If you haven’t watched Looney Tunes since you were a kid—and no, revisiting Space Jam during a recent ’90s nostalgia kick does not count—you may not be aware of just how brilliant the classic shorts were. Sure, Wile E. Coyote chasing after the Road Runner and Daffy Duck getting shot in the face over and over again was great, but could you put your finger on exactly why it was so appealing?
The latest video essay from notable movie dissector Tony Zhou (“Every Frame a Painting”) does an excellent job of breaking down the artistry of director and animator Chuck Jones, whose career with Warner Bros. spanned nearly 30 years. He focuses on the very detailed and intense process behind Jones’ creation of characters (their individual desires, for instance) and how they evolved over time. He also smartly answers a perfectly reasonable question: How did Jones and his cohort keep their recurring cartoons from being too formulaic or repetitive? By the video’s end, you’ll no doubt want to revisit some of those classic shorts, and when you do, you’ll look at them through an entirely new lens.