The Looney Tunes are back in action—no pun intended Brendan Fraser—with a new series of short films to debut before theatrical children’s releases. It may be a ploy to put those zany characters back into the collective consciousness and expose the new generation in hopes a new television show will become feasible or perhaps it’s just time to revisit some old friends. Either way, the company knows what its audience likes and gives it to them with the first installment Coyote Falls, aptly name for that dastardly Wile E. Coyote and his penchant for infinitely high plummets towards solid ground on his never-ending quest to catch Roadrunner. This short is at its essence what greatness can be achieved with minimalist storytelling.
I don’t care how repetitious the series is; I could watch Wile E. fail over and over without getting bored. For some, “Tom and Jerry” was the name of the game in literal cat-and-mouse chases, but I was always enthralled with that lightning quick blue bird and his complete mocking confidence, rubbing it into his nemesis’ face each and every time disaster befalls him. Between the “Beep, Beep!” and the tongue waving/spitting—in great supply here—you almost feel sorry for the wolf, questioning who exactly is the villain of this game. Sure the furry creature wants the bird for dinner and will do anything in his power to have him, but the way in which Roadrunner plays the victim with ease, never worried in the slightest, sometimes instills the hope that he’ll eventually get his comeuppance.
And that is the brilliance of the concept—we as viewers root for the coyote to somehow succeed just once, breaking the chain of catastrophic pitfalls and blunders that conclude his schemes. It doesn’t matter what form of animation is used to portray the action because the true wealth of enjoyment lies in the structure. That said, I won’t lie and say the fully formed computer-generated work doesn’t punch some life into the visual style, adding depth to a usually two-dimensional format. Watching them race on roads that ripple and wave as they pass seems more real with the new perspective, and I’ll even admit I enjoyed the 3D effect as well, especially with the use of a bungee corded Wile E. Coyote being whipped around and thrown into the audience’s face, even hitting the wall of the camera lens.
All the pieces have been retained, from the bridge locale, enormous descents, cutouts into stone of bodies thrown at high speed, and the wolf’s almost magnetic pull to every single car driving by for a pinball ricochet into more bad luck. Even Roadrunner has his pile of birdseed to peck at fearlessly while his antagonist goes about self-inflicting pain. The only thing missing is the ACME supplies, but surely those will come into play the next time these two foes go at it on the big screen. We’ll probably see Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd next time around, or at least a cavalcade of other characters before the next language-less romp through the desert, but, for now, do yourself a favor and check Coyote Falls out. You can always leave after its five-minute duration and skip Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore for which it’s attached. Those filmmakers could take a lesson in quality over quantity from the Looney Tunes for sure.
Coyote Falls 9/10 | ★ ★ ★ ½
“Coyote Falls” © 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. “Road Runner & Coyote” and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and copyrighted by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.