How do you even describe the riches behind “Academy Awards Animated Collection”? As an animation geek, and a film geek who follow the Oscars, this is such an immaculate and extraordinary DVD set with some of the best animated shorts ever produced. From “Knighty Knight Bus,” to “Superman,” this has some of the best animated shorts ever concocted, and it brings together all nominated shorts, and winners from Warner Bros. with three entire discs. In the discs there are some utterly fantastic attached and optional commentary from Paul Dini who explores Superman, animation historians who discuss Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor.
Fans of my Volume 1 reviews, stand at attention, rejoice, and testify, for we are here with reviews for Volume 2 of “Animaniacs” and “Pinky and the Brain,” the gorgeous collections for animations fans, and fans of the series. Guilty on both counts, suckas. So, for this time around, “Animaniacs” and its spin-off really seem to come into their own. Where as the first volume was more of them feeling their oats, the writing team really exercises the comedy for this go around, particularly with “Animaniacs.”
For all the grief animation gets, “Animaniacs” is both a show for adults and children. While we have mallets, and anvils, we also have funny one-liners set to a “Moby Dick” spoof, and inside jokes referencing the likes of Groucho Marx, Milton Berle, and the great Madeline Khan whose own personality is reflected in an episode of Rita and Runt as they stumble on a Frankenstein scientist who looks an awful lot like the late comedienne a la Mel Brooks.
If you’re a child of the nineties, you’ll remember that back then, animated series had texture. They weren’t like today where it was colorful and filled with characters with no basic coherent storyline. Back then animated series had stories, arcs, brains, and influence. Gems like “Talespin”, “Captain Planet”, and “Mighty Max” were what made animation so incredible. But they were intimidating, and that’s why networks sought out to bring them down and cancel them.
Such is the case for “Animaniacs”, which was so influential, the network sought out to sabotage its presence by dumbing down its clever and sharp gags and historical references, and forcing it to include educational interludes that never fit with the program and talked down to its audience.