The Looney Tunes are back... again! No, sadly, it's not for "Space Jam 2." Heck, it's not even a sequel to the disastrous 2003 film "Looney Tunes: Back in Action." No, it's a reboot: a clean break, a fresh start for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the rest — with Michael Jordan nowhere in sight.
While the Warner Bros. characters have been around since the 1930s, it's been a rough few years for the gang. The aforementioned "Back in Action" was a critical and financial flop, and their most recent TV outings (the horrifyingly bad "Loonatics Unleashed" and the slightly less egregious "The Looney Tunes Show") have been short-lived affairs. Recently, the characters have mostly been relegated to commercial cameos and 3D short films preceding WB films like "Happy Feet Two" and "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island."1996's "Space Jam." (Warner Bros.)
But Warner Bros. have been eyeing a comeback film for the legendary cartoon crew for a while, and have been slowly building a back-end around the new film that includes "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" author Seth Grahame-Smith and "Harry Potter" producer David Heyman. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio appears to have finally found a screenwriter to tackle the famed property.
Actress/writer Jenny Slate -- most notable for being a cast member on "Saturday Night Live" just a few years ago -- has been hired by WB to write the untitled "Looney Tunes" pic. Part of the reason that Slate may have been scooped up by the studio is because of the stop-motion short film "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On," which she co-wrote and provided the voice for. The short film is exactly what it sounds like, the tale of a shell named Marce who... wears shoes. Slate's "Marcel" video went viral and led to a kids book deal, but the comedienne is also no stranger updated versions of classic children's properties. Some of her most high-profile film roles to date having been in movies like "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" and "The Lorax."
As good a fit as Slate seems for the project, the real question lingering over the planned reboot really has to be "why?" Do we really need another live-action-meets-animation movie that sullies a beloved cartoon? The recent "Garfield," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," and "Smurfs" movies have already proven that these kinds of films don't often turn out well, and even the studio's most recent efforts with Bugs and Daffy have been lacking a certain something. Given their recent history, bringing the characters back to the big screen is going to be an uphill battle for Slate and Warner Bros.
It would be nice for a classic series like the "Looney Tunes" to exist without being recycled or mined for new franchise material every decade or so. It's possible to not reboot something, Hollywood! But if WB is going to do it, at least give us "Space Jam 2." As the original "Space Jam" ably demonstrated, Bugs Bunny, Bill Murray, and basketball equals box office gold.