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Roadrunner 3D
February 23, 2011 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Roadrunner 3D -- Wile E. Coyote (Genius) discovers bungie cord.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (64 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I forgot how violent that cartoon is. Maybe it's the 3D, but I'm a little bit disturbed.
posted by farishta at 8:20 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


previously on metafilter Wiley-Vs-Rhodes
posted by strangememes at 8:22 AM on February 23, 2011


Actually he was a Super Genius. Said so on his business card.
posted by Gungho at 8:24 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I kinda wanted to like this more than I did.

I don't know if it's the CGI or what, but it kinda lacked the soul of the old Looney Tunes shorts. Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate it now, I dunno. But it felt like the same gag over and over again.
posted by HostBryan at 8:24 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


They need to not do this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:27 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I found this actually quite well done. Considering how much of the spirit of the hand-drawn was likely to be lost in the transition to 3D.
posted by Hicksu at 8:31 AM on February 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


The entire idea of doing new road runner cartoons is pointless beyond getting people to buy more stuff with the old characters on them, but all things considered it was well done. 90% of the joke here is in the facial expressions, and they hit it rather well. I'd like to see more cartoons in this style, just not regurgitating fifty year old jokes.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


A lot of the charm of the originals was in the build-up to the action and the aftermath. This was just one long sequence of Wile E. Coyote being smacked about violently over and over again. You could do the same thing with Tom and Jerry - just have Tom being shaved bare by a lawnmover or flattened by an anvil fify times without a break.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:38 AM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


The short before Wall-E, Presto, wow me for the fact that the artists put real work and art into distorting the characters' body shapes and not just moving the models' limbs around in Maya. This short did some of that but not nearly enough that I didn't forget that I"m watching a 'computer cartoon' and not a real cartoon that John Kricfalusi would approve of.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


This was actually pretty good and enjoyable. Loved that the managed to the expressions and body language down, those are the important parts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:45 AM on February 23, 2011


Hey kids! Look how fun playing in traffic is! And if you get run over, you'll get right back up, I promise!
posted by naju at 8:50 AM on February 23, 2011


(I'm glad they didn't try to give Wile E. a "hip" and "urban" update, though.)
posted by naju at 8:51 AM on February 23, 2011


(I'm glad they didn't try to give Wile E. a "hip" and "urban" update, though.)

WELL MY NAME WILE E. AND I'M HERE TO SAY
I LOVE CATCHING ROADRUNNERS IN A MAJOR WAY
posted by Greg Nog at 8:53 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sometimes the "Knocking the coyote around" segments in the originals went on for a long time. I'm thinking of "earthquake pills", for example.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:57 AM on February 23, 2011


i really like the "rules" that supposedly guided the creators of the Roadrunner cartoons, from Wikipedia:
Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going "beep, beep."
No outside force can harm the Coyote—only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time.
The Coyote could stop anytime—IF he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim." —George Santayana).
No dialogue ever, except "beep, beep" and yowling in pain.
Road Runner must stay on the road—for no other reason than that he's a roadrunner.
All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the southwest American desert.
All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.
The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.
The Coyote is not allowed to catch the road runner
The
posted by Space Coyote at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Space Coyote"? Oh, dear...
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2011


..oops, hit 'Post' too quickly.

*ahem*

The time when the driver could see wile-e stuck in his bungee across the bridge, honked at him, but made no attempt to stop seemed icky to me in a way that the original cartoons didn't. It brings a human into this world that harmed the coyote rather than just being part of the scenery.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm a huge fan of the originals and I was pleasantly surprised by this. Chuck Jones himself would have been proud of the timing with which that gasoline truck first hit Wile.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


No dialogue ever, except "beep, beep" and yowling in pain.

I hated the coyote cartoons where he was given a voice and spoke smugly about being a super genius. I can't recall, but was it possibly in a non-roadrunner context?
posted by Hoopo at 9:10 AM on February 23, 2011


I'm lukewarm on this, bothered by several aspects. The part I find most distasteful is the last attempt to catch up to the roadrunner by grabbing on to the passing truck. It was unplanned, spur of the moment, a somewhat desperate gambit. It just doesn't feel particularly "coyote".
posted by Greg Nog at 9:13 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


(I'm glad they didn't try to give Wile E. a "hip" and "urban" update, though.)

