Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters

This 1988 film, built around classic cartoons from the Warner Brothers library and new footage, is a broad spoof of the GHOSTBUSTERS franchise. The obvious title of "Daffy Duck's Quackbusters" will tell you what this clip-fest film will be about. The film features two contemporary cartoon shorts, 1987's "The Duxorcist" and 1988's "Night of the Living Duck". These two cartoons, combined with specific clips edited from classic cartoons, were blended together to showcase a full-length animated feature poking fun at the GHOSTBUSTERS popularity and the language used in the movie. Daffy inherits a fortune because he was able to make a dying millionaire laugh. In a scenario from an earlier cartoon, "Daffy Dilly", Daffy plays a salesman who gets word that a dying millionaire will leave a fortune to whoever can make him laugh. The millionaire was offering a fortune to anyone who was able to give him one good laugh before he died. After arriving at the mansion and out-witting the butler, Daffy did a broad range of stunts that received no laughs but when he accidentally trips and a series of cakes fall on him, the dying millionaire {a dog named Cubish} starts to chuckle and soon breaks out into a fit of laughter.

Next we see Cubish in a pie throwing frenzy...hurling one pie after the other in Daffy's face. All through this he's laughing uncontrollably and that's when the original cartoon, "Daffy Dilly", ended. In the continuation, we see that Cubish dies laughing...and his estate goes to Daffy. The only catch is he has to use the money for good purposes or it'll cost him. Also, if Daffy even has the idea to use the money for greedy purposes, it'll cost him. Throughout the film each time Daffy gripes and complains about Cubish we hear thunder and see a stack of money in the vault vanish into thin air. Cubish often appears in ghost form throughout the cartoon. As a side business, Daffy goes into ghost hunting as a public service.

Daffy, Porky, and Bugs are billed as "Paranormalists at Large". Throughout the film a spoof commercial pops up promoting their ghost hunting business. Part of the commercial includes a now-popular phrase among Looney Tunes fans where Daffy explains the objectives of their business and tells potential clients something like: "spooks spooked, goblins gobbled, ufo's k.o'd, aliens alienated, and monsters remonstrated.". One of the memorable aspects of the film was how effortlessly the classic clips blended together. This wasn't the first time clip-filled animated films had been released by Warner Brothers but it was the first, to my knowledge, where two relatively new theatrical cartoons had been responsible for the commission of a full-length movie release.

And between the classic clips we see new animation of Bugs, Daffy, and Porky bridging the clips along. We'll see the hilarious "but I did see an elephant in my bird bath" clip and pieces of Porky and Sylvester's adventures when Sylvester was cast as a cowardly feline and Porky was his annoyed owner. The 1987 clip of "The Duxorcist" is hilarious...particularly for those familiar with what it's spoofing, The Exorcist. In it, Daffy investigates a strange case of a female duck who's possessed and it's in this cartoon where the female utters all sorts of rubbish, but plainly enunciating in a sweet voice "Mary had a little lamb..." and then shouting in her possessed voice: "BUT I ATE IT!!!!".

Photobucket Sharp eared listeners will note the differences in Daffy's voice when it segues from contemporary to classic footage. I believe they didn't speed up Daffy's voice enough in the new animation and so it sounds like Sylvester, more than it should. The difference between those two character's voices had always been that Sylvester had Mel Blanc's own voice with a lisp added to it while Daffy was actually the same voice only sped up a few octaves in the playback process to get a little higher tone.

The cartoon as a whole is 5 star material. It's funny, cute in places, satirical in places, and who can resist the Mel Torme contribution of "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives" that Daffy sings in a monsters club after spraying his throat with Torme liquid. This scene happens near the start of the movie, within "Night of the Living Duck". The bonus features include the cult favorite "Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24th and 1/2 Century" along with "Superior Duck" and "Little Go Beep".

This is the first time this 1988 Daffy Duck movie has been released on DVD.

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