Thursday, August 4, 2016

Pepe Le Pew's Comeback Perfumance

It was announced at San Diego Comic-Con that Warner Brothers was developing a solo film starring Pepe Le Pew. In case you're not into cartoons, Pepe is a cartoon skunk from the Looney Tunes cartoons. A DVD collecting all of his appearances - "Pepe le Pew: Zee Best of Zee Best " - was released on DVD a few years ago.

For the most part, Pepe's cartoons are virtually plotless. They are essentially chases. He has a pronounced French accent and spends every cartoon chasing after a female cat mistaken for a lady skunk. Even though they were directed by Chuck Jones and written by Mike Maltese, they suffer from a lack of originality; there are only occasional flashes of wit that remind you that this character was created by the same director who created Wile E Coyote and The Road Runner. They're nice-looking cartoons, though. The 4th Pepe cartoon, For Scent-imental Reasons, won an Oscar. It also set the formula for every Pepe cartoon that followed. Did Chuck & Mike ever imagine having Pepe pursue a real female skunk? He was married in Odor-able Kitty, even though that's more apocryphal than canonical Pepe (even Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were depicted as having spouses and children in different cartoons; continuity wasn't a big concern, laughs were).

I never thought his pursuit of the black cat with the painted stripe was funny...because that female cat didn't do anything funny. She would just appear frantic and panicky in the presence of a smelly skunk, so she would inspire pity more than laughs. That was the weakest element of the cartoons..and that was all Chuck Jones ever did with him.

The screenwriter of the Pepe movie, Max Landis, is proposing that the character will be modified somewhat. The plot of this film is going to be a comedic crime-caper...I recall the plot of one Pepe cartoon involved a robber painting a stripe on the cat to create havoc inside a bank, clearing a path for him to raid the vault..that's one idea..

I think Warner Brothers realizes they have a character in their stable that could rival DreamWorks Animation's Puss n' Boots. Maybe Jean Dujardin or Jean Reno could do the voice of this new Pepe, rivaling Antonio Banderas' Puss. And of course, Penelope (that's the name given to that lady cat) will be voiced by someone famous..maybe Julie Delpy. I admit casting these respectable French thespians isn't quite as kitsch-catchy as Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, so maybe they'll just see if Christopher Walken is willing to dust off the French accent he used for "The Continental" - his hilariously creepy and debonair Saturday Night Live character. Just a thought...Wow..wowie wow wow!. THAT would be AWESOME! "Champagne-y?"

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