Animaniacs - Volume 1 Steven Spielberg Executive Producer
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Hello, Nurse! Still zany to the max after all these years, the animated anthology series Animaniacs at last romps onto DVD. The anarchic spirit of Termite Terrace (the building on the Warner Bros. studio lot where Bugs, Daffy, and the rest of the classic characters were born) lives on in these unashamedly loony cartoons starring the Warner brothers, Yakko ({|Rob Paulsen|}) and Wakko ({|Jess Harnell|}), and the Warner sister, Dot ({|Tress MacNeille|}) -- who, according to the brilliant backstory, were created in the 1930s but considered too outrageous to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. They were locked away in the water tower of the Warner Bros. studio lot, from which they have escaped to wreak havoc. They are kindred spirits with Daffy Duck rather than Bugs Bunny, who never caused trouble unless provoked. The supporting characters are a mixed bag, but they are still far funnier than most any of their current animated brethren. Perhaps best known are the gene-spliced laboratory mice, Pinky and the Brain, who merited their own spinoff series in which they continued with their plans to take over the world. Slappy the Squirrel is amusingly cranky. One of her best cartoons is Bumbie's Mom, in which she tries to console her nephew, traumatized by a Disney-esque movie in which the mother of Bumbie is shot by hunters. Slappy takes the inconsolable tyke to visit the now-elderly actor who portrayed the ill-fated character. Like the classic Warner Bros. toons of old, these cartoons have multi-generational appeal, but you don't need to have seen Goodfellas to get a good laugh out of the Goodfeathers pigeon gang. Nor is it necessary to subscribe to Variety to catch all the industry-related inside jokes. In addition to the virtuoso voice work, hellzapoppin' pace, and brilliant writing (chockablock with puns, zany wordplay, and pop culture references that invite repeated viewings), Animaniacs is also justly celebrated for its music in the classic tradition of Carl Stalling. The songs, in particular, are exceedingly clever, such as the classic Yakko's World, which manages to reference every country on the map (circa 1993). Welcome back, Animaniacs!


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