I had forgotten how awesome the Warner Brothers-and-Sister were.
This special is very similar to the “Tiny Toons” movie I reviewed a while back. Once again, we’ve got about six or seven different stories going on, only this time, instead of switching back and forth, each story is actually a stand-alone episode. Most of them are from the original holiday episodes of “Animaniacs”. A couple of them are here just for the heck of it.
In any case, like the “Tiny Toons” movie, this video manages to encapsulate both the best and the worst of what the series as a whole had to offer. On the one hand, you’ve got two cartoons with the Warners at their anarchic best. On the other hand, this video contains a Chicken Boo story and one of the sappiest stand-alone cartoons to ever appear in the series. Still, as a whole, these Christmas episodes are excellent.
The Best Parts:
3 seconds in – NICE! I always loved that “Special” title card thingy.
30 seconds in – Raise your hand if you always suspected that the guy drawing the Warners is meant to be Tex Avery. (That’s one of the best things about “Animaniacs”. It rewarded fans of the classic WB cartoons. Yes, there was a point, not very long ago, when Warner Brothers did not treat their classic cartoon fans like crap.)
7 minutes in – Just when you thought parodies of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” were played out…
10 minutes in – Seriously, did anyone really think Chicken Boo was funny?
11 minutes in –
The ecology of Southern California does not work that way!!!
13 minutes in – This is a pretty good song, though not nearly as good as “Wakko’s World”, but what does it have to do with Christmas?
16 minutes in – Um… wow. Raise your hand if you think this sequence is incredibly awkward.
Especially given that one of these characters is going to dry-heave to the tune of “Jingle Bells” in a little while.
23 minutes in – There are few objects in this world that can *not* be effectively personified by a skilled animator. I think we’re learning that wrapping paper is one of those few objects.
27 minutes in – For anyone else who has a toothache right now, this and maybe two or three other episodes is about as maudlin and sappy as “Animaniacs” ever got. But isn’t it jarring? (Once again, Wakko is going to burp to the tune of “Jingle Bells” in a little while.)
30 minutes in – Thank goodness for characters like Slappy Squirrel.
34 minutes in – *Bear Cruelty!!!* 😦
36 minutes in – Just when you thought parodies of A Christmas Carol were played out… (This scene alone makes this one of the best ones ever.)
38 minutes in – Aww, I [heart] the Warners! ^_^
42 minutes in – *Wakko Dry-Heave Burps to the Tune of “Jingle Bells”!!!*
43 minutes in – Weird, this was actually part of the first episode. Way to introduce almost each and every reoccurring character.
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“T’was the day before Christmas, in deep winter’s freeze / But out here in Burbank it was 90 degrees.” – Slappy Squirrel
“This is not a story about shopping, it’s a story about wrapping paper!” – “A Gift of Gold” Narrator
“T’is a sad, sad fate that makes beauty fade.” – “A Gift of Gold” Narrator (He says things like this through the whole sequence.)
“BURP BURP BURRRP!!! / BURP BURP BURRRP!!! / BURP-URK BURP BURP BLAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!!” – Wakko Warner
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – If your child is inexplicably terrified of a mall Santa, make sure that said mall Santa isn’t a giant rooster.
* – The “Pa-RUM-pa-pum-POM!” line in “Little Drummer Boy” is what makes the song so deadly. (Which is something I actually learned from the David Bowie/Bing Crosby insane crossover version, but it gets reemphasized here.)
* – Plain brown wrapping paper deeply resents metallic foil wrapping paper.
* – Jokes about fruitcake will never get old.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Yes.
Good Soundtrack? Yes.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? Yes.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Yes.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when you hear one of the characters’ catchphrases (“Hello Nurse” and variations, ect.)
Head Movie Potential? Yes.
Donnie and a half. The syrupy bits make it lose a few points but it’s otherwise excellent.
A Warner Brothers Family Entertainment Film released on Warner Home Video in 1994. Produced by Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, and Steven Spielberg.
Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeal, Frank Welker, Sherri Stoner, Bernadette Peters, Nancy Cartwright, Maurice LaMarche, and a lot of other people.
CHUD Reviews the Season One DVD set – “What better lessons could we teach the children of our future?”