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“Daffy’s Rhapsody” talkback

Far be it from me to urge you to see this weekend’s number 3 film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – but it is accompanied by the four-minute 3D animated short Daffy’s Rhapsody. Based on the 1953 Mel Blanc recording (written by original Looney Tunes scribes Michael Maltese and Warren Foster), this is director Matthew O’Callaghan’s latest (and in my opinion, greatest) attempt to properly reposition the Looney Tunes in contemporary guise. Inspired by Blanc’s manic vocal track, the artists create a satisfying scenario and the appropriately zany visuals to match it.

But that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Unlike other talkback posts, I’ll allow any intelligent thoughts about the entire series of Looney Tunes 3D theatrical shorts in the comments below.

  • Deaniac

    I don’t care what anyone says, ReelFX continually impresses me with their work on these Looney Tunes shorts. I never thought it was possible to integrate stretch & squash/smear frames so organically in a CG enviorment like that, but the studio proved me wrong. Well played, Reel FX.

    On a minor note, you gotta love Billy West!

  • I think Reel FX (and these shorts in particular) have some of the greatest, most organic looking CG character animation to date. They capture the Looney Tunes incredibly well.

    My only complaint is that these shorts are always put in front of features I would rather not put down money to see. The only one I ever saw on the big screen was the first Coyote short, and that was at one of Ron Diamond’s Animation Show of Shows screenings.

    • Pez

      I think this problem dates back to “Runaway Brain” even.

  • I’m sorry, I don’t get it. Wasn’t this supposed to have been made using the original novelty recording that had the original vocals of Mel Blanc & Arthur Q, Bryan? Where does Billy West come into it?

    • John,

      The soundtrack of the new short contains Blanc’s vocals from the 1953 DAFFY DUCK’S RHAPSODY recording – In this new short, there is additional dialogue (and story) preceding the song, with Billy West providing Fudd’s voice.

      Arthur Q. Bryan was not on the original record. You can hear the original recording here.

      • Got it. Thanks for the info, fellow historian.

  • Roberto

    Well,I’ve only seen the Wile E. Coyote ones and segments of this one and Sylvester and Tweety’s, but I think I got the idea.

    On the plus side, those are the Looney Tunes in their natural enviroment, not sitcom stuff like The Looney Tunes Show.

    On the other hand they’re in CGI and in 3D.

    The CGI is done quite well…but it’s still CGI. I’m sorry but I think these characters in particular will always be cooler in traditional animation. But for the most part that is really well done, the only complaint is that they use too much fur and detail in the eyes. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs didn’t do that and the result was more cartoony. I must say the character animation is really good, though, they really capture the personality and movements of the Looney Tunes characters (I remember Sylvester imitating Tweety in the other short).

    The 3D is a bigger problem, too many close shots of the character faces that don’t really help the story and make the previous problem more evident.

    Finally, and most important, are they funny? Well, this Daffy one looks like it could be among the best ones but it still subordinated to that song. As for the Road Runner ones I thought only the first one was actually funny. The others seemed like they’re trying to surprise you with the 3D effects more than actually telling the joke.

    I should see the other ones, but I don’t think my opinion will change that much. Overall they are not an insult to the characters like those horrible Loonatics and Baby Looney Tunes things, and they’re somewhat interesting to watch, but I don’t think the Looney Tunes will come back with this effort either.

    Personally I am loving most of the recent “Merrie Melodies” video-clips in The Looney Tunes show, they are the only part that’s not boring and somewhat funny to listen and watch. I’d cancell the whole sitcom parts and would animate that video-clips in traditional animation with more budget and put it on theaters.But I’m a dreamer.

  • Joe

    I haven’t seen the full short yet, but thank you for posting the teaser! I see that there’s also a Bugs Bunny song on the flipside of the original album, so I guess we can hope that WB/ReelFX will also be making a short of that. How many other songs are out there that Mel Blanc recorded?

  • I enjoyed DAFFY’S RHAPSODY tremendously—much more than I figured I would. Except…

    When the pasteboard “hunter” figures on stage wheel about (twice) to become banjo-players, the music they play is completely out of tune with Daffy’s singing—and replaces the Liszt score completely during what was originally its most dynamic stretch. Odd, distracting decision.

  • Bob Harper

    From what I see from this and what I see from the Sylvester and Coyote shorts are neat. Not the same as the original, but something fun to see nevertheless. I just wish they were attached to movies I want to see.

  • Kyle Maloney

    Love it, can’t wait to see the full thing. Once again though they attach it to something I wouldn’t even bother renting. Why don’t they offer these shorts on itunes or something? I’d gladly pay for them.

  • Bud

    The cgi looks as if it were done in Asia somewhere (it probably was subcontracted out). It’s so manic and all over the place, with little in the way of resting spots. And the soundtrack is just obnoxious. There’s a reason they hadn’t used this, and this short explains it.

  • Bud

    I mean “used more prominently.”

  • Rufus

    Although it looks pretty good, I personally feel that the character designs lose about 60% of the appeal of their hand-drawn counterparts of yesteryear. Same goes for the animation. I’m losing faith that these cartoons will ever be as appealing as they used to be.

