Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Dante Produced by Allison Abbate
Written by Larry Doyle Starring Brendan Fraser
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Dean Cundey Editing by Rick Finney
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures Release date(s) November 14, 2003 Running time 91 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $80 million Box office $68,514,844
Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a 2003 American live action/animated adventure comedy film directed by Joe Dante and starring 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. It is the third live action/animated movie the characters were featured in, the first being Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the second being Space Jam. The film became a box-office bomb, making little money 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.
Tired of playing second fiddle to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck demands his own movie from the Warner Brothers only to be fired by VP of Comedy Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman). DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser), son of action star Damian Drake (Timothy Dalton), is also fired from his job as a security guard when trying to escort Daffy from the studios, driving the Batmobile into the studio's watertower which falls on Kate's car. Kate 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. 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 diamond called the Blue Monkey. DJ and Daffy head out in an old AMC Gremlin car. Bugs and Kate arrive at the house after Bugs calls Daffy and learns the situation, and pursue them in Damian's spy car, a TVR Tuscan right hand drive. Also after the diamond are the Acme Corporation run by Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) who plans to use the diamond to take over the world and sell more Acme merchandise.
DJ and Daffy arrive in Las Vegas and find Dusty Tails performing at a casino run by Yosemite Sam. Dusty gives DJ a playing card with the Mona Lisa's face on it. Yosemite Sam, working for Acme, pursues DJ and Daffy across the city, leading to a car chase with Bugs and Kate being dragged into the mayhem when DJ takes the wheel of the spy car (Danny Mann). The heroes escape via the spy car's flight ability whilst Yosemite Sam crashes into his own casino. The spy car crashes in Death Valley where the heroes conviently find a Wal-Mart thanks to Kate's desire for more product placement. Mr. Chairman sends in Wile E. Coyote to kill the heroes but he fails via a misdirected missile. The heroes wander into Area 52, Area 51 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 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 and a group of famous aliens (including 2 Daleks) attack, but the heroes escape. They conclude 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 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, henchman of Mr. Chairman, steals Kate's phone. The heroes travel to Africa where they hitch a ride on an elephant ridden by Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird and Granny. They find the diamond and a temple, but 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. Mr Smith is revealed to be the Tasmanian she-devil.
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. DJ and Kate save Damian from being killed and Wile E. Coyote blows up in a train. 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. Later, 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 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 that pair with Yosemite Sam in his casino scenes).
- Brendan Fraser as D.J. Drake, a stuntman who wishes to make his father proud.
- Jenna Elfman as Kate Houghton, the icy VP of comedy at the Warner Bros. Studios with a secret crush on Damian.
- Steve Martin as Mr. Chairman, the immature and comedic head of the Acme Corporation.
- Timothy Dalton as Damien Drake, A famous action film star and DJ's father.
- Heather Locklear as Dusty Tails, A friend of Damien who works in Las Vegas.
- Joan Cusack as Mother, A scientist at Area 52 and DJ's mother.
- Bill Goldberg as Mr. Bob Smith, Mr. Chairman's minion.
- Jeff Gordon as Himself
- Matthew Lillard as Himself
- Mary Woronov as Herself, Acme VP, Bad Ideas, a stuttering woman who Mr. Chairman likes.
- Marc Lawrence as Acme VP, Stating the Obvious, Mr. Chairman's father.
- Bill McKinney as Acme VP, Nitpicking
- George Murdock as Acme VP
- Robert Picardo as Acme VP, Rhetorical Questions.
- Ron Perlman as Acme VP, Never Learning
- Vernon Wells as Acme VP, Child Labor, a cruel man who dislikes children.
- Leo Rossi as Acme VP, Climbing to the Top
- Dick Miller as Studio Guard
- Peter Graves as Civil Defense Film Host (uncredited)
- Dakota Fanning as Little Girl on Tour (uncredited)
- Michael Jordan as himself (uncredited cameo)
- Mel Blanc as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Beaky Buzzard and Mama Bear
- Mel Blanc as Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam and Nasty Canasta
- Mel Blanc as Porky Pig
- Danny Chambers as Cottontail Smith
- June Foray as Granny
- Mel Blanc as Gremlin Car (an archived recording)
- Eric Goldberg as Marvin the Martian, Michigan J. Frog, Speedy Gonzales and Tweety Bird
- Danny Mann as Robo Dog and Spy Car
- Mel Blanc as Papa Bear
- Mel Blanc as Elmer Fudd, Peter Lorre, The Scream Man
- Mel Blanc as Road Runner
- Mel Blanc as Tasmanian Devil, Tasmanian She-Devil
- Mel Blanc as Baby Bear
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)
- "Jerk It Out" - Caesars (second section of end credits)
- "Wal-Mart" - Chorus (Song when Wal-Mart is shown in the movie)
Budgeted at $80 million, but grossing only around US$21 million (US$68 million worldwide), Looney Tunes: Back in Action was a financial 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 (Sprint, McDonald's, Aflac, among others) and very few television ads. Also, very little merchandise directly based on the film was released beyond some toys made by M and M's, a junior novelization, and a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament. However, it was more critically successful, receiving mixed to positive reviews from critics, and also was more critically successful than the previous Looney Tunes 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 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
- ^ Looney Tunes: Back in Action soundtrack review at Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
- ^ Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved on January 25, 2008.
- ^ a b Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide.
- ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Joe Dante Calls the Toon" (2003). Chicago Reader. Retrieved on 2008-01-25.
- ^ Ebert, Roger (2003). "Movie Review: Looney Tunes: Back in Action". Chicago Sun-Times. Rogerebert.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031114/REVIEWS/311140303/1023. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- ^ "Looney Tunes: Back in Action". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/looney_tunes_back_in_action/. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- ^ "Looney Tunes: Back in Action". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/looneytunesbackinaction?q=Looney%20Tunes:%20Back%20in%20Action. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- ^ Looney Tunes: Back in Action trivia at the Internet Movie Database.
- Official website
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action at the Internet Movie Database
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action at Rotten Tomatoes
Looney Tunes films TheatricalSpace Jam · Looney Tunes: Back in Action Featurettes Direct-to-video DocumentariesBugs Bunny: Superstar · Chuck Amuck: The Movie CompilationsBugs BunnyDaffy Duck Cameos Works directed by Joe Dante Films1970sHollywood Boulevard (1976) · Piranha (1978)1980s1990s2000sLooney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) · The Hole (2009) Television seriesThe Twilight ZoneThe Shadow Man (1985)Homecoming (2005) • The Screwfly Solution (2006) Television films
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