What's that? You want to eat that roadrunner? Too bad! Yeah that's right buddy, you just got BLAMMED!!!
posted by inedible at 9:18 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wile E. Coyote : book-smart, gadget-happy maladroit :: Don Quixote : chivalrous hero
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I find it odd that Wile E. actually tried the bungee trick a second time. I had often felt that many of his previous schemes would have worked had he simply leaned from his failure and tried again. Of course he never did, which was part of the comedy of it. Chalk this up as another way in which this new cartoon is not quite true-to-form.
posted by rlk at 9:22 AM on February 23, 2011


Haters gonna hate - it was absolutely in the spirit of the originals, and the animation was above par. The trucks weren't deliberately trying to run him over, they were insensate forces of the world, just as they were in the original. The coyote would absolutely grab onto whatever was at hand if his grand design had failed - momentum from being flung by a flying rock slamming into his teeter-toter, explosions, the super-speed he acquired to escape when his butt hit a cactus - grabbing onto the truck, despite meeting his failure time and again at the hands of trucks (and one Lamborghini), in this context was Very Funny.

Also funny - the "subsonic menace sound" when he was clinging to the gas truck, just like the ones used in every movie since the matrix, the tanker-trailer flying through the air, the Roadrunner eating his birdseed, unmolested by the traffic whizzing by inches away, the helpless, hapless expression when he starts flying backwards after almost catching the Roadrunner...

Yes. This was Good.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:31 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


It could have been a lot worse, and that's saying something.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:35 AM on February 23, 2011


The only times in Looney Tunes that Wile E. was given a voice (or for that matter, the name) was when he played 'guest villain' with Bugs Bunny.

That short was apparently one of three that were shown in theaters last year before the infamous "Yogi Bear" (which is why it's new to us). Here's the second: "Fur of Flying" and a short clip from the third: "Rabid Rider" (yes, that's a Segway. Didn't know Acme was licensed to manufacture those).
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:38 AM on February 23, 2011


> The only times in Looney Tunes that Wile E. was given a voice (or for that matter, the name) was when he played 'guest villain' with Bugs Bunny.

I remember one where towards the end the view cut to two cartoon kids watching the Coyote vs Roadrunner cartoon on TV. One asked the other why the coyote never manages to catch the roadrunner, and then Wile E. stops what he is doing in the cartoon and proceeds to give a lecture on the concepts behind anticipation and payout. Bugs Bunny wasn't in that one.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:51 AM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, that was actually pretty good. I was skeptical at first, but they seem to have managed to capture the look (if not necessarily always the feel) of Chuck Jones' directing style, especially in the facial expressions.

And I actually LOLed at the gas tanker bit.
posted by hippybear at 9:51 AM on February 23, 2011


Here's another where Wile E speaks (at 2:10).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:53 AM on February 23, 2011


Missed opportunity:

After the bit where he's holding onto the truck and it's stretched the bungee all over creation and back, in the instant where he's let go and is about to get shot back through all that mess, he should have held up a speech sign that said "NOT HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 AM on February 23, 2011


I thought the hand held signs proclaiming "Yikes" or "Good-bye" were noticeably absent
posted by Redhush at 10:13 AM on February 23, 2011


Burhanistan, I forgot about the "clip show" cartoons framing pieces of previous toons for re-release (notice the one you linked didn't have a Director's credit). I can argue that they are "not canon", but that way goes madness.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:19 AM on February 23, 2011


Seriously meh. They've done nothing but translate the 2D into CGI. It looked better as a cartoon and the writing was better (or at least it was original). The problem with translating this to CGI is that it is an inadequate replacement for the original illustrations, they had real character where CGI has to imitate it, and generally not very well. Looking at it artistically, it's like trying to make a sculpture of a painting, but expecting it to be a painting when you're done.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:30 AM on February 23, 2011


