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Every aspect of this cartoon is outstanding, and that's coming from
someone who hates opera! The illustrations in this are fantastic, the
direction super and the dialog in this "opera" is hilarious.
Kudos, too, to Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny) and Arthur Q. Bryant (Elmer Fudd) for their outstanding voice-work having those two characters sing and talk in this opera. I appreciated their work in here more than about anything, although the direction by Chuck Jones and that artwork is really tremendous. All of them outshine the story in here.
No, I still don't enjoy the "opera" but I will always enjoy this stunning-looking cartoon, which is part of Volume Two on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection.
This short has always been one of my favorites.It combines humor,excelent music and feelings.Seing Mr.Fudd's love, wrath and sadness in what is probably his best performance makes it very memorable.Less silly visual jokes than most Looney Tunes and making comedy out of Elmer's and Bugs' interaction with each other realy makes it even better than the oftenly over-rated "Rabbit of Seville".Nice introduction to Wagner by the way.
There's a tender Bugs-Elmer duet, set to Wagner, that goes like
Elmer: Oh, Bwunhilde. You're so wuvwy.
Bugs (in drag): Yes, I know it. I can't help it.
Elmer: Oh, Bwunhilde, be my WUV...
Scholars may detect actual commentary in this seven-minute masterpiece on the seeds of Nazism as sown by Wagner, the absurdity of the opera music-theater construct, or the multiple ironies of anthropomorphic cross-dressing. The rest of us just find it deadpan-knockout funny, musically glorious, and enacted on the greatest Wagnerian set ever built. Bravo tutti, and a deep, grateful bow to the late, great Chuck Jones; we shall never see his like again.
In the style of a classic opera, Elmer Fudd, resplendent with magic
seeks to kill the rabbit Bugs Bunny. However, dressing as an opera dame,
Bugs attempts to outsmart and avoid Fudd the best he can. However, can he
make the ruse last.
In terms of laughs, this is by no means Bugs's funniest cartoon. However it is easily one of my favourites of his simply because it is not a basic chase-em-up style comedy that relies on physical gags. In fact the reason I love this cartoon is part of the reason it isn't funny - simply because it is almost too clever to waste time making me roar with easy laughs. The plot is perfectly set to the music and it is surprisingly emotional for it. Bugs does his usual dressing up stuff but the music gives it all an edge it hasn't had before - and it is very interesting.
My favourite thing about this short is the style with which it is delivered. Look at some of the WB cartoons of the mid-sixties and you'd never believe those same drab animations could come from the same studio as this. Visually it is imaginative, style and very impressive - it easily matches the epic feel of the music. So much care has been put into it that it is difficult not to feel impressed by the look of the whole cartoon.
Fudd is a good character and here merges his usual meek personae with the epic operatic warrior to good effect. Bugs is his usual tricky self but he is down played a little bit as the cartoon seems less concerned about hilarity than about a witty, quality product. The two of them are adapted perfectly to the music and the cartoon is great with them.
Overall this is not the funniest of Bugs' shorts but it is easily my favourite. The cartoon is perfectly set to the music and it is intelligent and quite amusing. The look of the film is rich and well designed and fits the music really well - visually it is impressive, but then so is the whole cartoon.
Elmer Fudd as the demigod Siegfried & Bugs Bunny as the Valkyrie
Brunhilde, star in this classic cartoon masterpiece that will not only
stand the test of time, but seemingly gets all the better with age.
Brilliantly voiced, expertly animated, and amazingly greatly scored.
This is Looney Tunes at the top of it's form. Funny and a tad bit sad,
but always exhilarating. This short singly handedly got me interested
in classical music, when countless music teachers could not. This
animated short can be seen on Disc 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden
Collection Volume 2 and also features an optional commentary by Chuck
Jones, Micheal Maltese and Maurice Noble, a second Commentary track by
Daniel Goldmark, as well as a music only track, a voice over only
track, and a short featurette. If any cartoon warranted that any
extras, this would be the one.
My Grade: A+
With my speaw and Magic Hewmut! Magic Hewmut! Kiww the wabbit! Kiww the
Immortal lines. Like those other famous lines: "Here's looking at you, kid." "Put your lips together and blow!" "I'm Woodrow Wilson, go to bed!" "How do you split a car in half!"
This little cartoon got me hooked on opera in general and is certainly the best Bugs Bunny around! There are no other!
And, if you never see it, look out for that horse! It takes a lot not to enjoy the sure absurdity of this story! If they ever give a DVD with just this ONE cartoon on, I will probably buy it.
Consider yourself exceptionally lucky if you lay eyes upon this cartoon! It's the crown jewel of classic animation! None of todays sci-fi recycled trash a la Pokemon-Digimon things come near the Wagnerian majesty of WHATS OPERA, DOC?