  • I’m really impressed on how they make the CGI in these 3-D Looney Tune shorts feel close to the squash and stretch animation you see in the old tradition hand-drawn pictures.

    I’m really hoping to see more of this for not just Looney Tunes, but for other CGI animated films.

    Also, Daffy is just as hilarious and zany as he was before he became obsessively competitive and greedy.

  • Bottom line, the best of these new 3D cg Looneys are nifty as all heck. Even the 3D Road Runners on the Looney Tunes TV show are nicely done, all things considered. Very View Master-y.

    A big question is: Why is Billy West starving himself? Is he vying for a swimsuit model career, or is he ill?

    • BP

      It’s called “losing weight”. Some people do that when they think they’re fat. West was packing quite a bit of weight several years ago.

  • Randy

    The heading should read “Sneak Peek” not “Sneak Peak.”
    A peak is the top of something, like a mountain.
    Seriously, does ANYONE proofread these things before they end up on the internet?????

    • Roful!


  • I love the stretch and squash that they put into the CG. Looks great. Is it me, or was the entire clip (including the live action lip sync) out of sync? That could explain some of the earlier above comments.

    Too bad they paired the short with a dog of a feature.

    • Pez

      “stretch and squash”??

      who says that?

      it’s “squash and stretch”

    • R. Araya

      At least it isn’t “Happy Feet 2”.

  • Old Man Father Time

    4 minutes?! Oh and here I thought the short was 2 and a half minutes like the ones with the Road Runner and Wile! Well that makes me feel better!

    The close-up shots are obviously included to “utilize” the 3D aspect, but to me, that’s not treating the technology with respect, that’s abusing it, daffy character or not. If they ever make a longer short like this, a tip would not to use the “pogo stick” effect! I agree, however, that this animation is some of the best natural cartoon animation used for CG I have ever seen in a short (“Horton” comes first in that regard in features)!

  • Meredith

    Happy to see a resurgence of gag shorts, even if it is in CG. I second the comment that I’d never see most of the movies they are attached to though.

  • Jesse Pindus

    My little niece (who has little no familiarity with the classic shorts)’s comment: Funny, but the characters looked weird.

  • As much as I would LOVE to, I haven’t seen any of these new shorts because of the movies they’re released with. Not going to sit through Journey 2, Yogi Bear, or American Treasure or whatever it was called. I hope a Blu-ray collection’s coming, though I regret missing out on the 3D. Not generally a 3D fan but I imagine these make use of it well.

  • Isaac

    The CGI is really impressive, I think they’ve finally figured out how to make cartoons using 3D models.

  • I’ve seen all except this newest one. I liked all the recent Road Runner cartoons especially the one with the bungee cord (I never remember the titles of even the classic Jones shorts). But I think O’Callaghan is obsessed with fur especially with Sylvester. I thought that cartoon was the weakest of the bunch, primarily because the visuals didn’t quite match the audio track. But Daffy’s Rhapsody looks to be lots of fun. And I have had that song on my music player for years (courtesy of the Dr Demento Show).

  • Brandon

    My review is here.

    I wish WB had promoted this one better, calling it a 75th anniversary short, or something. Why doesn’t WB (or any studio fro that matter) plug their animated shorts anymore?

  • TheDirtyVicar

    I’ve always LOVED this record! Why it wasn’t animated back in 1953 by the Jones or Freleng or McKimson crew, I’ll never know. It seems to be screaming for accompanying visuals. Also, it’s always nice to see the great, manic, insane, FUNNY Daffy again – instead of the bitter, angry, unfunny Daffy.

  • Gray64

    Yes! Let our cartoon characters be cartoon characters, for crying out loud. Leave bitter sociopathy passed off as edgy humor to network sitcommery.

  • Pez

    I think Warner needs to not render the character like they just stepped out of Happy feet, then the cgi cartoons will look just fine. All that hair and fuzz makes them look creepy. Rio has a nice flat appearance to the characters and the silhouettes read a little stronger thanks to the lighting style.

  • Dreamweaverx3

    I thought it was great. Went and saw journey 2, the short was a great surprise. Besides the CG, I thought it was true to the originals. I hope they make more.

    • …but was Journey 2 worth the feature film money one has to pay to go see a short?

  • AJ

    I’am pretty confident that these shorts will be released on dvd bundeled together and I look forward to it.

  • My only complaint is so much needless colors. It’s what bugs me so much about CGI

  • optimist

    These characters are exactly like Bogart, Bacall, and other live action stars from the period of their heyday: they were what they were while they lived and were in their prime and they cannot, and should not, be reanimated.

    Anyone remember the talk years ago about how Marilyn Monroe could be recreated using CG? It was all about how “accurately” she could be made to look like she was standing and posing in a new environment, but weirdly no one seemed to address the problem of who was going to BE her, to give her “new” performance. It’s as if “hey, if it LOOKS like them, there they are, alive again!”, as if those actors weren’t real, thinking people at any point in time but simply props.

