The Looney Tunes return today with an all-new animated adventure, Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run, a direct-to-DVD animated feature starring Bugs Bunny and Lola. Rabbits Run follows Lola and Bugs on a globe trotting adventure, outrunning multiple organizations and individuals, all in hot pursuit of Lola’s accidental invention: an invisibility spray.
The movie opens on a secret government mission to retrieve a rare flower that only blooms once every 200 years. Just as they are about to pick the flower, an unseen figure moving at an incomprehensible speed snatches the flower right from under them and is gone. Roll opening credits.
The movie properly begins by introducing us to Lola, a perfume salesgirl in an upscale New York department store. Lola dreams of creating her own perfume, and sings about it in a huge musical number (during which she manages to completely destroy the entire store and get herself fired).
Leaving the store, Lola hails a cab, and is picked up by Bugs Bunny. Unable to remember her home address, she leads him on a wild goose chase all over the city before finally remembering where she lives. Upon arrival she realizes that she left her purse at the store, but she has a cash jar in the microwave. She runs into get it and leaves Bugs in the cab.
Inside Lola is met by her landlord, Speedy Gonzales, who gives her “The Flower.” He thought it would be useful in her perfume creation, so he’d picked it up for her. Lola completely forgets about Bugs, and spends the rest of the night creating her perfume.
Meanwhile the government had tracked the flower to Lola’s apartment, and Agent Elmer Fudd watches through the window as Lola uses the perfume on herself, and makes her head invisible. He calls in to report these new developments and, when Lola is seen returning to Bugs’ cab the next morning, the government issues a $500,000 reward for their capture.
This reward spurs on another pursuer, Yosemite Sam, who is attempting to rob a bank when he sees the reward on the news. A series of unfortunate events leads to the perfume being stolen by Lola’s former boss at the department store, which results in Bugs and Lola having to chase him to Paris while the government, Yosemite Sam, and another unknown group all chase them as well. This is as far as I think I’m going to get into the plot. Past this point it gets into too big of a “spoiler” territory.
Watch the trailer below!
Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run is a fun return to the Looney Tunes universe after having been without any new content since the end of The Looney Tunes Show almost two years ago. If you enjoyed that series’ take on Lola then you are probably not going to want to miss this movie. The Looney Tunes Show brought out Lola’s character far better than her debut in Space Jam did. Lola was an insane, obsessive, “looney,” bundle of ridiculousness, and she quickly became my favorite part of the show. I was very much looking forward to seeing what kind of misadventures she would get into in this movie. This being said, I was a little disappointed in this movie for several reasons (not the least of which was because of Lola).
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Lola. She was the source of a good three quarters of the movie’s hilarity but, even then, there was still something missing. And I’m pretty sure that something was Kristen Wiig. Kristen Wiig was perfect as Lola in The Looney Tunes Show. Her timing and delivery of every line was so funny, that to have someone else try to take her place just seems wrong. Her replacement for Rabbits Run, Rachel Ramras, did a decent job. Most of her lines were delivered similarly to how Kristen would have delivered them, but it just wasn’t the same. I have heard that there will be a new Looney Tunes show coming to Cartoon Network soon, and I can only hope that if Lola will be a part of it that they will get Kristen back.
Probably my biggest problem with this movie was how rushed it felt. It really gave me the feeling like filmmakers were trying to get it out as fast as they could. This led to three main problems that, if they had given it more time, would have been non-issues: the animation, the writing, and the timing. The animation was just not as smooth as what I was used to from The Looney Tunes Show. It was by no means bad, but it really felt like they could have done a lot better had they given the whole production more time.
Going back again to The Looney Tunes Show, the writing in Rabbits Run was just not up to par with the writing I was used to from The Looney Tunes Show. It was decent, but it really felt like it could have used a couple extra drafts to trim the fat. This, in turn, affected the timing, as it just didn’t feel quite manic or witty enough to be a Looney Tunes production. The whole thing felt like it could have been a lot shorter. It really seemed like they beefed it out in order to make it hit a longer run time so they could justify calling it a movie.
My last quibble is with the character designs. Most of them were fine, but many did not seem like they fit in with the designs of either the old Looney Tunes designs or the updated designs from The Looney Tunes Show. It kind of seemed like they were trying to bridge the gap between the two, which would have been fine, but it resulted in a few characters looking terribly off model. Namely Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam. There were a few more that weren’t quite as bad, but – with these two especially – the design was so off that it became very distracting for me. I don’t know if this was a conscious choice, or if perhaps they outsourced the animation to a studio that was not as familiar with the character designs as they should have been, but, for me, the result was just distracting and took me out of the story multiple times.
I know I seem to have ragged on this movie a lot, but that is just because I am a huge Looney Tunes fan. I grew up with these characters, and I look forward to every new piece of media they release that features them. This was not a bad movie, but, for someone like me (a super-fan), it was a bit of a letdown. If you like the Looney Tunes, and you aren’t someone who is going to quibble over the details like me, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And if you have kids, then I know they will enjoy it.
One last thing I should mention are the extras. There were a bunch of great extras on this disk! No, there weren’t any making-of featurettes, but there were a bunch of bonus cartoons! There were four CGI Looney Tunes cartoons, three Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner shorts, as well as one Sylvester and Tweety. It was great to see them, as they were the characters I missed most in the main feature (there weren’t even cameos for them). And last, but not least, was the pilot episode of The Looney Tunes Show, “Best Friends,” which to this day is still one of my favorite episodes.
I may not have loved this movie, but it was in no way bad. I loved that Lola got a chance to star in something, and I loved all the cameos sprinkled throughout of all the lesser-known Looney Tunes. I guess I am just happy in general to have a new piece of Looney Tunes media to watch after the end of The Looney Tunes Show. This movie may not have been perfect, but it was funny. So, if you like the Looney Tunes, then I’m sure you’ll want to watch it. If anything, it’s a good way to tide yourself over until the next Looney Tunes series comes along.
Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his Podcast and YouTube channel, where he reviews animation, movies, TV, or whatever else his guests feel like talking about. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @jonjnorth.