This is probably the best opera parody I have ever seen. The only other cartoon I've seen that comes close is "Rabbit of Seville" and the lyrics are funnier here (although the sight gags are better in "Seville") and besides, Bugs and Elme do an aria together. What else do you want? This is also where Elmer sings, "Kill the wabbit!". One piece of advice-you may not want sneer at a man with a spear when he says he has a magic helmet. At least I wouldn't. I don't have Wile E. Coyote's constitution!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Disney animation legend Chuck Jones' 'Merrie Melodies' short, 'What's
Opera, Doc?,' is a pleasant and enjoyable cartoon tribute to the
classic operas that have inspired audiences for generations. However,
not particularly being a fan of opera nor, indeed, having even seen
many I'm afraid that much of the film's charm might have been lost of
me. The film features the voice talents of Mel Blanc and Arthur Q.
Bryan, voicing the classic Disney characters of Bugs Bunny and Elmer
Fudd, respectively (though Blanc did independently voice one of Elmer's
lines - "SMOG!"). As we all know, Elmer's primary preoccupation is
"hunting wabbits," and, in this film, he plans to do so as the demigod
Siegfried, using the mighty powers of his "spear and magic helmet."
The seven-minute film is essentially an operatic parody of Richard Wagner's operas, particularly 'Der Ring des Nibelungen / The Ring of the Nibelung.' Several pieces of Wagner's music are used in the film, to great effect, as both characters sing their lines in tune to the classic score: the overture from 'The Flying Dutchman' is used in the opening storm scene; Elmer memorably sings "Kill the wabbit!" to the tune of 'Ride of the Valkyries;' Siegfried's horn call from 'Siegfried' ("O mighty warrior of great fighting stock"); the overture and Pilgrim's Chorus from 'Tannhäuser' ("O Bwünnhilde, you'w so wuvwy," "Return my love").
Quite surprisingly, the film ends with the death of Bugs Bunny, and with Elmer instantly regretful for the death he has caused, marking one of those rare occasions when Elmer has actually succeeded in "killing the wabbit!" Luckily, however, I am happy to report that, despite the unavoidable tragic opera conclusion, good old Bugs eases our worries by raising his head in the final seconds to declare, "Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?" This is an endearing Chuck Jones classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cartoon fans, struggling against feelings of inadequacy, hold this one up as an example of how highbrow the medium can be. Look: Wagner! Scrollwork on columns! HIGH ART! Therefore: THE BEST CARTOON EVER. So it's a painterly cartoon with impressive layouts from Maurice Noble. The Night on Bald Mountain reference is sweet, the colors are rich, and Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryant both do a helluva job, but there aren't many laughs except those provided by a fat horse. Bugs is a fey thing who doesn't deserve to win this one. Jones by this point had removed all the p!ss and vinegar from his cartoons, instead favoring effete little smirks-- we're supposed to respond to this by patting our hands together and trilling, HUZZAH, SIR! DELIGHTFUL! Good for Jones for experimenting, but come on... Warner Brothers put out better cartoons. Jones did too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Whenever I think of animated cartoons that truly stand out as classics,
"What's Opera, Doc?" is probably the preeminent cartoon that comes to
my mind. An excellent spoof of Wagnerian opera, it is one of the most
well-loved and well-remembered of all Warner Bros. cartoons. If anyone
ever thought there couldn't possibly be any elegance connected with an
animated cartoon, they need only to watch "What's Opera, Doc?" in order
to be proved wrong. Director Chuck Jones, writer Michael Maltese,
layout designer Maurice Noble, orchestrator Milt Franklyn, voice
artists Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan - all of these folks and numerous
others knew that this cartoon would take a lot of hard work, and all
their effort definitely paid off!
My favorite moments from "What's Opera, Doc?" include the following (DO NOT read any further until after you have actually seen this cartoon). The opening of this film reveals some rather intimidating cliff shadows of Elmer at his most dangerous. Elmer is rather funny with his opening quiet vocalization of "Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits" and especially with his frenzied "Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!" sung to a familiar Valkyrie theme; Bugs then sings to a horn accompaniment as he casually asks Elmer what he's up to. Bugs' and Elmer's love duet (with Bugs disguised as Brunhilda) is nicely punctuated by Bugs' fluttering eyelids. The musical accompaniment momentarily breaks away from being Wagnerian as Bugs' helmet & wig disguise drops off his head and bounces down the stairs.
"What's Opera, Doc?" is brilliant, simply brilliant! Chuck Jones was a very educated man who knew that if you're dealing with Wagnerian opera, by gad, you'd better have a large orchestra! Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan turned out to be fairly decent singers in their respective Bugs & Elmer characterizations. The dance sequences between hunter and rabbit were authentically recreated, and the uses of light, shadow, & color are almost beyond compare. Sometimes I think it's easy to become unaware of all the hard work & effort that goes into a brief animated cartoon; when we watch the cartoon, all we see is pure art, not the actual work that went on behind the scenes. As a result of all that hard work, "What's Opera, Doc?" is now available on DVD for all of us to enjoy and appreciate its elegance. If you're a fan of the Warner Bros. cartoons, you simply cannot miss "What's Opera, Doc?"
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