Monday, December 05, 2005

PopCult Gift Guide: Animation

Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

Kicking off the marathon PopCult Holiday Gift Guide, here's three gift ideas for the animation fan on your Christmas list.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 3
Price Range: $50 - $60
Available wherever DVD's are sold

You can't go wrong with the classics. This third installment in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection series contains 60 classic Warner Brothers shorts starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Pie, the Road Runner, and Speedy Gonzales among others. Despite being the third collection in the series, this volume still contains some of the A-List cartoons like "Duck, Rabbit, Duck" and "Easter Yeggs." Extras include two documentaries and super deluxe neato keen packaging. Like the two earlier volumes, the Looney Tunes Golden Collection is a treasure trove for fans of classic animation.


Aeon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection
Price Range: $30 - $40
Available wherever TV-MA DVD's are sold

If the animation fan on your shopping list has more adult or contemporary tastes, they may like the bizarre, experimental work of Peter Chung. This 3 disc set contains the entire animated canon of Aeon Flux. This cartoon began life as a series of short, surreal non-sequiturs on MTV's experimental animated anthology Liquid Television, but was successful enough to be spun-off into a half-hour series. Aeon Flux is a futuristic, scantily-clad, female assassin, who battles a totalitarian regime and carries on an affair with the dictator of that regime. Many episodes end with with one or both of them meeting a violent end. This set contains all of the Liquid Television shorts, plus the entire 13 episode half-hour series, as well as behind the scenes features and commentary from creator/director Chung. This series also spawned the recent live action film starring Charlize Theron, but don't hold that against it. Aeon Flux is a burst of edgy, sci-fi animation, and is sure to please the hipper animation fan on your list.

One Dollar DVD's
Price Range: $1 each
Available almost everywhere

One of the open secrets among animation buffs is that tons of the most interesting animated shorts are in the public domain. The copyright on them has expired and anybody who can get their hands on a decent print can sell copies. Several enterprising companies discovered this and started churning out hundreds of different DVD titles chock full of these obscure bits of animation history. Some of this work is among the finest ever done in the medium. You'll find plenty of cartoons from the Max Fleischer studios, as well as work from legendary animator Ub Iwerks and Oscar winning shorts by John and Faith Hubley, Bruno Bozzetto, and other mavericks from the '50's and '60's. Some of these compilations are well thought out and present an hour or two of cartoons featuring one character or studio. Others are scattershot, mixing Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons with funky independent shorts, oddball educational cartoons from the '60's, and astonishingly horrible Flimation cartoons from the '70's. That's the fun of these one dollar DVD's. No matter how good or bad the cartoons are, at a buck each you're never going to feel ripped off. You can find these almost anywhere that DVDs can be found for a dollar, and at that ridiculously low price, they're a perfect stocking stuffer for your beloved animation buff.

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