Bungee cord. -ee.
posted by joeclark at 10:31 AM on February 23, 2011


I didn't mind the animation at all...I just thought the way they used trucks for 90% of the gags was boring.
posted by toekneebullard at 10:44 AM on February 23, 2011


"Not as good as the vaguely remembered cartoons from my childhood that I haven't watched in 20 years."
posted by smackfu at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2011


I thought it captured the feel of its 2D parent better than most 2D to 3D crossovers...definitely made me smile. The writing didn't seem to make the transition as well as the visuals though...
posted by jnnla at 11:15 AM on February 23, 2011


Things were going particularly badly for Wile E. here.... Were they using Acme computers?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 11:22 AM on February 23, 2011


I liked it better than I thought I would... I mean, it looked pretty good... but. The problem with this version (besides pacing) is that Wile E. isn't getting nearly adequately pulverized. Because that's the payoff, Wile E.'s plans go ridiculously wrong, and you get to see him linger afterwards, literally disfigured by humiliation. But I guess showing look like he ought to look after getting smacked sixteen times by speeding cars is too much of a pain to do with CGI.
posted by furiousthought at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2011


> The only times in Looney Tunes that Wile E. was given a voice (or for that matter, the name) was when he played 'guest villain' with Bugs Bunny.

What about the one where he's going after sheep, and Sam (?) the Sheepdog is his comic foil? They punch in and out on a time clock, and have pre- and post-shift chit-chat. Wile E. did not go by the name Wile E., however.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:55 AM on February 23, 2011


Haters gonna hate - it was absolutely in the spirit of the originals, and the animation was above par.

I can't see that. Half of the beauty of that series was the almost Impressionist landscape* Chuck Jones put behind them to focus attention on their individual battle out in the middle of nowhere. And I liked the art as it was. I don't ever recall thinking, "This is good, but I need to be able to see the individual hairs on the coyote's mug."

That said, the insult here is the bungie cord. It makes no sense. I'm sure there are a dozen counter examples, but I never remember Wile busting out a prop that didn't at least make sense on some drawing board. The bungie cord only makes sense in a meta-context, that the animators wanted a reason to pop him in and out of the screen in 3D. They clearly started with the answer and then wrote up the question after the fact. Wile E. Coyote may be a sad sack who never wins, but he's not stupid. What does a bungie cord he didn't bother to measure or test do for him in that situation? He spent more time on the sign for the bird seed than figuring out if his mass would stretch the cord enough.

Get off my lawn!

* Which got co-opted as an excuse for totally ugly (and cheaper!) background in 70s cartoons made for TV.
posted by yerfatma at 12:19 PM on February 23, 2011


I have re-watched the "vaguely-remembered from my childhood" original cartoons (you can find them online), so I feel like I have a realistic basis for comparison:
1) The 3D...whatever; it neither added nor subtracted anything for me.
2) The pacing was definitely faster in this one than the older ones, which had much more "air" and "space" in them to allow one to fully absorb each gag before the next one (no pun intended) hit. Could be a generational thing, I suppose.
3) On the other hand, that faster pace definitely worked with the multiple-vehicle premise.
4) I mostly agree about the facial expressions - for Wile E. In the old shows, the Roadrunner's expression never really varied from a simple "Hi, I'm a roadrunner, that's what I do, 'k bye!" In this one he seemed a bit too knowing, maybe even slightly malicious when he watched the coyote fail.
5) I also agree about the repetitiveness of the truck-smacking premise. This probably would have just been one segment in a longer Roadrunner episode, the other segments of which used different premises.
6) And finally, as I said at the start, re-watching the originals was instructive. The quality and originality of those (and the art and the music, btw) fell off sharply after the first few episodes (first season? I think the dates are given online but I've forgotten that detail). I remember even when I was a kid I could tell from the intro music whether it would be a funny episode or not. This one - assuming it was only part of a longer episode as I mentioned in point 5 - might not be the pinnacle of Roadrunner cartoons but could have held its own with the better old shows.

