Chariots of Fur (1994)
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Two things stand out. One is the music. Lacking Carl Stalling and his ability to dart unobtrusively from one half-familiar tune to the next, Jones has leaned heavily on one piece: the jesters' dance from Bedrich Smetana's opera, "The Bartered Bride", which is mostly unedited and entirely apt. What I didn't realise until I took another look at some of the older Road Runners recently is that Stalling had used Smetana's music all the time in the Road Runner series, whenever he wanted to convey speed and had no particular reason to convey anything else. I'm glad this music was allowed for once to dominate the cartoon. (There are, you'll notice, almost no sound effects.)
Secondly, there's an absence of what I'd call conceptual Road Runner humour. Here's an example (from another cartoon, I forget which): We see a long, elaborate, winding wooden gutter down the side of a small mountain. The camera starts at the bottom and slowly pans up. At the top is the Coyote, with one of those black spherical bombs. He lights the fuse. BANG. The bomb explodes. The gag is over. The whole rickety gutter apparatus was irrelevant. This is probably the funniest joke of its kind, and even so it's a bit of a cheat; you can get away with only so many gags like this, and no more, and they'd BETTER be this good to be worthy of being included at all (and sometimes, they weren't). The best Road Runner jokes take place WITHIN the world of the cartoon, and involve the Coyote being defeated by the very energy he was attempting to harness. "Chariots of Fur" is more classical than most other Road Runner cartoons, hence better.
The Surgeon General warning of chasing after Roadrunners can be dangerous to your health as Wile E laughs it off. But Roadrunner comes up behind him and Beep Beeps him! Afterward it says, it is not so cool to laugh at the Surgeon General. Extremely funny there! Wile E needs to stop buying Acme stuff. As they are failing each and every single time. But he won't learn now will he.
Really funny and great send off by Chuck Jones!
Although most gags were pretty predictable they made me smile a lot. The jokes that were written on the screen worked very well. The little interlude where the Coyote plays the harp is brilliant, that ends with a perfectly timed gag. The animation is better than normal, which is not strange for a cartoon from the nineties, and the music fits that animation wonderfully. A great cartoon.
Usually the modern versions of Warner Brother cartoons are a bit weak, and there's times where the modern touches are weak here, but on the whole it is on a par with the Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons of back in the day. The plot is the same as it always was and has the usual stuff involving acme devices and big falls. Some of the modern references such as the surgeon general and such don't really fit in but are still relatively funny.
The characters are a little more animated and lively than they used to be; Coyote is a bit funnier than he often can be, but it is Roadrunner who has more of a character to him that usual. This is not to say that they go beyond the comments on the signs and such, but it is still a more of a character cartoon than some of the others I've seen.
Overall this will not win over any people who dislike the basic Roadrunner formula, but it is pretty loyal to the originals in terms of laughs, action and characters.