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Animaniacs: Volume 4

Score: 88%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 514 Mins.
Genre: Animated/Family/TV Series
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French

Well, it's been about six years now since Animaniacs: Volume 3 hit the shelves, and as a fan of the series since the Warners first escaped, I have been anticipating this final DVD. Animaniacs: Volume 4 finishes up the series and contains episodes starting about halfway through Season Three and all of Seasons Four and Five.

The collection starts off with the Warners deciding to take the day off, with Buttons and Mindy parodying The Wizard of Oz and Pinky and the Brain deciding to steal Zeus' lightning bolt in order to take over the world. This is just the start though. The rest of Season Three includes a spoof of Star Trek, one of Yako's songs (this time teaching Multiplication) and a Sound of Music parody where the Warners get a new nanny. Other spoofs include plays off of The Maltese Falcon and Disney's Pocahontas and Beauty and the Beast.

There is also a healthy sample of the show's other characters as well. The collection puts Slappy Squirrel in the nut house after a marathon of daytime TV, as well as having her nephew Skippy deal with a bully and several Chicken Boo skits where the unfortunate man-sized chicken attempts to impersonate everything from a script rewriter to a TV executive to Forrest Gump, but like always, he gets revealed for what he is and ousted by those that love him the most.

The Goodfeathers make a couple of appearances, including a piece done to the music of Ride of the Valkyries as they bomb Mr. Plotz's limo, a rather amusing piece. I will say, I was a little disappointed by the lack of Rita and the Runt shorts and I don't recall any Good Idea, Bad Idea segments either, but other characters like the Hip-Hippos show up a few times.

This collection has quite a few songs as well. Besides the Multiplication Song mentioned above, Wakko takes the stage, but instead of burping a song, he uses his armpit to perform the Chinese Dance from the Nutcracker Suite. Another song explains the time zones and another focuses on Hello Nurse and the history of Magellan as he attempts to circumnavigate the globe. The Warners even tackle a Christmas classic in Noel, but it doesn't go exactly how you would expect. Late in the collection is a parody of the Macarena and a song about Attila the Hun.

While these 24 episodes ase stuffed full of zany Animaniacs action, Volume 4's centerpiece is the hour-long story called "Hooray for North Hollywood." In it, the Warners make fun of a lot of how Hollywood works as they write their first feature film and try to get it made. This two-part cartoon touches on everything from how to deal with the people in Hollywood, to how to understand the headlines in Variety.

I will say, I was pretty impressed by how much the series doesn't date itself. Sure, there are a lot of pop culture references, but they weren't as "current" as other shows (like Freakazoid or, ironically, Pinky and the Brain) and most of the references were to movies and events that had already stood the test of time. As a result, I have a feeling even current young-viewers will enjoy watching Animaniacs.

While Animaniacs: Volume 4 doesn't contain any special features, it is packed with a ton of episodes. For anyone who is a fan of this zany cartoon series, Volume 4 is a must have and given the very episodic nature of the show, you can jump in anytime and not have to worry about any overarching story arc.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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