The people behind “Looney Tunes Cartoons” completely understand why Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang became icons. Talents from great modern animated shows like “Steven Universe” and “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” have come to the world of Looney Tunes with enough reverence and creativity that most kids won’t see the difference between the originals and these new cartoons. They’re not trendy updates for the iGeneration or modern takes on classics. They’re an attempt to just make more of what people loved. The same classic pairings, the same vaudeville sense of humor, the same visual delights. And there are going to be 80 of them on HBO Max, including holiday specials. I will watch every single one.
From the beginning “Looney Tunes Cartoons” embraces its origins, using not just the same fonts and graphics as the classics but updated versions of the classic music from them as well. But there’s more to what’s happening here than mere mimicry—there’s an understanding of tone and, yes, character. From the very first short, in which Porky Pig and Daffy Duck seek the lost treasure of the legendary Monkey-Bird, it’s like seeing classic comedians resurrected in their prime. There’s Daffy stepping on all the booby traps while Porky gets all the damage. Future shorts available to press include Bugs Bunny tricking Yosemite Sam through an arm wrestling match and Sylvester the Cat thinking he finally ate Tweety, and now he’s haunted by the yellow bird. You won’t find references to Tik Tok or Instagram on “Looney Tunes Cartoons.”
And it’s not only the sense of humor that has come through the years to this new iteration but strong visuals as well. So much of “Looney Tunes” is based on physical humor and visual flights of fancy, but the simple animation of the original was often borne out of necessity. Even with all the new technology at their disposal, the new creators keep “Looney Tunes” delightfully simple visually. The backgrounds look like matte paintings and the characters look hand-drawn, altered ever so slightly from the source in ways that only the most diehard fans will notice.