
Director: Chuck Jones
» See full cast & crew
Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray Review
"Mouses don't try to catch a cat. What would a mouse do with a cat if a mouse could caught a cat?"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 26, 2012
Quick: name three classic cartoon mice. If you rattled off Mickey, Mighty and Jerry, you're not alone. Far from it. If Sniffles or Hubie and Bertie came to mind, though, count yourself among a very small (but very lucky) group of animation connoisseurs well-acquainted with some of legendary animator Chuck Jones' early, more obscure Warner Bros. toons; once-beloved characters that, one day, not too far in the future, might just scurry out of their holes and find a world that has forgotten them altogether. When the vast majority of you were children, there weren't sixteen different kids' channels waiting for you when you got home from school. There was no Cartoon Network, no Boomerang. Before 1979, there was no Nickelodeon. Before 1983, there was no Disney Channel. There certainly wasn't a block of sixty-three Nickelodeons, divided by average audience ages no less, or ninety-two Disney Channels, designed to breed two-thousand pop star hopefuls per hour. There weren't even DVRs capable of recording anything and everything an impressionable tot could ever want to watch. Children of the '80s and '90s weren't just weened on Transformers and Ninja Turtles; they grew up watching and cherishing the same classic cartoons their parents and grandparents watched when they were young. Kids today are inundated with countless cartoons and series, all vying for their affection and merchandised dollar. They don't have access to the Greats as you and I did.
It's for that reason that the importance of releases like the Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles can't be overstated. They're not just for the "Adult Collector," as the back of the Chuck Jones Collection and others like it insist. They're for collectors and a whole new generation of kids who, if not for the intervention of their nostalgic parents, might never know the joys of watching these Golden Age Warner Bros. animated shorts.
Like the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection and Looney Tunes Platinum Collection before it, the Chuck Jones Collection assembles an assortment of classic animated shorts -- some familiar, some not-so-familiar -- and, for those paying attention, puts them in chronological context. It isn't a complete 1930s-50s Chuck Jones anthology, or even an extensive history of his early work. It does, however, offer two complete collections: one of theatrical shorts starring Sniffles and the other of shorts starring troublemaking duo Hubie and Bertie (who undergo a dramatic seven-short evolution).
Even shorts that feature gags, setups or premises some would deem inappropriate or offensive are included. (In "Naughty but Mice," Sniffles mistakes hard liquor for cold medicine. Cue unnecessary gasps of overprotective parents.) Very little of it is actually offensive, mind you (the mild racially charged imagery being the most questionable), at least not when considering the era in which each one was produced. But someone, somewhere will cringe. Worse, someone, somewhere will decide their kids aren't ready to handle something like a drunken mouse... as if such a thing couldn't be used to teach an invaluable lesson on the dangers of irresponsible drinking. But I digress. Even the bulk of Jones' harmless, animal-in-slapstick-peril shorts deliver a brand of humor, wit and visual whimsy often missing from modern animated TV series. I'd pit Hubie and Bertie against SpongeBob and Patrick any day of the week. The Bikini Bottom gang (and their Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network ilk) tend to leave my son grinning, even when it's clear he doesn't get many of the jokes being spewed on the ocean floor. Hubie and Bertie? They left him laughing out loud.
The remastering -- or rather the rebirth -- afforded to each short is quite remarkable, despite the fact that it doesn't seem to have involved a full-blown restoration. None of the animated gems look as if they rolled off Jones' desk yesterday, but a filmic faithfulness permeates most every frame, lending legitimacy to their presentation. There also isn't much room for improvement; at least none that purists wouldn't rightfully criticize. Yes, scratches, hairs, dust and other inherent imperfections are present. Yes, grain is intact, heavy at times, and varies from short to short. And yes, color and contrast are dialed in accurately, not tweaked to 21st century standards.
