1 August 2015 | TheLittleSongbird
Looney Tunes' mid-50s second 'propaganda' cartoon doesn't quite deliver this time around
After being pleasantly surprised by the first of Looney Tunes' three 'propaganda' cartoons from this period, By Word of Mouse, seeing as it was featuring familiar characters (and favourites) and covering a subject more familiar to me I was expecting more than what Heir Conditioned managed to deliver. It's not that bad, but it does feel very bland.
The animation, in distinctive Fritz Freleng style, is very bright and colourful with some nice background detail and nicely drawn characters. Even better is the vibrant and character music score from Milt Franklyn, it fits wonderfully and does add a lot to the action, it's rousing in energy, orchestration is rich and beautiful and rhythmically it's very lively yet dynamic. Mel Blanc, Arthur Q. Bryan and Daws Butler do reliably strong jobs with the voices, all three have had stronger material but they were still able to deliver some good energy. The comic relief almost all comes from the alley cats, and they are amusing.
Heir Conditioned does fall short however, starting with that it doesn't do enough with a good premise and only does marginally better at informing than it does entertaining, a balance that By Word of Mouse achieved better and that cartoon also did a better job entertaining and informing despite this cartoon having a subject more accessible and easier to understand to younger viewers. In terms of humour, Heir Conditioned's best moments are only amusing, the humour isn't sharp enough and like it was trying too hard to get its point across. The informing fares a little better, because there are some good points about economics and investments made and are easier to understand, but it did come at the sacrifice of any laughs and By Word of Mouse avoided being preachy whereas Heir Conditioned did come close to being towards the end. Speaking of the ending, it is very weak and borderline stupidity, the worst part of the cartoon by no doubt.
Sylvester is a very funny and interesting character, and it was nice to see him play it straight (a characteristic he's adopted before and he's good at it) but that the material is not that strong that even when played straight the character feels downplayed and stripped of what makes him so famous and endearing as a character. And while it was nice to not have Elmer as an idiot for a change, it's pretty much the same with him. Tweety makes a rather pointless and not very funny cameo.
In conclusion, watchable enough but underwhelming considering its potential. 5/10 Bethany Cox