    Well, they were real, and without Monroe’s or Bogart’s brain you’re shit out of luck getting a “new” Bogart or Marilyn performance from whatever gadget or prop you dress up and “film”.

    The same thing holds true for Bugs Bunny & co. The so-called “classic” WB characters were uniquely tied to several things: their directors, writers(yes, I mean Maltese et al), their animators, and the entire support staff of the WB Studios. And their time period. When those factors/resources eventually failed, even “Daffy” and “Bugs” weren’t truly themselves anymore but the cartoons kept getting churned out for a time & they made the crappy pastiches of the early 60s like “Mexicali Schmoes”. Nor were Chuck Jones lousy paintings of Bugs in the 90s the same Bugs, even though Chuck was doing them. Ditto Friz.

    These characters lived and thrived at a peak over a period of years due to many factors gelling just so. Merchandising in the present day I can see, sure, of course-why not? They existed, their work was solid and strong and we can still see and enjoy them, alive again, that way. But they can’t be brought back to life. The players and puppeteers have changed much too much. At best an approximation is all that’s possible and it’s just too distant, weak and removed.

    • Roberto

      Wow, and you call yourself “optimist”!:D

      I generally agree. I still think it would be possible-though really difficult and harsh- to recreate them in a pretty accurate way, more than recreating Marilyn or Bogart, cause the Looney Tunes characters weren’t real but the product of minds. Minds of real people, but their creations weren’t physical. So maybe a modern day person that had a close sensibility to the original authors could do something pretty close. Nobody has ever achieved it, so that seems to prove your theory, though I’d say Duck Dodgers series were pretty close, at least, in the portrait of the characters of Daffy/Dodgers and Porky/Cadet as depicted in the original Duck Dodgers short.

      To me these recreations of the Looney Tunes are a little too frequent. They try to make them popular by creating a lot of different type of series or shows in short periods of time, sometimes it doesn’t even matter if the quality is poor. Ideally these things would only be made as a labor of love, homages to the classics made by , at least, people that are really fans of the classics and have proved real talent. And of course, ideally, executives wouldn’t ruin it too much.

      Actually I guess I’m fine with the number of original Looney Tunes short that do exist. I haven’t still watched every one of them. However I’d really like someone to make a Looney Tunes movie that actually works. It’s something the creators never made, only as a collection of shorts, and nobody has achieved after them.

      I get the feeling it would be possible and I would really like to see it. The triumph of pure anarchy, humor and irreverence over the usual Disney morals and dramatic arcs during a whole long feature. I’d love to see that. And it’s not like it HAS to be a movie with the Looney Tunes characters. It could be something with new characters, but I really want a long feature that captures that spirit from beginning to end. There are life-action comedies that are a little on that vein but the shadow of Disney is too present in all animated movies (and I don’t hate Disney or anything, it’s just the fact that they are still the main influence in Hollywood animated movies, Pixar is just Disney with another brand).

    • The DUCK DODGERS series is proof the old Looney Tunes “spirit” can be wonderfully revived. It’s a matter of executives assembling a properly respectful, informed, talented crew, and then getting out of the way. That doesn’t seem to happen often.

  • Mark Kiernan

    I have only seen the roadrunner ones in full and I have to say that they look amazing. For me it is a visual improvement on the 2D stuff (please,don’t throw anything) but as somebody else mentioned, only one of them is really funny. The rest are just eye candy. Sweet, sweet eye candy.

    • Roberto

      I guess you mean it’s an improvement over RECENT roadrunner cartoons in 2D, then you may have a point. If you were saying that it’s an improvement over Chuck Jones then I’d throw you anything but the kitchen sink!:D

  • saw it it was such a blur, just like regular movie going audiences who wanted to see the feature during the golden age of Looney Tunes.

    Too bad it had other looney tunes characters. The “rabbits”
    is the execption, of course. There weren’t very many “all-star” crossovers in Looney Tunes.

    oh well hope daffy gets his oscar.

  • I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve seen snippets online.I’ve seen the Roadrunner shorts and “Puddy Tat”. I like this stuff, honestly. It’s certainly better use of 3D than the Roadrunner segments on the “Looney Tunes Show”!

    That said, I’ve always thought Blanc’s classic recording of “Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody” would lend itself to animation, and I’m one of several folks who have synced it to classic cartoon footage (My version here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x30ppp_daffy-duck-s-rhapsody_shortfilms)

    About 8 years ago, I took a radio class in college and had a show where I played anything and everything…and since I had a copy of the “Rhapsody” song on CD, I played it one time. Due to overwhelming feedback, I played it many more times. It’s great.

  • Ryoku75

    From the clips I saw this looked decent, and is one of the few good Looney Tunes revivals by WB.

    My only complaints are:

    To see it, I have to watch a movie that I’m not interested in. I appreciate WB going back to the old way of cartoons before movies, but with $10 a ticket and todays often uninspired writers it ain’t worth it.

    Then we have the lighting\shading in the CGI, its not bad as much as weird and unnecessary. Thats why everything just looks off.

    That and like most CGI the facial animations a bit stiff, watch 1:14 to see what I mean.

  • Mike

    Will Someone Upload This On YouTube Please?