On preview: I'm pretty sure I recall a bungee-cord-like prop used at least once in the original shows. So...not totally original, but not totally out of the blue either.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:29 PM on February 23, 2011


The quality and originality of those (and the art and the music, btw) fell off sharply after the first few episodes (first season? I think the dates are given online but I've forgotten that detail)

I'm pretty certain that all the classic Roadrunner/Coyote "episodes" were actually 6-minute shorts which were distributed with movies to run in theaters. That they ended up on Saturday Morning Television is one of the great things of my childhood. That they kept getting chopped up and rarely shown in their original lengths is one of the great crimes of my childhood.

And, as always, there's a HUGE difference in how the cartoons looked depending on the director. Chuck Jones is always the winner for me, but others will disagree.
posted by hippybear at 12:51 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I forgot about the "clip show" cartoons framing pieces of previous toons for re-release (notice the one you linked didn't have a Director's credit). I can argue that they are "not canon", but that way goes madness.

I'm pretty sure the one that had the kids watching on TV was new content rather than a clip show, but it was certainly not of the first run of Wile E. Coyote vs Roadrunner.

But yeah, I think "canon" in this case has to be where Wile E is caught up in mindless determination, devising complicated schemes to catch something unobtainable. Part of the fun was the mystique about his motivations. When they had him talking and being cheeky the ironic sense of detachment he showed took away from the effect.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:00 PM on February 23, 2011


No dialogue ever, except "beep, beep" and yowling in pain.

They did fairly regularly sidestep this rule by having the characters hold up signs, though.

Road Runner stopping at the stop sign made me laugh in this one.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:33 PM on February 23, 2011


I totally thought that said "Written by Tom Stoppard" at the end...
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:47 PM on February 23, 2011


I have HATED all previous attempts at 3D Warners anything. But I laughed at the sound of the truck horn after he had swaddled himself in bungee, about two minutes in, which is one more than my average number of laughs in a Road Runner cartoon. I guess the advantage of adding one more D to a cartoon means I get one more laugh. God knows I adore the classic WB cartoons, especially the ones from Chuck Jones, but rarely worked for me.

Space Coyote: "The short before Wall-E, Presto, wow me for the fact that the artists put real work and art into distorting the characters' body shapes and not just moving the models' limbs around in Maya. "

This made me worry a little bit for the characters -- maybe because the situations were so novel -- but I laughed a lot, too. Good character creation, a genuine cartoony sense and crisp pacing make even 3D cartoons worth it.
posted by maudlin at 2:52 PM on February 23, 2011


but Road Runner rarely worked for me.

Carry on.
posted by maudlin at 2:54 PM on February 23, 2011


I'm not sure it's really fair to compare these directly to the work of Chuck Jones. Simple fact is that no one except Friz Freleng and Tex Avery could measure up to that standard. It's a very, very high bar.

Taken on its own, though, I think it was pretty good.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:09 PM on February 23, 2011


In this one he seemed a bit too knowing, maybe even slightly malicious when he watched the coyote fail.

This for sure. The Roadrunner should be oblivious to the coyote. The fanatical obsessio with a force of nature is Wile E's pathology.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I'm glad they didn't try to give Wile E. a "hip" and "urban" update, though.)

Too late
posted by PenDevil at 3:22 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I laughed out loud at least three times and I am usually a hard sell. Haters gotta hate. It's a three minute cartoon folks; try to untwist those panties a little.
posted by Ber at 3:24 PM on February 23, 2011


That they kept getting chopped up and rarely shown in their original lengths is one of the great crimes of my childhood.

Might I recommend Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Vol. 2? Like all of the box sets in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection it has the original full-length, unedited cartoons, and this volume has 11 Road Runner cartoons. (The first set has the first Road Runner cartoon, "Fast and Furry-ous.")
posted by kirkaracha at 3:29 PM on February 23, 2011


Yeah, I've looked at those Looney Tunes box sets. They might be fun to own. What I'd really like is for WB to release every cartoon short they made, ever, in a series of chronological box sets. I'd buy those (or the mega-set) in a heartbeat.

