Animation news: DVD reviews of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, plus more - VIDEO
Animaniacs Volume 3 and Pinky and the Brain Volume 3 both come out June 19. This is an early review.
It's been my opinion for some time that series like Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and Freakazoid were entertaining cartoons not because of Steven Spielberg's involvement, but in spite of it. Spielberg --from what I can gather based on what I've read and the special features on both Animaniacs Volume 3 and Pinky and the Brain Volume 3-- always had the final say on character design and such. I'm just not sure what exactly would qualify Spielberg to make such decisions, since I'm fairly certain he's not an animator.
I mean, of course I understand. He was the executive producer of these series, so he gets to call the shots. But as funny and irreverent as these 'toons were, I honestly believe they could have been even better had Spielberg kept his nose out of them.
Pinky and the Brain Volume 3 is the final DVD set for the series, comprised of the final twenty-two episodes from the Animaniacs spin-off about two genetically-altered mice ("one is a genius, the other's insane") who try to take over the world in every episode, and always fail, either because of Pinky's bumbling, or because Brain winds up tripping over his own inflated ego.
Pinky and the Brain wasn't nearly as random and "out there" as the series from which it spawned, but one thing it did have in common with Animaniacs was a knack for pop culture references that no one under a certain age would ever understand. Also, having a full series gave the Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche doing his best Orson Welles) a chance to develop into a more substantial character from the oft-monotone mouse he was when the duo first appeared on Animaniacs.
And speaking of Animaniacs, the third volume DVD set contains twenty-five episodes comprised of the remaining episodes of season one through the first few episodes of season three.
This set contains two of my personal favorites: Slappy and Skippy attending Woodstock, and "Baloney and Kids" (a Barney spoof). There's also plenty of GoodFeathers, Buttons and Mindy, Pinky and the Brain (NARF!) and the rest of the gang. Also, an occasional weird but heart-warming tale narrated by Jim Cummings, doing his spot-on Sterling Holloway impression.
Special features on Animaniacs Volume 3: Interviews with artists and animators, and a tribute to the late composer Richard Stone.
Special features on Pinky and the Brain Volume 3: Rob Paulsen (Pinky) and Maurice LaMarche (Brain) talk about their fans.
In other animation news:
You've probably heard about that feature-length, CGI version of Thundercats? Well, I was poking around In2TV the other day (which is also owned by AOL, TV Squad's parent company) and saw they had full episodes of the original Thundercats cartoon. So go check 'em out.
Oh, and Stan Lee is developing an animated series starring Paris Hilton for MTV? Egad.
Here's a Venture Bros clip: