'Animaniacs, Vol. 3'
(Nathan Ruegger, Nancy Cartwright, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / (1993) 2007 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs! The adventures or misadventures of the Warner Brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and the Warner Sister, Dot, who were so crazy that the studio execs locked them away in the water town at the Studio. The witty, slapstick humor with pop culture parodies and cartoon wackiness is on DVD for the first time ever with 25 fantastic Animaniacs episodes.
DVD Verdict: A lot of people remember "Animaniacs," but not many people remember how popular it once was. In 1993, the year these episodes appeared on the Fox network, "Animaniacs" was the most popular cartoon on that network, and one of the most-watched cartoons on TV. It had a cult following like few other shows of its time; alt.tv.animaniacs was one of the most densely-populated groups on usenet. Adult and college-age viewers loved "Animaniacs" as much as, if not more than, the little kids; the obscure cultural references, double entendres, and good solid cartoon violence made it even more fun for an older audience.
Well, that was 1993, and over a decade later, how does this show hold up? Very, very well. All the things that made it so popular in 1993 -- the great lines, the imaginative visuals, the music (with the late Richard Stone leading a full orchestra, no computer-generated music allowed), the voices, the cultural references, the violence -- still work today. The anthology format, with each episode consisting of a mix of different characters and segments, gives the show a richness and variety that most cartoon shows don't have. And the characters are still as funny as they were in 1993: the Marx-Brothers-inspired Yakko, Wakko and Dot; elderly, amoral cartoon star Slappy Squirrel; Chicken Boo, the giant chicken forever passing for a human; and world-domination-seeking lab mice Pinky and the Brain (whose spin-off series is also available on DVD, separately).
Don't let the packaging or bonus features dissuade you from buying this show. Animaniacs works on a number of levels, can be appreciated by kids and adults alike and even though this gets to the later episodes where Pinky & the Brain have their own show, there are still some very good episodes on here (see them for yourself).
Be happy that the sets are UNCUT and are split into scenes based on the shorts. If you don't like a particular character, you can skip that one's cartoons and go on to the ones you DO like. My husband and I love being able to skip shorts we don't like and go on to stuff we DO like such as The Warners, Slappy Squirel and the Goodfeathers. The animation department at Warner Bros. has been doing a spectacular job on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection sets, Droopy, & this series. (I can't speak for every single animated series by Warner Bros. but I own these). This effort needs to be encouraged, not poo pooed by people who whine about packaging & bonus features. At least the Animaniacs sets have CONSISTENT PACKAGING, unlike the 4th Golden Collection set. Finally, be happy that Warner Bros. is putting this out UNCUT and preserving the integrity of the work. This is a Standard Version Presentation (1.66:1) and comes with the Special Features of:
They can't Hep It If They're Cute, they're Just Drawn That Way - Meet the Character Designers, Storyboard Artists and Art Directors Who Give Life and Lunacy to Wakko, Yakko, and Dot
They're Totally Insane-y In Cadence with Richard Stone - The Music of Animaniacs: Highlighted by a Tribute to the Late Composer