Blu-Ray Review: Warner’s Bugs Bunny: 80th Anniversary Collection

Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny (and, indeed, the rest of the Looney Tunes characters) have always had a special place for me. I remember watching the old reruns on television, and it being something that my dad would enjoy with me when I was younger. Since it was something from his childhood, he still had a fondness for the old cartoons. And, if we’re honest, I think he liked the wholesome qualities of those old cartoons as opposed to stuff that was new to my generation (though some might debate that regarding the violence of the old cartoons, but I won’t). That said, I jumped at the chance to check out the new 80th Anniversary Collection of Bugs Bunny cartoons from Warner Brothers.

Before even getting into the Blu-Ray, the packaging itself is pretty cool. Each collection comes in a nice box along with a collectible Funko figure explicitly made for this collection. Mine was the pictured Top Hat Bugs Bunny. 

Each edition is individually numbered to let you know how many there are in total – not just your number. Inside we have three Blu-Ray discs and some exciting cards and placards telling you all about the collection. 

Once inside and checking out the Blu-Rays, we find sixty animated shorts from Bugs Bunny’s classic era (1940 to 1964). These are generally presented in chronological order. Twenty of the shorts have been released previously on Blu-Ray (in the three Looney Tunes: Platinum Collections) but are considered “essential” classics. The other forty shorts have either never appeared on Blu-Ray before or have never been released on home video in any format.

Here’s the complete list of shorts and the special features included on each disc:

DISC ONE

  •     Elmer’s Candid Camera (1940 – with commentary by Jerry Beck)
  •     A Wild Hare (1940 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     Hold the Lion, Please (1942 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (1942 – with commentary by Michael Barrier and Bob Clampett)
  •     Super-Rabbit (1943 – with commentary by Paul Dini)
  •     Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk (1943)
  •     What’s Cookin’ Doc? (1944 – with commentary by Jerry Beck)
  •     Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears (1944 – with commentary by Stan Freberg)
  •     Hair Ribbin’ (1944 – with commentary by Constantine Nasr)
  •     The Old Grey Hare (1944 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     Baseball Bugs (1946 – with commentary by Eric Goldberg)
  •     Hair-Raising Hare (1946 – with commentary by Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, and Lloyd Turner)
  •     Racketeer Rabbit (1946)
  •     Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1948 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     Haredevil Hare (1948 – with commentary by Michael Barrier and Pete Alvarado)
  •     Hot Cross Bunny (1948)
  •     Hare Splitter (1948)
  •     Knights Must Fall (1949)
  •     What’s Up Doc? (1950 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     8 Ball Bunny (1950 – with commentary by Jerry Beck)
  •     Bugs Bunny’s 80th What’s Up Doc-umentary! (HD – 61:04)
  •     Hare Ribbin’ Director’s Cut (SD – 8:03)
  •     Forever Befuddled (SD – 3:25)
  •     Bugs: A Rabbit for All Seasonings (SD – 5:39)
  •     Mars Attacks! Life on the Red Planet with My Favorite Martian (HD – 14:49)

 

DISC TWO

  •     The Rabbit of Seville (1950 – with commentary by Eric Goldberg)
  •     Rabbit Every Monday (1951 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     The Fair-Haired Hare (1951 – with commentary by Constantine Nasr)
  •     Rabbit Fire (1951 – with commentary by Greg Ford and Chuck Jones)
  •     His Hair-Raising Tale (1951)
  •     Hare Lift (1952)
  •     Upswept Hare (1953)
  •     Robot Rabbit (1953)
  •     Captain Hareblower (1954)
  •     No Parking Hare (1954)
  •     Yankee Doodle Bugs (1954)
  •     Lumber Jack-Rabbit (1953 – with commentary by Jerry Beck)
  •     Baby Buggy Bunny (1954 – with commentary by Constantine Nasr)
  •     Hare Brush (1955)
  •     This Is a Life? (1955)
  •     Rabbitson Crusoe (1956)
  •     Napoleon Bunny-Part (1956)
  •     Half-Fare Hare (1956)
  •     Piker’s Peak (1957)
  •     What’s Opera, Doc? (1957 – with commentary by Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese, and Maurice Noble, as well as a second commentary by Daniel Goldmark)
  •     Alternate Audio Programs – Rabbit Fire: Music-Only Track
  •     Alternate Audio Programs – Baby Buggy Bunny: Music-and-Effects Track
  •     Alternate Audio Programs – What’s Opera, Doc?: Music-Only Track
  •     Alternate Audio Programs – What’s Opera, Doc?: Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan Vocal Track
  •     Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes All Star 50th Anniversary (SD – 47:31)
  •     A Hunting We Will Go: Chuck Jones’ Wabbit Season Twilogy (SD – 9:30)
  •     Bugs Bunny: Ain’t He a Stinker? (SD – 16:41)
  •     Wagnerian Wabbit: The Making of What’s Opera, Doc? (SD – 9:31)

