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There is more pure, unadulterated joy in just the opening montage of classic moments and characters from Chuck Jones cartoons than in most recent feature films. Jones is the best known of the Warner Bros. stable of legendary animators. He is certainly the most honored. After winning three Oscars, the Academy in 1996 bestowed upon him its Lifetime Achievement Award. With impeccable comic timing and design, Jones redefined "character animation," creating the definitive screen personas of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. He also unleashed on the world the Road Runner and amorous skunk Pepe Le Pew. This documentary--all-too-brief at 85 minutes--contains a generous sampling of clips that span Jones's career, from his early "aggressively cute" Disneyesque cartoons ("Sniffles Takes a Trip") to the masterpieces ("Duck Amuck," "One Froggy Evening"--hailed here by no less than Steven Spielberg as "the Citizen Kane of animated shorts") to the post-Warners book adaptations, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and the Oscar-winning "The Dot and the Line." But that's not all, folks. Jones reflects on his work and the method to his madness. There are also insightful appreciations by animators (Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Toy Story director John Lasseter), historians (Leonard Maltin), and some of Jones's biggest fans (Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams). This portrait of the man who would be Bugs (but who admits he is more akin to Daffy) was presented on the PBS series Great Performances, but perhaps American Masters would have been more fitting. "Chuck Jones is a given in our culture," Groening remarks. "You wake up in the morning and you know Bugs Bunny is out there doing something."

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newVHS Chuck Jones A Life in Animation $5.99