Actually, what I really really want is Animaniacs Volume 4 to finally be released. But the bastards are still holding out on us.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on February 23, 2011


I think a big part of some people's dissatisfaction with this short is in the music direction. It's one of the biggest ways that the various modern retreads of the Warner Bros. shorts fail in reprising their source material. The music in the originals is really quite subtle, the recreations without fail overplay the music stings, and seem over-eager in forcing the viewer to agree with the director's view of the action. Here this is heard in how we get music stings frequently when the physics of the scene don't work out in the Coyote's favor.

In other words, until they hire music directors equal to the genius of legendary WB cartoon director Carl Stalling, these remakes are always going to seem somewhat lacking.
posted by JHarris at 4:51 PM on February 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about the one where he's going after sheep, and Sam (?) the Sheepdog is his comic foil? They punch in and out on a time clock, and have pre- and post-shift chit-chat. Wile E. did not go by the name Wile E., however.

That was actually a subtly different character, Ralph Wolf.
posted by JHarris at 4:57 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked it; the gas truck result was faithful to the original in terms of how everything Wile E. tries ends up backfiring on him in some way (and yet he's indestructible).

He's also tenacious: if at first you don't succeed, try try again. And again. And again.
posted by bwg at 5:06 PM on February 23, 2011


Ralph Wolf has a red nose, Wile E. Coyote has a black nose; they're totally different.

What I'd really like is for WB to release every cartoon short they made, ever, in a series of chronological box sets.

Me, too. I have all of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection sets and I love them, but they stopped making them after six volumes. Last year they started releasing the Looney Tunes Super Stars series, but there are some problems. Bugs Bunny: Hare Extraordinaire and Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl have new-to-DVD cartoons, but they were matted for widescreen and look like crap according to many complaints on Amazon. Foghorn Leghorn & Friends: Barnyard Bigmouth and Tweety & Sylvester: Feline Fwenzy have the fullscreen versions, but all of the Tweety & Sylvester cartoons were already released as part of Golden Collection sets. I don't understand why they stopped releasing Golden Collection sets in favor of these half-ass collections.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ralph Wolf has a red nose, Wile E. Coyote has a black nose; they're totally different.

Oh. My bad. Sorry, everyone!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:31 PM on February 23, 2011


Needs more anvils and explosives.

But I liked it.
posted by warbaby at 9:55 PM on February 23, 2011


Well at 6 in the morning, ahead of a hard day, it made me laugh and that's all I needed.
posted by quarsan at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2011


The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.

I think this is key to why I never enjoyed the out and out sadism of Tom and Jerry, but absolutely loved Road Runner. Tom was never a sympathetic villain and Jerry took a bit too much joy in torturing Tom. The two also have some sympathy for one another and both express guilt every now and then, which makes the whole relationship seem weirdly sadomasochistic. I don't recall a single instance of hesitation or sympathy from either the Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote - fanatic is right.

It probably says something about me that I loved seeing the bad guy fail at his attempts while secretly always hoping he would catch that smug effin' bird.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:51 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm green-lighting this project immediately.
posted by chairface at 6:59 PM on February 24, 2011


I can't see that. Half of the beauty of that series was the almost Impressionist landscape* Chuck Jones put behind them to focus attention on their individual battle out in the middle of nowhere.

Those would have been the beautiful work of the great Maurice Noble. That, I think, is what I miss the most here. Just because you can make everything THREE-DEE doesn't mean it adds value, or even looks very good.

Some of that is my own bias - I have a problem with the whole obsession with three dimensional modeling in computer animation. I have seen it done very well, but usually there's something about it that looks to me like an art student that just discovered they can smudge the pencil to make a smooth shadow and proceeds to apply that technique to everything they draw.

The true sign of mastery of any art form is restraint, and although one doesn't think of subtlety when one thinks of Wile E. Coyote, the spirit of those cartoons was brought out by a certain amount of abstraction and restraint. The landscape was beautiful, but spare enough to frame the characters. There was a balance that is sorely lacking here.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:02 AM on February 27, 2011


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