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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Action > Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. One through Five + Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection (Warner Home Video)

Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. One through Five + Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection (Warner Home Video)


Picture: B- Sound: C+ Extras: A Shorts: A



From the VHS & Beta days to some fine 12 LaserDiscs, Warner Home Video issued some fine, fun collections of their Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies series. When DVD finally arrived, many wondered where the shorts were. When Warner merged with Turner Entertainment, they got their older films back, but with the rest of the catalog came more responsibility to fix and preserve it. They settled on a great formula for DVD of sets with extras within and outside of the shorts. First came the early volumes of The Looney Tunes Golden Collection.


To their advantage, they added isolated music tracks (sometimes with sound effects) and even audio commentaries by scholars like Jerry Beck, Paul Dini, Eric Goldberg, Daniel Goldmark and Mark Kausler, as well as the legends who made them, including Frank Tashlin, June Foray, Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng. The good news is that the shorts were choice picks and each set was rich in content you could watch and rewatch for weeks on end. Less extensive, expensive double DVD sets dubbed Spotlight Collections were even issued separately along with each set for those who wanted less.


All the shorts are 1.33 X 1 and whether in black & white or color, were some of the best-looking and memorable animated shorts ever made. The problem with the first three volumes was quality control. Some of the transfers were fuzzy, substandard, faded or have some damaged frames, while the Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in too many cases (especially frustrating when the image looked good) would be so compressed and/or distorted it ruined watching that short.


By the fourth volume, things improved with better quality control and that is likely because of more than a few complaints from fans. Therefore, the fourth and fifth volumes were much better overall in playback quality, though all have included bonus shorts that show restoration and preservation work is still needed to save this massive catalog.


Warner has extended this treatment to other shorts collections like their Popeye series and MGM holdings like Droopy and Tom & Jerry (all reviewed elsewhere on this site), even extending to a fine compilation dubbed the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection. This 3-DVD set combined all of the above with some classic MGM shorts we might not otherwise see and the first of the Fleischer Superman shorts, an all time classic that should head off a special edition collection of its own when they can do HD versions of all.


The Looney Tunes Golden Collection will conclude with a sixth and final installment we will look at separately, as the studio gears up to reissue all these shorts and more on Blu-ray. A few were already featured on the Blu-ray (and out of print HD-DVD of the 1938 Adventures Of Robin Hood, reviewed separately elsewhere on this site) showing how promising those releases are. The older sets will become cheaper and this will hopefully only be the very beginning of all studios giving their shorts catalogs this much respect.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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