 

DISC THREE

  •     Bugsy and Mugsy (1957)
  •     Show Biz Bugs (1957 – with commentary by Greg Ford and Pre-Score Music)
  •     Hare-Less Wolf (1958)
  •     Now Hare This (1958)
  •     Knighty Knight Bugs (1958 – with commentary by Jerry Beck)
  •     Hare-Arabian Nights (1959)
  •     Backwoods Bunny (1959)
  •     Wild and Woolly Hare (1959)
  •     Bonanza Bunny (1959)
  •     People Are Bunny (1959)
  •     Person to Bunny (1960)
  •     Rabbit’s Feat (1960 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     From Hare to Heir (1960 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     Compressed Hare (1961)
  •     Prince Violent (1961)
  •     Shishkabugs (1962)
  •     The Million Hare (1963)
  •     The Unmentionables (1963)
  •     False Hare (1964 – with commentary by Jerry Beck)
  •     (Blooper) Bunny: Bugs Bunny’s 51st and a 1/2 Anniversary Spectacular (1991 – with commentary by Greg Ford)
  •     Hard Luck Duck (SD – 3:41)
  •     Short Fuse Shootout: The Small Tale of Yosemite Sam (SD – 3:03)
  •     50 Years of Bugs Bunny in 3½ Minutes (SD – 3:52)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Harm Wrestling (2020 – HD – 4:32)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Pest Coaster (2020 – HD – 5:57)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Siberian Sam (2020 – HD – 7:02)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Big League Beast (2020 – HD – 7:02)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Buzzard School (2020 – HD – 7:27)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Pool Bunny (2020 – HD – 6:57)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Grilled Rabbit (2020 – HD – 5:32)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Vincent Van Fudd (2020 – HD – 5:12)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Cartoon: Hare Restoration (2020 – HD – 5:42)
  •     Bonus Looney Tunes Interstitials: Plunger/Fishing Pole/Bees/Mini Elmer (2020 – HD – 2:45)

So, the main question in this release would be how did the transfer work out? Well, quite brilliantly, to be honest. Remember, these were made back in the day where each cell was hand-painted, and then a 35mm camera took a photo of each image. It appears that Warner Brothers went back to the original 35mm negatives and started with those. Then they digitally restored and remastered those negatives. The result is an image that looks like it did the day when it was painted. 

The artwork is amazing, and the colors bright and vibrant. The images really pop and come off the screen. That said, there are a few imperfections that are expected with age and just from the era of the original cartoons. This is in the form of light graininess in areas, dust, and occasionally hair. My guess is these are flaws from the original negatives that could not be helped. 

The audio is in English 2.0 mono in Dolby Digital format. Dialogue, music and special effects are clean and clear and don’t run over each other. Considering the technology used to make the original recordings, it’s probably about as good of sound as one could hope for. Subtitles in English are available.

Warner’s Bugs Bunny: 80th Anniversary Collection is a great Blu-Ray release, and they did an outstanding job cleaning up these decades-old cartoons. If you’re a fan of Bugs or classic animation in general, this set is certainly recommended.

Warner’s Bugs Bunny: 80th Anniversary Collection is available from Warner Brothers on Tuesday, December 1st

 

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