The shorts themselves, meanwhile, remain lively, funny and entertaining. Modern cartoons, in this middle-aged dad's humble opinion, have been slowly and steadily declining in quality since the end of the Filmation era in the early '80s; perhaps even as early as the end of the Chuck Jones era in the late '60s. And that decline is never more apparent than when revisiting classic animation from the past, reconnecting with old favorites, introducing your kids to the cartoons that delighted you as a child, and watching your sons and daughters enjoy them as much as you once did. Sniffles, Hubie and Bertie may not be Micky, Mighty or Jerry, but don't be so quick to dismiss Jones' early shot at building a Mouse House of his own.
The nineteen theatrical shorts in the Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles include:
Disc One: Sniffles
Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality
Could Warner's remastering efforts and subsequent 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation look much better? That depends on your definition of better. Flickering, telecine wobble, print blemishes and other inherent inconsistencies are prevalent, particularly in the earliest Sniffles shorts, and black levels are a touch heavy, although perhaps just to my eye. Still, most, if not all of these issues trace back to the source, making the resulting transfer a tussle between faithfulness and what would have been a more invasive overhaul. Purists, collectors and videophiles will appreciate Warner's dedication to the original appearance and texture of the shorts. More casual viewers may lament the sometimes aggressive grain, intermittent nicks and scratches, and several other anomalies; eyesores many other studios would have eliminated without a second thought. But as far as I'm concerned, there's very, very little to complain about. A hyper-polished presentation wouldn't satisfy those with an affinity for Jones' early work anyway, and such drastic cleanup work would only risk tarnishing the very animation being rejuvenated. I applaud Warner's continued devotion to the source above all, be it a collection starring Tom and Jerry, the Looney Tunes bunch, or more obscure characters like Sniffles, Hubie and Bertie.
Everyone, though, will agree that the early Jones shorts have never looked better than they do here. Colors are vibrant and playful, especially once Hubie and Bertie enter the fray, and contrast and clarity are striking. Line art is clean and smooth, painted backgrounds and inserts are lovely, and eagle-eyed animation aficionados will even be able to spot the ever so slight variations in the coloring of animated elements. Grain is also crisp and nicely preserved, as are the mis-strokes and mistakes -- ahem... personal touches -- in the original hand-drawn animation. I did notice some slight banding on occasion (let me stress slight) and a few errant artifacts that snuck their way into the grain field. None of it is cause for any serious concern, thankfully, and nothing else should raise any red flags. Even with three seventy-three-year-old shorts in tow, The Chuck Jones Collection doesn't disappoint. Is it a perfect restoration? No. A strong remaster? Absolutely.
Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The low point of The Chuck Jones Collection is undoubtedly its 192kbps Dolby Digital single-channel mono track. While a DTS-HD MA mix would have probably only offered a marginal improvement, it would have been lossless and, for all intents and purposes, ideal. That's not to suggest such a mix would have resolved all of the shorts' issues -- some feature crisp, clear voices and bright, eager sound effects; others suffer at the hands of a dull, listless soundscape -- but if paired with a more thorough audio restoration, the results would have presumably been worth the time and investment. As is, dialogue is generally intelligible and peppy (despite some muffled exchanges here and there), mouse-trap snaps and prowling cat rowrs are effective on the whole, and the shorts' orchestral music isn't too canned or bottled up. (Too.) All in all, it's a serviceable track, which isn't saying a whole lot.
Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If you have any fondness for Sniffles or Hubie and Bertie, or nostalgia for the early work of Chuck Jones, Mouse Chronicles is for you. If you've never heard of Sniffles, Hubie or Bertie, well, Mouse Chronicles is for you too. Blu-ray releases like The Chuck Jones Collection preserve classic shorts that might otherwise fall into complete obscurity, making this an excellent opportunity to discover or rediscover a trio of animated mice you might not remember so well, if at all. Light on extras and saddled with lossy audio, it isn't a perfect release. But its excellent video presentation, not to mention the nineteen classic theatrical shorts it offers, more than make up for it. Pair this one with a pre-order of Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection, Vol. 2 and Tom & Jerry: Golden Collection, Vol. 2 and you'll be all set.
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• Exclusive Giveaway: Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles - August 26, 2012
Blu-ray.com and Warner Home Video are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: Chuck Jones Collection, featuring nineteen remastered theatrical shorts starring Sniffles, Hubie and Bertie. Renowned animator Chuck Jones' ...
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