[MOVIE REVIEW]‘Looney’ befits this film, but not because it’s funWhat is worse, a Chinese martial arts movie dubbed in English or a Looney Tunes movie dubbed in Korean? While viewing lips that are moving out of sync with the words spoken is always annoying, there is something funny about a Chinese kung fu movie in English. Humor is not the goal, and that is why it is funny.
On the other hand, “Eh, what’s up Doc?" loses its effect when translated into Korean. Throw Brendan Fraser into the equation, and you have an idiot caveman who always ends up entwined with Jenna Elfman but fails to sizzle on screen with her. While Steve Martin seemed to be having fun playing an evil chairman, he looked cartoonish compared to Elfman and Timothy Dalton.
The real star of “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” is Eric Goldberg, the film’s animation director. In one sequence, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd jump into the paintings in the Louvre in Paris. Salvador Dali’s surrealism and Seurat’s pointilist paintings become the background for some gleefully inspired wackiness.
For less high brow references, there are scenes stolen from Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. While nowhere near as funny as the Louvre scene, these types of pop culture cameos are littered throughout the movie.
After more than 70 years, Looney Tunes is also part of today’s pop culture, and “Back in Action” is, in a way, a spoof of itself. Just about the entire looney cast appears, from Wiley Coyote to Speedy Gonzalez to Marvin the Martian.
Which brings us to the plot, if it could even be called one. Daffy Duck is facing a showdown with his long time rival, Bugs Bunny, and the board of directors. Daffy means to prove that he’s just as popular as Bugs, and deserves a salary raise. Kate Houghton (Elfman) boots him out of the company.
Daffy ends up joining forces with D.J. Drake (Fraser) who is looking for his father, Damien Drake (Dalton). Not only has the real Dalton starred as James Bond, but Dalton’s character, Damien, also plays a movie star spy who is a spy in real life. Damien the spy has been searching for the Blue Monkey Diamond, which has the power to turn people into apes. The evil chairman also wants the diamond.
Meanwhile, Houghton realizes that the rabbit needs a foil; he is not funny without the duck. So she races after Daffy and D.J., a chase that takes them from Hollywood to Las Vegas to Paris and Africa.
While you have just read the plot in English, it could have been in another language and made just as much sense -- like as in none. The audience did laugh at some of the appropriate moments, but a few people left early. If you are planning to see “Back in Action,” make sure to leave your brain at home so it will not be seriously damaged by the inanity of it all.
“Looney Tunes: Back in Action”
Animation / English
by Joe Yong-hee