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ANIMANIACS
Volume Two

Review by Michael Jacobson

Voices:  Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell, Sherri Stoner, Maurice LaMarche
Producer:  Steven Spielberg
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Warner Bros.
Features:  Writers Interview
Length:  531 Minutes
Release Date:  December 5, 2006

“Did you call for the bravest, most daring knight in all the land?”

“Oh, yes!”

“Well, too bad…you got us.” 

Shows ***1/2

Some days I really miss Animaniacs.

You say they don’t make cartoons like they used to?  For a while, in the early 90s, they did.  Animaniacs was the most unbridled, uninhibited and unconventional animated show on television for awhile.  As produced by Steven Spielberg and realized by a crew of zany writers and voices by amazing talent, this show tickled funny bones, pushed envelopes, and just had a great time.  Even with bologna in their slacks.

Volume 2 is a gut-busting five disc collection of even more of the insane adventures of those wacky characters, the Warner Brothers Yakko and Wakko (and their sister Dot).  Anything and everything was fair game, from opera to Camelot, from the Old West to Christmas.  In fact, the holiday episodes were some of the funniest and most memorable.  They even showed the nativity…don’t tell the ACLU.

Also along for the ride were Pinky and the Brain, and one of Brain’s funniest schemes to take over the world (becoming a country star known as Bubba Bo Bob Brain), the aging Slappy the Squirrel (I loved her adventures with a snooty neighbor over an empty soda can) and the Goodfeathers, this time in a take on Martin Scorsese called “Raging Bird” that even the iconic director reportedly loved.

Even minor characters had some of their best moments in this set.  Mindy and Buttons, the mischievous little girl and her faithful watchdog, had a hilarious turn in prehistoric times.  And Chicken Boo, the longest one note gag in history, hit a high note with his take on Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Personality.

The “Animaniacs Stew” episode was a hoot, as it mixed up the characters, pairing Slappy with Yakko and Wakko, and teaming Mindy up with the Brain.  Mindy is the only sidekick more capable of ruining the Brain’s nefarious plans than Pink.  NARF!

But it’s the Warner Brothers and Sister who continued to have the most fun, whether it was Dot’s take on Mary Tyler Moore, their battle with a dragon in Medieval times, Wakko’s take on Pavarotti (it’s a gas), or coming face to face with Dracula.  Good night, everybody!

Though the show has been off for years, I still prefer it’s unbridled zaniness to the likes of The Simpsons, Family Guy or American Dad.  Animaniacs was fast, furious, fearless, and funny.  Too bad now they REALLY don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

Video ***

“GIVE ME THE BIRD!!”

“We would…but the Fox censors won’t allow it.”

These animated offerings look quite good on DVD, with bright colors, crisp detail and an energetic style that will bring your theatre to life.

Audio ***

“Who can turn the stove on with her smile?
Who can take a bubble bath, and suddenly fill it with crocodiles?”

5.1 remixes are just what Dr. Scratchnsniff ordered.  With the incredible Warner orchestra reminding you of the great Carl Stalling and the never ending action and comedy, these dynamic tracks really add life to the proceedings.

Features *

“POTTY EMERGENCY!!”

The only extra is on the last disc, and it’s Maurice LaMarche talking with most of the show’s writers about their favorite episodes and the creative process.

Summary:

 

Any chance of bringing these guys back?  A feature movie, maybe?  One can only hope.  But in the meantime, add the second volume of Animaniacs to your library for a guaranteed good time.  Gookies not included.

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