Looney Tunes (2003)
To help promote the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action, a revival set of Looney Tunes shorts were planned for theatrical release in 2003 under the supervision of Larry Doyle. About 7 shorts were produced during this period, where all of them were produced by Larry Doyle's team, except for "Daffy Duck for President", which was instead produced by the Spike Brandt-Tony Cervone team, who was responsible for producing the Looney Tunes spin-off TV series Duck Dodgers and The Looney Tunes Show. These shorts are sometimes referred to by fans as the Larry Doyle era.
However, due to the financial failure of the movie despite its positive critical and audience reception, it lead to the shorts being shelved until most of the shorts were released direct-to-DVD. These shorts were often criticized for its lack of faithfulness to the original source material and the overall darker, more violent tone compared to the cartoons of the classic era.
- "Whizzard of Ow" (November 1; with Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote)
- "Museum Scream" (November 14; with Sylvester and Tweety)
- "Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas" (March 31; with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam)
- "Attack of the Drones" (March 31; with Daffy Duck as Duck Dodgers)
- "Cock-a-Doodle Duel" (March 31; with Foghorn Leghorn)
- "My Generation G...G... Gap" (March 31; with Porky Pig)
- "Daffy Duck for President" (March 31; with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck)
- These shorts generally lack a lot of the wit, charm and humor of the classic era, or even the revival era shorts from the late-1980s and the 1990s decade.
- Most of Larry Doyle's crew for these cartoons had never seen any of the original Looney Tunes cartoons at all, explaining many changes that makes the cartoons less faithful to the main series.
- The animation, while still decent, is rather off at times. It also suffers heavily from overly-bright colors.
- Sometimes, the animation drags out for too long, making the pacing rather slow.
- The WB shield used in the opening bullseye titles looks incredibly cheap and ugly, even the "WARNER BROS. PICTURES PRESENTS" banner in the WB shield sequence is rendered in very poor, ugly-looking typography.
- The overall tone for these cartoons are now more serious, darker, and sadistic than the classic shorts or even the DePatie-Freleng or Seven Arts shorts, which contradicts the series' main comedic and laid-back tone. Most notably, "Museum Scream" has a brutal ending scene where Sylvester's nine lives all explodes into fireworks as Tweety counts down the cat's nine spirits.
- Rather weak writing, especially in "Cock-a-Doodle Duel" and "My Generation G...G... Gap".
- Classic Looney Tunes characters such as Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales and Taz are nowhere to be seen in any of these shorts.
- Much like Herman and Katnip and the Gene Deitch era of Tom and Jerry , these shorts rely more on gratuitous over-the-top violence instead of slapstick.
- Both Daffy Duck and Porky Pig have both been flanderized here;
- Porky is depicted as an unlikable jerk that want to get whatever he wants without any desire for others, instead of the sweet-natured, innocent stuttering pig he was in previous cartoons. For instance in "My Generation G...G... Gap", Porky ruins a band concert because he wanted to stop her daughter Peta from seeing the band.
- Daffy is depicted as a much bigger idiot than he was before, for instance in "Attack of the Drones" he remains incredibly oblivious at the chaos his own robot replicas caused as the result of Daffy's own arrogance and narcissism. At least he isn't miscast in a villainous role unlike the series' first dark age in the 1960s.
- Much like the Larriva Eleven, "Whizzard of Ow" breaks Jones' Road Runner rules and guidelines where Road Runner is never allowed to harm the coyote outside of beeping. In this case, Road Runner uses magic against Wile E. to transmogrify his Pegasus into a shark at the ending.
- The voice acting is notably off compared to Mel Blanc and some of his successors.
- Billy West does a very poor job voicing both Porky Pig and Tweety in "My Generation G...G... Gap" and "Museum Scream" respectively, lacking the genuine charm Mel Blanc and their successors brought to these two characters.
- The pacing is all over the place for the shorts; sometimes it is slow as with "Whizzard of Ow" or too fast like "Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas".
- "My Generation G...G... Gap" is basically nothing more than a very harsh Porky Pig torture episode, as Porky gets repetitively abused for no reason whatsoever. This is one of the main reasons why "My Generation G...G... Gap" is widely considered to be the worst of all the six Larry Doyle-produced cartoons of this era.
- In addition to its weak writing and unfunny, mean-spirited gags, this short also tries too hard to be hip and cool to appeal to the modern demographic.
- Porky's daughter, Peta Pig, who appears only in this short, is nothing more than a “bratty teenage daughter” stereotype.
- While this isn't much of a problem, "Daffy Duck for President" is too short. Only clocking in at less than 4 minutes and 40 seconds, it is way shorter than the other Looney Tunes from this era.
- The negative reception of these shorts (as well as the box office failure of the well-received movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action) had potentially killed any chances of the Looney Tunes returning back for anymore 2D-animated theatrical shorts, as there hasn't been any further traditionally-animated Looney Tunes shorts produced for the theatrical market ever since. In addition, this caused the Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon series to go into hiatus until new CGI-animated Looney Tunes shorts supervised by Matthew O' Callaghan which are far superior later came out in 2010 beginning with "Coyote Falls" (meanwhile between 2004-2009, the Looney Tunes franchise went downhill greatly due to the release of the widely panned Loonatics Unleashed, with the direct-to-video film Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas being the only good/decent Looney Tunes production from that brief period).
- "Attack of the Drones" is the only good short from this era, and "Whizzard of Ow", "Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Daffy Duck for President" are rather decent.
- "Daffy Duck for President", which is based on the 1997 book of the same name by Chuck Jones, who died two years before the short was made, is faithful to the book which is based on. It also has the highest animation quality compared to the rest of the shorts, due to it being animated by the more experienced Spike Brandt-Tony Cervone team instead of the Larry Doyle team.
- Jeff Bennett's voice acting is rather amazing, as he does a decent job voicing Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam and Daffy Duck.
- June Foray reprises her role as Granny in "Museum Scream".
- Joe Alaskey does a great job voicing both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, although he voiced the latter character only in "Daffy Duck for President".
- The music score by Walter Murphy is well-composed, though not as good as the classic era's Carl Stalling or Milt Franklyn, or even their modern-day successors such as Hummie Mann (who scored music for "Box Office Bunny"), George Dougherty and Cameron Patrick (who scored music for the Chuck Jones-produced cartoons such as "Chariots of Fur") or the late Richard Stone (who scored music for "Carrotblanca", "Little Go Beep", and various Looney Tunes TV spin-offs of the 1990s such as Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries).
- This was the first attempt to produce new Looney Tunes theatrical shorts in widescreen aspect ratio, as well as using digital ink and paint animation as opposed to traditional cel animation.
- Each of these shorts (with the exception of "Daffy Duck for President") end with Porky Pig saying his signature line "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!" at the ending title sequence, which is a nice nod to the Porky drum ending titles used in the classic Looney Tunes shorts from the late-1930s to the mid-1940s.
- The Looney Tunes CGI animated shorts produced by Matthew O' Callaghan in the early-2010s are a massive improvement over this dreaded shorts.
These shorts received criticism compared to the classic shorts due to their darker and more sadistic atmosphere. According to Bob Bergen, he was intending to quit on the shorts until he realized he was fired and the series was quickly cancelled. The box office failure of Looney Tunes: Back in Action prevented these shorts from properly airing in theaters, and the revival series was cancelled after various Warner Bros. executives disliked these shorts.
In addition to these seven cartoons as listed above, there were several new Looney Tunes shorts planned and storyboarded in 2004, but were all cancelled due to these reasons as mentioned here. Most of these cancelled Looney Tunes shorts were in production under the supervision of Larry Doyle.